Our "Rump" in Pahrump...or Spending time in the Nevada wilds

On the road to the China Ranch Date Farm Oasis

This past weekend, the pups and I went to visit a friend who just moved to the rural area betweend Death Valley and Las Vegas.  Now, I'm not a Vegas gal, so I was totally keen on checking out the great outdoors in the wilds of Nevada.  We were hikin' it - DESERT-STYLE!

As a desert newbie, I noticed some differences from my usual mountain hiking in the Southern Cal/Los Angeles area.

  1. The first thing I noticed is that even in the winter, the sun is still pretty intense - though the temperature was not as hot (it was only 75 degrees), but I could feel there was a definite difference between sun and shade.
  2. When hiking in the desert, you really have to find a landmark and spot it while
Interesting Landmark-
we used this car for a short excursion off-trail
traversing cross-country. I used my friend's house.  It's either that, or have a gps.  I had gone out with my dogs to find a geo-cache, only to turn around and notice that the house was no where in site ( I had actually just trekked to the bottom of a slight decline, so the slight rise in the ground hid the house from my view - much to my reflief). I also had a gps since I was geo-caching (my new hobby).  My point here is just be aware.  Everything looks the same because you are surrounded by a sea of sage brush.  Declinations and inclinations in the ground level are less noticeable, unless you come to a wash (which is like a dry river bed).

3. Because of the nature of the soil, trails can be difficult to follow if the one you are
following is one less travelled.  I found the gps to handy for this one.  Again, this is because all sagebrush are twins, triplets...quadruplets - well, they all look alike.  The soil is actually soft, so it is easy for the wind or other wildlife to obscure the trail.  We had traversed off-trail to check out a gypsum mound.  Luckily my gps led us back to the trail.  I had downloaded the track from a site online and uploaded it to my unit.

4. The sound of the desert is deafeningly silent.  Seriously.  It is so silent, you can hear the pitter patter of rabbit feet.  If you're used to urban life, like I am, you will be in for a treat.  I found myself wanting to hear SOMETHING.

5.Desert landscapes are GORGEOUS!  And varied.  I loved the colors, the different
types of stone and rock formations.  At one point we had driven down a dirt road, down to a small gully, only to find a terrific oasis that was turned into a date farm!  If you had been walking along the top ridge you would not have known this oasis existed, because it is in the gully below the mail level of the desert.

6. The most important thing...there are NO snakes in the winter.  I am totally for exploring and hiking cross country with my dogs in the winter.  This is the only time my anxiety about snakes is a non-issue.

Things you should definitely bring on a desert hike:

  • Large brim hat
  • First aid kit 
  • Dog booties or sock, in case the rocky soil gets the best of them
  • A GPS or map and compass!

The next time you're in the Vegas area, think about finding a short trail and enjoy the scenery!