Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hilltop view and coasting downhill for 20 miles

Hilltop offers views as far as eye can see

During last week's blog, I said "whatever goes up must come down" in relationship to the US 50 trip over Monarch Pass in Colorado.

Out west, there are lots of such situations.

On the front end of the Monarch Pass trip, we went through Las Vegas, but didn't want to stay there. it was too hot and we didn't want to pay for a room. We headed northwest on US 95 toward Tonopah and then planned heading west to go into Yosemite National Park.

Just north of Vegas, we pulled over on the highway and worked to make a decision on where to spend the night.  We pulled out our maps and went to work. It was about 6 p.m. There was still some daylight, but it was fading fast. 

We knew that if we wanted a place that was cool, we would have to get to some higher elevation. The only place in the immediate area that looked promising was Mount Charleston. 

So we pulled off and headed up Nevada 157 and then onto Nevada 158 to the Hilltop campground. Heading that way the elevation signs went from about 3,000 feet and kept climbing -- all the way up to about 9,000 feet, and the temperature kept dropping. 

After a steady climb that took, I guess, almost an hour, we arrived at our spot at Hilltop at 8,400 feet. Nothing fancy, but a place to stay, a picnic table and a toilet and water. That's all we were looking for.

We filled out the form to register for the site, put in the money and deposited it in the repository.  Apparently we didn't do something exactly right, because sometime a little past midnight, the campground "host" came by our site trying to find out if we had paid.

After clearing up the situation, we feel back into dreamland, happy to have a cool place to stay for the night.  The next morning we retraced our route.

As I said, what goes up must come down. Its the first and only time, I believe that I was ever able to coast for at least about 20 miles thanks to Nevada 157. Quite a gas-saving experience, albeit the climb up the previous day took a little extra petrol.

Next post:  Aug. 30, 2011

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