Beyond getting out into new and exciting places, one of the most satisfying things an overlander can do is sharing their passion for the outdoors and nature with those they care about most.
As some readers and fans of Overlanding USA may know I recently got engaged to the love of my life and moved 2000 miles across this great country to alas Vegas. Both of these events have opened up so many doors for exploration of new places and with new people! The weekend of Jan 23-24 proved to be the culmination of this amazing journey.
The plans for the weekend were spontaneous, a trip to the mountains to catch the last of the melting snow and the first expedition of the year. I use the term expedition loosely as it was a weekend camping trip after all!
What wasn't spontaneous, however was the plan to take my future brother in law and his two friends along with us. We spend a majority of the Friday before scrounging up tents, sleeping pads and sleeping bags none of which were truly rated for the cold weather we were to encounter. Never the less we pressed on!
The plan was to leave at 2 pm on Saturday, hopefully arriving at camp with time to set up before dark. The destination was one I was familiar with in a sense. Mormon Well Rd is a stretch of 50 miles of dirt, rock and snow that cuts across the desert of North Las Vegas and over the Sheep Mountains that reach to some 10,000 feet.
Half way through the trail lies Desert Pass Campground, a collection of primitive campsites where we would stay for the night! The route takes about an hour to travel and is best described as a poorly graded gravel/dirt road with the final stretch into the campground being covered with up to 5 inches of snow. This however had turned into a slushy mud pit due to the continuous melt of the snow.
We arrived at camp with around an hour to spare. As we started to set up the weather decided to take a turn for the worse spitting down a frigid combination of snow, sleet and rain making set up for our new to camp life companions set up just a little more difficult.
The weather would change soon, however leading to the most beautiful display of stars I have seen in some time!
Getting to sit around a fire eating soup and having a few snows chilled beers was exactly what everyone needed. It was one of the most satisfying feelings, to watch people enjoy themselves out in nature! As the night grew on we played card games, told stories and joked on one another before deciding to head off into that deep sleep one only gets from sleeping with Mother Nature!
That night it got down to around 20 degrees, we were very comfortable in our Geo Adventure Gear roof top tent snuggled down in our 0 degree sleeping bag high up off of the frozen ground. The same thing cannot be said for our friends, as they made sure to express the next morning!
When camping with friends I wholeheartedly believe you need to get them into nature as much as possible, this is what helps with the experience, but still close enough to be back home without much difficulty. This was very present on this trip. Everyone had a great time but our new to camp life friends were not as well prepared for the following morning.
We rushed the pack up a little as most things were frozen solid. We packed everything back into our trusty Toyota 4Runner and them into their classes 01 tj wrangler and make it down the mountain post haste!
The pace back reminded me more of Baja racing than Overlanding as we practically flew down the desert road. All in all it was a tremendous experience. As we got back home, we were able to share the story of the weekend with the small gathering at my future in-laws house as we watched the NFL conference championship games. Getting to hear everyone speak of the experience so fondly only made me want to turn around and go back! The wanderlust continues!