That's where my crazy friends came in.
You see, at my alma mater, we had an outdoor recreation group which I was heavily involved in. The leader of this group would organize trips throughout Western PA and, once a year, to some National Park. He also coaches a field hockey team on the side and, as part of this, he had to attend a field hockey convention in California. Being the adventurous type, he decided to drive (with two friends) from Western PA to Southern California, happening to pass right through Las Vegas, where I am now working.
So we planned to hook up for a couple days, climb some mountains, go wakeboarding on L. Mead, stuff like that. I convinced them that they wanted to summit Griffith Peak so they could get a unique view of Las Vegas.
And that's what we did.
We saw a few patches of snow, but not much. From what I've read, this is surprising for late November. I expected to see more snow at these altitudes by this time of year. No matter, the hiking was still great and the weather was perfect for reaching the summit; nice and cool with no wind.
We reached the summit ridge just as the sun was starting to descend towards the horizon. Perfect timing to summit for the sunset. We climbed our way up, nearly missing the small summit trail (I mistaked the Harris Springs Trail for the summit trail, assuming it looped around and ascended from the other side), but we made it to the top just as the sun penetrated the edge of the horizon.
It was rather cold on top, but we stayed up there for 10 minutes or so. We noticed the shadow of Griffith Peak was being cast by the setting sun on some mountains off in the distance, and that was a cool sight to see. We signed the summit log and descended back to the car. On the way down, the trail was lit by the nearly full moon, and it was a very surreal experience. Very quite and calm, with only the crunching sound of our boots on the gravel and whatever small talk we were making. Every once in awhile we'd hear a dog bark down in town. I love the Charleston area.
All in all? A great hike with some great friends in a beautiful area. What more can you ask for?