It’s amazing that I managed to stay away from the mountains for two full days after arriving in Vegas late last Tuesday night. I chalk that up to a mild case of post-traumatic stress disorder, courtesy of fried and scrambled brains served up during the preceding 3 day road trip in the convertible.
On Friday morning I came to my senses, threw on my hiking shoes and announced to Mr. Enthusiasm that we are going to climb a mountain. He
scowled eagerly agreed. And off we went.
If you’re at all familiar with Southern Nevada, you’ll know that hiking at lower ground during the summer months is a recipe for heat stroke and dehydration, so the Spring Mountains (Mt. Charleston) are a much better option. Not only do you get challenged with much higher elevations (up to the 10,000′ range), but you get 20-30 degree cooler temps than down in the valley.
Unfortunately, massive wildfires were burning in and around Mt. Charleston throughout June and July. Thankfully no lives, or homes, were lost, but many of the popular hiking trails are now closed as a result of the damage. After determining which of the trails were still open, I decided that we would take on Bristlecone Trail, a hike we had attempted in March, but had to give up on, just a mile or so in, due to snow and ice [and the utter lack of a trail…].
I didn’t write a full post about it then, mostly because I HATE not being able to make a summit, but I did reference it through a few snow-covered trail pictures in a photography-based post about my neighbourhood.
The trail is a 6 mile loop, with two separate trailheads, upper and lower, connected by a stretch (approx. one mile) of Lee Canyon Rd.
Back in March we had decided to head in from the upper trailhead, which meant less elevation gain (i.e. easier). On Friday, despite a 3 month absence from any form of hiking, I decided we needed the extra challenge of hiking out from the lower trailhead, meaning we would gain +1,091′ elevation gain and then lose -861′ of elevation on the back half as we descended to the upper trailhead.
Driving out towards the Spring Mountains, I noticed some ominous looking clouds overhead, but dismissed them away with wishful thinking. The weather had thwarted my previous summit attempt back in March, it was not going to happen again.
By the time we parked the car and hit the trailhead, the skies looked much less threatening. And it was a very different hiking experience than back in March, when I found myself sinking into knee deep, crunchy, ice-crusted snow. Every step felt like the ground was biting me with a thousand sharp ice teeth. Yes, Friday was infinitely better than that.
When I set off on this hike, I was pondering some questions. Specifically around my ability to let go of things. Super specifically, around my ability to let go of the anger I felt towards a certain individual who was responsible for me losing my job. A job I was very good at. One that I enjoyed. One that I didn’t deserve to lose.
This individual, arguably, got his comeuppance a short time later, when he was unceremoniously let go for, get this, performance issues. SNORT. Unfortunately it happened 10 months too late, for my liking.
Timing not being perfect, at least he got what he deserved. Lady Karma served up her payback. And that should have made me feel better, right?
Then why was I still harbouring anger and unresolved feelings? I dug deep and wondered…maybe it’s because I never got to say my peace. I didn’t get the last word. In fact, hey…I didn’t get any word. Because when the news of my role being eliminated due to corporate restructuring came down, it wasn’t even the underperforming garden gnome who delivered it. He relegated that to others.
And so, I surmised, my lingering anger was because I didn’t have the opportunity to confront the person who had caused my hardship.
I pondered this as I took in the amazing vistas. Mother Nature never fails to humble me with her utter beauty, peace and grace.
Between deep, cleansing breaths, I considered what I would say, if I ever had the opportunity to confront the wee, evil man with the Napoleon syndrome.
Lots of colourful expletives came to mind. I don’t have to dig deep to tap into my inner bitch. In fact, I generally have to keep her on a tight leash to prevent her from pouncing unexpectedly.
And then, amidst my gleeful troll-bashing, I noticed a patch of trees with strange markings all over them. I walked over to investigate. My blood started boiling as I figured out what I was looking at: initials, carved into the bark by some thoughtless idiot.
Why would anyone do this? To look around, take stock of all the natural beauty, and decide that it would only get better by carving your initials into a tree? Selfish. Narcissistic. Prick.
My initial reaction was to find something sharp and carve in, “You SUCK, you stupid fucker” with an arrow pointing up to the offending initials.
And then I realized the futility.
Me confronting the asshole who cost me my job, is akin to me carving even more words into that tree. Neither would result in changing what had already happened. And, worse still, would leave me feeling shitty about myself for having stooped to that level.
Instead, taking a deep breath, I let go of my anger. I walked away from that tree, and also from the residual memories of that horrible, little man, knowing exactly who I am.
I am someone who no longer needs to retaliate to feel better. I feel better in the knowledge that I rose above the shit.
And also that I kicked that hike’s ass. The guide book said the completion time should be 2-3 hours. I did it in 2:20. [With heavy rain during the last mile, I might add.] So take that Bristlecone Trail, and suck it! 🙂