climbing up and letting go

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.

Photo credit: Afoot & Afield: Las Vegas & Southern Nevada: A Comprehensive Hiking Guide

Photo credit: Afoot & Afield: Las Vegas & Southern Nevada: A Comprehensive Hiking Guide

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.

Should I be worried about those clouds?

Should I be worried about those clouds?

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.


Lower Trailhead


This is way better than hiking it in 2 feet of snow!

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.


How can you not be wowed by this?


Breathtaking and humbling.

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.


What kind of person does this? Gawd, I want to punch them in the head. So bad.

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! 🙂

Get moving!

xoxo nancy

21 thoughts on “climbing up and letting go

  1. Little wee man got what was coming to him 😉 Napoleon syndrome comment literally made me laugh out loud! LOL

    You go girl…. keep pushing! Thanks again for the constant motivation! xo

  2. Nancy, like the link you made for yourself between the tree carver and the little man- sometimes it’s hard to let go even when the universe is trying to hard to send you messages 🙂 your exercise not only releases stress and helps you look fantastic – it helps you BE fantastic – time for introspection is hard to come by !! Continue to LOVE your blog girl 🙂

    • Joan, as they say, it’s the journey, not the destination. I’m finding these words to be so true. So much learning, so much goodness, in this journey of mine. As always, thank you-thank you-thank you for your support.

  3. Hey Nancy! Congratulations on making your climb! AND for letting go of some baggage (resentment!) along the way. My DH and I have been up in the mountains for the last month and doing a lot of hiking too…I find being in nature is such a great way to clear away the gunk that builds up inside us and cleaning out the unnecessary. Resentment is particularly toxic and as they say, is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die. Keep up the good work both inside and out! ~Kathy

  4. Beautiful photos Nancy and it is nice to know someone else uses this kind of walking/hiking time to think through issues that have been hanging around! Fyi – my job will most likely disappear after a corporate buyout from our competition closes later this year. 😦 I’ll need to find some new hiking trails…

    • Good luck with the corporate changes, Lisa. I’m rooting for you! And, regardless of what happens, I hope you are treated fairly on your exit. My company was very generous with me — but I know it’s because everyone involved knew it was less about a role elimination due to re-org and more about a misogynistic exec who decided he didn’t want me (but hid it under the auspices of a re-org). Sometimes change is good. And so far, change has been great for me.

  5. Wow. Just. Wow. When I finished reading this, I realized I was crying. Um. WTF?

    Not sure what to say or why I cried.

    Thank you for writing your heart and sharing your journey. I’m grateful beyond words.

    • Maybe you were crying for the poor prick who carved into that tree. If I would have caught him/her, it wouldn’t have been pretty. 😉

      Thank you, Ginny, for your ongoing support. This journey has been life-changing in so many ways. And I’m so grateful to have you walking beside me now.

  6. Loved this! I sometimes do the same thing. Even if I feel as if I was the bigger person and “let it go” publicly, I still find myself personally dwelling over unfair situations or ignorant people for far too long. I know that it’s not worth my time or effort and anyone who bothered to look at the truth would think the same, but there a few situations that just linger far longer than necessary. It’d be nice if a “Pensieve” (Harry Potter term) existed where I could take certain memories or thoughts out of my mind and store them there instead. Problem solved!

    Congrats on the awesome climb!

    • The Pensieve description makes me think of the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Then again, as attractive as it sometimes seems to just erase the bad stuff, I do ‘get’ that it’s experiencing the bad that helps us grow. I just wish there were a few less assholes in the world. 😉

  7. Ooh, I love the ominous clouds photo, and the others. All but the one where that person initialled the tree…not cool. 😦

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