After a long travel day Tuesday, I awoke bright and early Wednesday morning to start my 47th year at my home away from home in Vegas. When Mr. Enthusiasm asked what I felt like doing for the day, my immediate response was HIKING!
With the whole government shut-down nonsense still going on, Red Rock Canyon was not an option. As a national park (with fee-required entry) it was closed. Instead we headed up to Mt. Charleston. And I decided to do battle with Mary Jane once again.
Mary Jane Falls is a deceptively short hike at 5.3 kms (3.3 miles). It’s the +1,000′ elevation gain in just 1.6 miles that makes it such a bitch to hike. It’s also the reason the guidebooks suggest a total hiking time of 2-3 hours. As I wrote about in May and August, each attempt I’ve made has seen an improvement in my hike time.
And each time I felt like I had delivered something that I probably wouldn’t be able to repeat. A fluke. A lucky break on a good day.
Yesterday I took Mary Jane on again. This time I didn’t bother with picture-taking along the way. I also didn’t bother looking back to see if Mr. Enthusiasm was keeping up. I attacked that mountain with everything I had.
And I climbed it in 38:13, beating my previous personal best (42:00) by nearly 4 minutes.
I sat my ass down on a rock as soon as I made the summit, and tried to slow my racing heart. I watched as others began to arrive, including several people I had passed on the way up. What? Since when am I smokin’ past people while climbing up a mountain? Since now, apparently.
When Mr. Enthusiasm arrived, I was just beginning my climb up to the shelf cave under the falls, to take in the views from that vantage point. And also to feel the cool mist from the waterfall.
I had climbed up to the shelf during the May hike, but I had used another approach, an easier one, further off to the left. This time I wanted to try it the harder way — the way I had seen so many others doing it.
Mr. Enthusiasm decided to take some action shots of my scramble up to the shelf.
If you could see it, you would see pure terror in my eyes. those first few steps up were easy, with larger boulders for foot placement. The spot I was at in this shot was the last of the good foot holds.
The remaining climb felt precarious at best, and downright dangerous at worst.
And I was frozen for what seemed like hours.
And he delighted in this, taking shot after shot of my
ass stretched at unnatural angles terror.
Me: Would you stop snapping pics and help me???
Him: No, you’re being a wuss. Just get up there.
Me: I hate you.
But then, like magic, my right leg found the shelf. And I threw my left leg over and
clumsily gracefully stood myself upright.
But shit…now I have to get back down. Mercifully there are no pics of my descent of the shelf. Suffice to say there was a lot of ass-sliding involved. But once I was back on terra firma…
This is the face of pride. This is the face of happiness. This is the face of 47.
And so started my descent of Mary Jane Falls. My time to descend in August was 30 minutes. Yesterday I did it in 26:30.
My total hike time was 1:04:43, by far my personal best.
Who says only fine wine get better with age. Not this chick.