Yesterday I went on a hike with one of my favorite people in Las Vegas. She and I both needed to clear our minds, and amidst the fresh air of Mt. Charleston seemed like a fitting place to do so.
It was the first time I’d hiked up anything since the canopy walk through Kakum when I was living in Ghana in 2006. My legs and lungs burned just the way they did when I climbed past coconut vendors who’d set up shop on the side of the hill in the African rainforest. The whole thing was very nostalgic—nostalgic and also therapeutic. I started to understand why those weird nature-y people always seem so much happier than those of us whose primary source of exercise comes from walking to the fridge and back for snack breaks during ten-hour Game of Thrones marathons. #epiphany
My attitude wasn’t so glass half-full at the beginning of our hike, however. Like, when Lauren said we’d just be doing the “moderately difficult, less than two-mile hike up Cathedral Rock,” I didn’t quite envision Mount Doom. Which was exactly what she pointed to the top of when we first got to the trail. I asked if she was joking because I assumed she must have been joking.
And she was like, “No.”
And then we did it. We made our way to the top of Mount Doom!
Most of the hike was steep and rocky. (I hear that’s pretty standard for hikes.) I slipped a few times, stubbed each of my toes at least a thousand times, and had to stop to catch my breath approximately every two minutes. When I say “approximately every two minutes,” what I really mean is “precisely every 15 seconds.” But it’s embarrassing enough to admit I can’t do something as simple as walking for two minutes without feeling like I’m going to die. So I’m not going to come right out and be all like, “Actually walking is so hard for me, I can only do it for 15 seconds without needing to take a break.”
The point is, I’m clumsy and out of shape and there are reasons I went seven years without going on a hike. It just doesn’t sound like something I’d be good at and therefore enjoy.
But here’s the thing about hiking…Turns out I really DO enjoy it! Like, even though I couldn’t breathe, my legs were on fire, and my toes bled through my socks, I had one of the best days I’ve had in a really long time. From the top of Cathedral Rock, I felt at peace for the first time in years. It was as though I left all my problems at the bottom of the mountain and, if only for an hour, I was completely free from the worries and responsibilities that consume my daily life. I even got to feed a squirrel some nuts, for which Lauren (who is a health freak nursing student) quickly reprimanded me. Here is a video of me trying to hand feed the squirrel some nuts after Lauren is just like, “You are for sure going to get rabies”:
And here are some photos from our hike:
This morning when I woke up and rolled over to kiss my boyfriend, I screamed in agony as I felt the result of every step taken yesterday shoot through my butt muscles like a million tiny samurai swords. “Moderately difficult” my ass. (Get it?)