Nature is my thing. Well, it’s one of my things. It is something I didn’t even know I had in me until five or six years ago. I fell in love with the National Parks and with mountains and with giant trees, and I haven’t really stopped loving being outdoors.
Lately, it has been a way to remind myself of what I’m fighting for, which is another way of saying that being out in the mountains reminds me that I have something worth fighting for: myself, but also something that extends beyond myself. So I’ve made an almost-daily habit over the last 10 days of trying to get out and go for a hike somewhere. It has a way of getting me right out of funks and putting my mind and dumb brain on the right path.
Today, I decided to go up to Mt. Charleston for a quick hike along Fletcher Canyon Trail. I packed up Belle early this morning (she gets very excited when she knows we are going hiking) and made the 50-minute drive up to the Fletcher Canyon trailhead. Well, it normally would take 50 minutes from my house; today it was more like 90 minutes due to construction delay. But I didn’t care. Just being out of the house and up in the mountains is enough for me.
We finally made it to the trailhead and parked. It was a short route (2.4 miles), with not much in the way of elevation change, so I knew it would be easy. I let Belle off her leash and away we went, up the hill and into the canyon.
It is not as picturesque as, say, Mary Jane Falls or even Ice Box Canyon over at Red Rock, but it was still gorgeous. The air was crisp and cool; it is usually 25 degrees cooler up on Mt. Charleston than it is in the Vegas valley, and my car thermometer read 71 degrees today. It was a nice respite from the heat. I look forward to bundling up and doing the same trail during the winter months, though Belle will perhaps stay home for those jaunts.
We made it to the top of the Fletcher trail and then turned back. The downhill part of the hikes always sounds the easiest, and in terms of cardio, they are. But they are far worse on the knees and hips. Thankfully (again), the elevation change here made for a smooth and relaxing walk back down to the car. The view in the photo to the right was the way it looked coming down, all green and silent and gorgeous. I love those moments.
We got back to the car and Belle drank her weight in water despite stopping four times for water breaks on the trail. Then we came home, with the dog utterly passed out in the passenger seat. She is sleeping beside me on the couch as I write this.
I have a long weekend of work ahead of me, but I am thankful for moments when I can get out in nature and recharge and reflect. I have many things I want to accomplish over the next however many months it takes me, and getting out in nature to remind myself that I can do this, that I have the strength to accomplish anything I set my mind out to accomplish, are moments that are absolutely needed.