Mountain Top

Today I spent the day with my brother and his wife.  We decided that we wanted to visit the Red Rock Canyon and do some hiking.  I knew this would require a few miles of walking, since my brother is a marathon runner, and I thought I was prepared.  Water, hiking boots, camera (never leave home without it), tissue and just about everything you would need in a nature hike.

We enter the serene landscape and walk into the conservation / visitors center.  I spoke with the wonderful staff and discussed our desires and preferred destinations based on what I already knew about the area.  They suggested the White Rock to Willow Springs trail. According to the printed brochure, these are the details of the hike:

WHITE ROCK TO WILLOW SPRINGS: From the upper parking lot at White Rock Springs, take the trail on the west side to where it splits. The trail to the right descends to a guzzler (man-made water hole). The trail to the left heads downhill and through a wash, then climbs over a ridge and drops you into the Lost Creek area (2 miles). From there it is only a short distance to Willow Springs. Starting from Willow Springs, just reverse the previous instructions. (4.4 miles round trip, easy to moderate hike).

Sounds simple enough.  Let’s go!  So we parked at the base of the trail called, White Rock and our adventure began.  I, and I alone (as I was reminded a few times), decided to wander off the trail.  I do this often in order to position myself  for photos.  My brother walked past me and took the lead.  Somewhere between 2,300 feet and 2,500 feet, I realized we were way off the trail and had climbed every rock formation in our path going up.  And I mean straight up, not a simple hop and step, but rather and climb and hoist type of  UP.

I looked back to see where I was and heard my brother shout, “We can just get to the top over this hill.”  I was running short of breath (former smoker) and feeling light-headed.  I stopped and paused.  Drank some water and continued.  My sister (in law) waited for me and handed my brother my small pack to carry.  She knew we would need both hands to continue.  In my mind I was having a conflict of stopping and waiting for them on a return trip or going forward.  I plowed forward, resting when I needed to, for a few brief moments, rehydrating and looking back at the height we had accomplished.

At about 75% of the way, my brother said something profound.  “The reward will be reaching the top, knowing you accomplished the climb.”   Yes, Bro…. you are correct.  So I found the inner strength to continue.  I tried to not complain, much, and I kept my eye on the prize.  At 4,000 feet we hit snow flurries.  Not anything that really formed.  There is a term for this, according to my brother, I just can not remember it.  To me, it was like standing in the middle of a cloud, only this time I wasn’t falling at 120 mph.

Nonetheless, we did it! We climbed to the highest elevation in Red Rock Canyon (available) and we did it the hard way.  Rock by rock, step by step.  And the image attached was looking south as we gazed from our peak.  My brother was right, what a wonderful accomplishment.  What a wonderful feeling.  Now let’s head down. Oh Crap!

The entire “hike” (on our decent my brother & sis agreed this was closer to rock climbing than hiking) took about 2 1/2 hours.  And it was well worth every minute.  I am not sure I would do this dangerous activity again, without proper safety equipment, but I will hike with these two any day of the week.

This was my moment of happy; being with family, going to the mountain top just to see what I could see, to say, I did!

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