Sunday, May 21, 2017

City View Trail, Henderson, NV.

Welcome to City View Trail.

It was a spur of the moment decision if it was a decision at all. I had planned to spend the evening at home playing the guitar and watching television. I’m not even sure what made me click the button to get off of the internet, but the next thing I knew I was in my car and gone. Twenty minutes later I was parked at the bottom of a mountain taking photos of and looking around at my surroundings.

City View Trail is a private property owned my Sun City Mac Donald Ranch Community Association. It is a big hill at the edge of a large housing development. Facing the hill there were nice home to my left, to my right, and behind me. There looked to be nothing on the hill but desert bushes, boulders, rocks, gravel and a path that I knew from experience as a teenager that someone had worked very hard cutting through those rocks to build. The trail is only 1.2 miles long, and rated as a moderate walking trail. I was about to learn that the write-ups on this trail may have been factual for an 18 year old athlete fresh out of Marine boot camp, but it was far from factual for a 68 year old flat lander heart patient.

Sunset Mountain

I had walked less than 500 yards on a trail that headed upward and southward for about 150 yards before turning back to the north and going further upward for about another 300 yards, turning south and doing it again. By the time I had gone about 500 yards I was about 150 feet above where I had parked my car, and taking heavy breaths. The walk was something like stairs climbing up the side of a 300 story building, but in the winter time and fighting snow and ice on the stairs. Here is where I made my first of three stops to take photos and catch my breath. There was a fourth and fifth stop before I reached the top. I would like to say that it was for taking photos, but the truth is it was more for catching my breath than anything else. It was at the fourth stop that I started asking myself, “What am I doing here?” When I reached the top I was looking for a level place to lay down and die.

I clicked off a few photos along the way and at the top as I marveled at the scenery below me. But, all the while I was thinking that if any of them turned out decent I would be lucky. My whole body was shaking, and I was wondering how in the world I was going to get back down that mountain. But, when I saw where the sun was at on the horizon I knew I had to get going back down.

And that is where I made another mistake. Instead of heading down the long, winding path I had hiked up I chose to descend the back side of the mountain on a narrower path that turned out to have about 20 places where the path seemed to end with a 3 foot jump downward to where it started again. But, about 2/3 of the way down that mountain my legs gave out on me on one of the jumps, and I landed on my butt with my camera held above my head in an effort to save it from harm.  I stopped here for about five minutes to whether I should try to use my phone to call for help. My body was trembling, and as I tried to stand up I found that my legs were as wobbly as Jello. But, I did not make the call. Instead I clung to bull headed strength and my faith in God (yes, I was praying) to get me through this ordeal. Besides, there was a sign at the beginning of the path that said my car would be towed at owner’s expense if it was still there after dusk.

Coming in at McCarran International Airport.
A few more minutes later on legs that wobbled like my second day of navy boot camp I rounded a turn in the trail and found myself looking less than a 100 yards out to a paved street. I had made it.
Like I said at the beginning of this writing, it may have been a moderate walk for those who do it often. Maybe someday I will know that I am right when I say that for a 68 year old man that retired from a sedentary life sitting behind the steering wheel of a truck it was pure Hell. And, I am happy that I made it, and proud of accomplishing the walk. It was the happiest I have been for several years. It was the first of what I hope to be many more paths I walk. I learned a lot about myself, and about what I could expect from the walks that are ahead of me. Isn’t that what life is all about? 

 My name is Keith Birmingham. I click as a photographer, journalist and writer. I busk as a musician, singer, and songwriter. I travel as a photographer, and musician. My home base is Las Vegas, Nevada. I own Better World Media, a corporation dedicated to my life passions of music, photography, and travel.

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