The word ‘Vegas” for me went hand-hand with bright lights, the Bellagio Fountain and yes “Thunder from Down Under, the spirited male review team from Australia!
A few weeks ago, a climbing adventure with friends exposed me to a whole new side of Vegas. Well known to seasoned climbers as Red Rock Canyon, about 15 miles West of Vegas are bright Red Sandstone mountains and rocks offering up a wealth of adventure activities.
Image that doesn’t do justice – beautiful landscapes riddled with Joshua trees and red rocks in the horizon
Visited by over 2 million people every year, the roughly 3000 feet tall red sandstone canyons are marked as a National Conservation Area (NCA). What does that mean? NCA areas are nature conservation areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Black Rock Desert, a popular destination for The Burning Man, is one other NCA. Interestingly Red Rock Canyon has been rumored to be the next destination for this rendezvous!
What’s the Technical Difference Between a National Park and a National Conservation Area?
Americans inherited 623 million acres of land which came in four varieties:
Image to the left: At the Black Corridor Crag at Red Rock
We noticed parts of Red Rock Canyon's neighboring areas were marked as Wilderness points.
These areas then belong to not only, say, Yosemite National Park but to the National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS), as well. What difference does it make? If land inside Yosemite becomes a wilderness area, it must remain free of roads and structures. The gorgeous colors?
Millions of years ago Red Rock was under an ocean basin and limey deposits resulted in limestone sediments – now still seen as limestone rocks around the canyon. Oxidation of the iron minerals in the rocks resulted in the red formations. Years of streams and water flows then gave the rocks those crevices and holds for adventure sports!
A bit north of Red Rock are the Limestone formations at Mt. Charleston. At 7-8,000 feet elevation, the temperatures here tend to be up to 20 degrees lower than the hot red rock valley. Offering up cooler conditions for climbers and hikers in the summer time, there are several cave formations of hard limestone that make for a very different climbing experience.
Also, Mt.Charleston, happens to be an "Unincorporated Town" of Nevada which means they are provided extra services by the county, paid for by property taxes or other revenue sources from the town. Apparently a rich tourist destination!
My buddies belaying and climbing the limestone formations at Mt. Charleston
The caves at Mt. Charleston
15 miles West of Vegas was a whole new experience…Not So Vegas!
Dara Torres, arguably the fastest female swimmer in America, captured the hearts and minds of all ages when she launched her Olympic comeback as a new mother at the age of 41. She took three silver medals in Beijing, including a heartbreaking .01-second finish behind the gold medalist in the women's 50-meter freestyle!
Dara spoke candidly about being an older female athlete in a young athlete’s game. Her doubts, her belief in fitness, the ins and out of the competition, about how she worked through the pain and uncertainty, about seizing the moment, and about never once giving up. She had dared to entertain a seemingly impossible dream.
After my first child was born, I had my first major surgery with about 8 weeks to recover before I had to go back to a 9-5 corporate world. All this while adapting to being a new mother in an entirely new body contributed to my doubts of being up for the challenge of just being fit at a very basic level.
15 months into this new lifestyle, I gave birth to my second child and underwent yet another C-section. During this phase I began noticing symptoms like muscle weakness and a significant loss of energy, which negatively impacted everything.
They say “it takes a village” but my husband and I, we really had each other.
Over the years, I remember hearing people question why staying fit was so important. I will admit, I have 99 problems and flaws but having the energy and drive to do more with less is not one of them and I credit a fit lifestyle to that.
At 38, after my second C-section, I was juggling family life all while transferring to another corporate firm. By the time my 40th birthday came around, drained despite alternating my exercises, I realized that the game was up to a whole new level.
Soon things would change.
Around this time I joined a company that promoted health & wellness. Two years into my role at this place, I learned about their fitness reimbursement program. I was paired with a fitness trainer, who at 5 feet 2 inches towered maybe 2 inches over me and had a similar physique to mine and to the most part a similar lifestyle. We connected immediately!
I learned the truth in the saying, “Choose Your Coach, Change Your Life!”
I started my program with her just once a week. She gauged my workstyle, life, fitness goals and my overall body type and customized a 30-minute workout, helping me get the most out of a limited time.
Within the first quarter, I could not only feel a notable increase in energy but there was a significant improvement in how I showed up for my hobbies. Whether it was climbing, hiking or any other of my favorite outdoor activities, my energy was upward and I could focus on work, kid’s curriculum and their sports activities.
Here’s what I want you to take away from this – If you have the true desire to maintain your personal fitness all while managing a family and career, it doesn't hurt to be ready for a Triathlon. Dare to entertain a seemingly impossible dream because eventually you will have one less problem to deal with.