Arrow Canyon Wilderness is an intriguing landscape with distinct and eye-catching landforms, including Arrow Canyon Range, one of the most scenic ranges in southern Nevada and must #mypubliclandsroadtrip!

The western face of the range is a spectacular cliff marked with dramatic bands of quartzite and limestone arching across its length. The central portion of this area contains a wide valley cut by numerous washes, providing endless panoramas. The northeast section showcases spectacular Arrow Canyon, which is several miles long and confined by sheer canyon walls that are so tall and close together that sunlight rarely reaches the bottom. Pahranagat Wash runs along the northern edge of this wilderness and flows through Arrow Canyon. The wilderness also includes Table Mountain, a small mesa top on the east side of Pahranagat Wash, which is adjacent to, but separate from, the rest of the wilderness. This 27,530 acre wilderness is just 40 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

Silence along the rugged ridges and peaks of this intriguing backcountry destination will become more and more apparent the deeper into the wilderness you venture. Infrequent visitor use and the need for route finding skills provide great opportunities for solitude and recreation including hiking, horseback riding, rock climbing, hunting, exploring, and camping under the night sky.

Photo by Kurt Kuznicki, Friends of Nevada Wilderness

The National Parks Service preserves an aspect of life that is becoming lost on so many people. The sense of adventure, exploration, and natural wonder. Happy Birthday National Parks! #nps100 thank you for letting us adventure and discover. #nationalparks #yosemitenationalpark #yosemite #adventure #travel #explore #climbing_pictures_of_instagram #rockclimbing #climbing #tryhardandbleed #excitinglife #bigwall #outdoorlife #rei1440project #petzlgram #aacgram #canon #canon_official (at Yosemite National Park)

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Me vs Mt Elbert: The Five Stages of Grief

Saturday Morning. Leadville, Colorado, less than 12 hours after I arrive in the state.  It’s a little over 6am and I am sitting in a car at the trail head for Mt Elbert with @ironmq and The Little Athlete.  We’re leaning forward in our seats glancing up at the gloomy, low clouds hovering over us. Marie looks at me and asks,
“What do you think?”
“I don’t want to get up there and it look like this.”
The LA, face buried into the back seat mumbles,
“I’m with Angela.”
Marie leans forward in her seat one last time, one last glance and says,
“We won’t know what it’s like at the top unless we try.”
We’re going mountain climbing.

We get our bags together and we’re off. About twenty minutes in, first layer comes off. And about an hour in, already sweating and already questioning… What. The. Hell. It’s hard. It’s all hard. Walking. Breathing. Everything. We stop for a snack and we’re still below the tree line and discussing a general timeline of how much we think we have left. We take off again and I don’t know how much more time passes before I realize we’re above the tree line. For a moment I think, “We’ve got this! We’re almost there!”

Wrong. So wrong. So VERY wrong. The worse has yet to come and I don’t even realize it yet.

I’m starting to question everything. And I’m starting to convince myself that I am in over my head. And I don’t believe that this will end well for me.

More time passes, above the tree line and still way below what I learned by this point is the first of TWO false summit. Whatever mountain god thought it would be hilarious to make TWO false summits is SICK. And at this point… I’m angry. I’m angry with myself for struggling as much as I am. I’m angry that the thought of quitting is in my head and won’t go away. I’m angry that I’m on the edge of crying and I don’t even know why. We’re a little over 13,000 feet in and I finally say to Marie,
“I think I’m done. 13,000 feet is still high. It’s the highest I have ever been. And I’m okay with that.”
She looks up at the mountain knowing The LA is somewhere up there and she has to go after her. She looks back down at me and starts to reach for her key. By now, I’m looking down at my feet, trying to fight back tears of defeat and making one last deal with myself as I hear Lanny’s voice in my head saying,
“Get after it, girl” as he says before any run, swim, spin class, crossfit, etc. Marie starts to hand me the keys and I say,
“I’m going to keep trying.”
We move forward.

Take a few steps. Take a break. Take a few more steps. Take another break. That’s the pace I kept as we continued up the mountain. I’m looking for landmarks along the way and telling myself that if I can make it THERE, then I can sit and have a snack. I’m telling myself all the things I can eat and drink once I get off the damn mountain. I’m telling myself all the cool stories I’ll tell people if the mountain doesn’t kill me first.  Just. Keep. Moving…

We finally make it to the first false summit. And sure, the path to the second false summit isn’t as awful as the first, but by now, I’m exhausted. I don’t feel well. Food isn’t cutting it and the skies are still gloomy. And even at this point, I still want to turn around. By now I am thinking… I’m going to get to the top and I won’t even be able to see anything. I’ll be engulfed in one big cloud. And the idea of that was weighing on me. Marie has kept in front of me about 20 feet the whole time. At one point she stops to talk with a fellow climber. I don’t hear the whole conversation but I do hear her say,
“I’m here with her and my daughter.  She’s the one giving me the ‘go to hell’ look” as she points down at me.  Not true.  Or, not entirely true…

We’re on the path to the REAL SUMMIT. The actual summit. The summit I convinced myself hours before didn’t actually exist and this was just a really bad dream. THE SUMMIT. And… you guys…we’re 5 minutes away from the top and the most beautiful thing happens… the clouds parted. The sun came out. And we are greeted with the most beautiful view my eyes have ever seen. Those last 5 minutes flew by. I was smiling. I was happy again. We were laughing. I think I even had tears in my eyes. And there it is… THE SUMMIT. We made it. WE DID IT. I did it. We stand in silence for a moment. We look at each other, both smiling and she says “we made it!” We hug. Everything that built up to that moment suddenly didn’t matter. The struggles, the doubt, the anger, the almost tears… it didn’t matter. I was there and that’s what mattered.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… there are not many things I would have or could have done without Marie and this journey was one of them. She has been there for the good, the bad and the ugly and everything in between these past couple of years. She’s a part of my heart that is irreplaceable and I’m so lucky to know her.

“I climbed across the mountain top,
swam all across the ocean blue…”

To my best friend… what’s next?