The One Where I Go See a Waterfall

Who has two thumbs and loves these jags?  This guy!

Who has two thumbs and loves these jags? This guy!

Mary Jane Falls.  Is it named after an unfortunate hiker that met her end in a terrible fall from the cliff above, or in an unrelated and just as unfortunate circumstance did a vagabond hiker drop his dimebag?  Who will ever know, the mystery will continually remain for generations as to how this hike got its name, but there is a waterfall at the end, so that makes it worthwhile.

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The trail up and back as shown on Alltrails, available on Google Play and Apple Store

The hike is about twenty and one-half miles up Mt. Charleston’s main road, Kyle Canyon Road, in Las Vegas, Nevada.  I call this the Other Vegas as there is way more to do here than gamble, drink and puke.  The route is advertised as a 2.4 out and back trail – for the life of me, I have always thought that meant round-trip, but I have discovered this is not true, that at least in this case, is a one way mileage.  There is also an 2000 foot +/- elevation gain set over the course of several switchbacks and ‘stairs’.  it is mostly unexposed, but the higher you get, the more exposure there is – along the way there are several places to stop and take a sit or take a breather for those of us still working to be the macht wanderer.

This is a family friendly trail, however, my youngest was DONE by the time we were within a quarter-mile of returning to the trail head.  Finally this trail is also pet friendly, but please pick up the dog shit!  There were several turd piles petrifying in the sun, with swarms of nasty ass flies, so please, pack it out.

The gang of evil family I suspect of trying to kill me.

The gang of evil family I suspect of trying to kill me.

I was a bit unprepared for this trail based on the description I had read, and feedback I received an hour before I began this hike.  I forgot to mention, this was a Father’s Day hike which made it all the more special and my kids did a great job.  I, admittedly, threw a little tantrum about two-thirds up and was going to head back – but after a few moments of introspection, tears and a small heart attack, I sucked it up and said damn the heart attack that was looming and pressed on.  It was worth it, very much worth it.

It was a joy to get to the falls and spend a pleasant twenty to thirty minutes being misted by the falls (this time of year it is a bit of a trickle, but it is still there).

A view of the trail.  Or, the Bataan Death March, not sure yet.

A view of the trail. Or, the Bataan Death March, not sure yet.

I was also enjoying the  people watching as this is a very, very popular trail and I saw all sorts of people on this trail from families in over their head, to people I would never have suspected as hikers in my life.  My two favorite groups were the two classy ladies all inked up (I like ink) with the tank top, “Bitches, Blunts and Bath Salts”, oh yes, a few of their favorite things.  The other group was the family on their way up we met while descending who asked, “Did you all make it all the way”?, which we replied, proudly, “YES!”.  The main murder suspect My Wife overheard them murmur, “If those people can do it, so can we”.  What the hell was that supposed to mean?  I had my REI trail pack, my bandana, my flannel shirt and goatee.  I was in my element. These people had no idea!

Yes, I fell prey to the obligatory foot shot so popular on Instagram.

Yes, I fell prey to the obligatory foot shot so popular on Instagram.

Another group i should mention were the two mid-life ladies descending toward us who mentioned at the eight-tenth mile marker that we were “Almost There” (A lie that all descending parties shared with us, probably with a chuckle.  How evil are these people?  Must be from Alabama).  Then as they left a switch-back, performed 20 body weight fully packed squats.  Crossfit Hiking?  Hooollly shit.  I mean, isn’t it enough to hike up and down a hill without performing ADDITIONAL exercised?  I watched them as we rounded the ten-thousandth switch back and they did this every. damn. time.  Wow, I was inspired and kind of revolted at the same time.

The kids playing in the falls

The kids playing in the falls

At the top, we got to spend some time as a family enjoying the sun, the mist, the view and squirrels who apparently think Cliff Bars are a delicacy.  I apologized to my family for the tantrum, they were all kind and forgave me.  It was pretty amazing, the journey, not just the hike that day but the entire journey this family has taken.  This twenty-minute reprieve was deserved and earned by this family.  We literally have been trough the ringer mentally, physically and emotionally and if my wife and kids were not as strong as they are, I may have given up entirely by now and be quite dead.  i love them for the gifts they give me every day.  my wife and I are falling deeply in love all over again, and that is an

These two jags getting along for the first time in months.  Emo and the ManBun

These two jags getting along for the first time in months. Emo and the Man Bun

amazing feeling.  Last year at this time, i would not have even dared make the drive up there, let alone hike this son of a bitch.  I am grateful that i was able to share this quiet moment in reflection with my new squirrel friends.  I forgave my family instantly for trying to kill me this day.  They have suffered a buffoon for a few years and they know I am back on my game so this hike was good on many levels.  Oh yes, i forgot the mention the blatant racism that runs rampant at the terminus of the hike.  A white couple was trying to take a picture of the falls while an African-American man  (on his first hike?), was filling his water bottle and was in their photo, Mr. White turned to Mrs. White and said, “Just tell everyone you ran into Snoop Dog”.  Wow, really?  How bad id it that this is so offensive?  Its Snoop Lion good sir, Snoop Lion.

Some kind of lean too or teepee built at the eight tenth mile marker

Some kind of lean too or teepee built at the eight tenth mile marker

With the breaks and the wee one, this hike was a good hour and forty-five minutes up, as the pace was set by my little girl, who by the way is a monster hiker and connoisseur of poop piles and every damn rock on the trail, and a little over an hour and fifteen minutes back down.  All in all, i loved this hike even though it nearly killed me and even today I am wearing Camden Gear compression sleeves; but it was the first hike of the season for me, and the first hike in three years, so what was I going to expect?  i am doing this hike next week with some old friends from my previous lame life, and I am excited to share one of their favorite trails and share love and fellowship of nature with them,

The one major problem with this hike, and a lot of them in Las Vegas is that they are all hikes on rocks, as if hiking a dried up creek bed,  I was in good, solid boots and it started to suck so my poor family in their tennis shoes were definitely feeling it, but we carried on.  i certainly recommend this hike, just be prepared for some heat, soe steep switch-backs, dog poop and please do not force march your three-year old like i did, I feel kind of shitty about that, but at the end of the day, she did hug me, tell me she had so much fun and that I was her best friend.  Then we all promptly fell asleep.  I love my life.

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Love, 5:30 AM Style

I am just going to jump right in.  It has been some time since I posted in this blog; I thought sincerely about starting a new blog with a whole new name, but this blog is a perfect testament to the man I was and the road I was at tyrannically fighting against myself.  It is full of plans and goals and ‘motivation’, but ultimately it is filled with self-deception. Pleae feel free to look back over my soul as you want.

In February, I nearly died. Weighing in at just north of 417 pounds, I stopped breathing and had to be intubated.  Luckily, this happened while at the hospital already for a broken and split toe.  9 days later, I had a decision.  Continue on the path I had been or stop always junk talking and actually do some shit about it.

Currently I am at 296 pounds and coming off of a small back step week.  I have learned this week that it is very easy to let mediocrity slip back in when you lose focus even for a moment.  Those individuals like Mia Hamm, Michael Jordan, Warren Buffet, Bill Clinton, Jack Donaghy, Kermit the frog and the list goes on and on, stay on focus nearly 100 % of the time, never losing track of what they want and are willing to sacrifice all else to get there.

I am not there, yet – But I am working at it, so I put this little slip back to bed and I start today, Father’s Day, with a Goddess blessing for all fathers and people who struggle; may joy find you today and may it manifest in your thought, word and deed one hundred fold.  Thanks dad, for everything you are and everything you taught me, sorry it took 35 years to sink in.

Peace my friends, peace and love.

Top of his game, baby!

Top of his game, baby!

Changes

Life is and always has been about choices and the impact they make on us. It’ like they say, if a cow farts in Iowa, an angel burns in Japan. Or something like that, I CHOSE not to remember. I am struggling in my professional life. I am being put out to pasture and I can feel it, for someone like me who is a triple-A personality, this bugs the living shit out of me. I hate feeling useless, lifeless, used up and patronized. I would rather be fired than strung along. How it is my fault that we lost the respect we did baffles my mind. I received little to no leadership from above when I specifically asked for it and was hung out like a whipping boy, possibly intended. I was made to do it to another, and I missed it when it came for me. I see my previous friends being made to beg borrow and steal to be where I was; so now I am being kept busy. Put out to pasture.   No clout, like it is my first day on the job. I can totally feel my throat closing and my blood pressure rising right now, awesome.

Personally, I am not in a position to start my own business, so I am limited to my choices. I see that I have exactly two choices. Quit and go back to Utah, which sounds effing fantastic. But I’d still need to find a job, and I really do not want to start over. Or two, become a fucking rock star again. You tell me I need to lose 200 pounds to fit in? Eff you, I will lose 205. You tell me to wear a tie from time to time? Eff you, every day. Under commit, over deliver. Sit-down, shut up and yes sir, 24/7. Welcome the new Mikey H. Stabber of backs, builder of fiefdoms. Uber wizard of data.

I have been played as a pawn under the fiefdom here, well, they haven’t taken me and when I get to the other side of the board, and I can be a queen. A HUGE raging thunder queen! Wait, wait. That is not sounding the way I want it. I can be a KNIGHT, with QUEEN powers, YES! Super knight. Super knight travels the board in pentacle patterns, or “A” patterns or whatever shitty pattern Super Knight feels like. Super knight will master his self-discipline, not be tardy, not call in – will sit through meetings and learn and learn and learn, and when he is ready, pounce!

Super Knight will invest with fervor into his fully vested 401 k plan so that when and if the day comes that his fiefdom is sacked, he will be left laughing, hauling his bag of gold to some kind of IRA or Roth plan or invest in his own business… Bwahahahaha.

Super Knight will shave every mother freaking day of the week. You want his face smooth as a baby’s but you sick weirdo? You got it, go on, touch it, feel the smoothness. Gross, you freak, I was making allegory.

I will be the quintessential first man in last man out daily; projects will be overrun by Super Knight. VP’s will want him, AVP’s will want to be him and the day will come, when the fiefdom smiles down on Super Knight and says, “Today is your day Super Knight, we are promoting you to AVP”, and Super Knight will look up from his data, and yell “NEVERMORE” and thrust his keyboard into the heart of the beast and the land will be free.

And then Super Knight, avenged of Mike, will go home, pack his things and trek back to Utah with his family in tow, singing praises of his name.

Yeah, I think that is exactly how it will go.

The One Where I am Reborn

Nice Burka, eh?

Nice Burka, eh?

What if there were no tomorrow’s?  Shit, I’d be screwed.  I have so many things to do tomorrow like learning to paint, going camping ,eating right, lifting weights, reading ‘1984’ one more time, hanging out with Bellina, making love in the afternoon to my wife while it rains, watching Adam graduate, watching Anthony graduate, watching Autumn graduate, watching Ayden graduate.

I would be so out of luck if I ran out of tomorrow’s; I still have to hike Turtlehead peak, the Grand Canyon, the Subway in Zion, The Discovery Trail to remember one great month, Ice Box Trail to remember that I could do it and did it, and little old Calico Tanks to remember that once I was amazing and to remind me of my wedding day.

I hate to sound like stupid old Garth Brooks, but damn it I’d be pissed if Tomorrow never came.  I am waiting to take my first step in losing 200 pounds, graduating college, buy a house, travel to England, travel to San Francisco, travel to Vancouver, travel to Japan, to run my Ironman race, to go deer hunting with my family as a man, to make then drink then laugh at my first homemade craft beer, to buy my wife’s first photography book, to see her gallery opening, to fly in a helicopter, to ride a mechanical bull, to play in the WSOP, to skinny dip with Amanda, to eat fish tacos in Puerto Penasco, to own a VW Van.

I had a busy day planned but I wanted to wait until tomorrow.  I wonder if this last year my grandmother and grandfather had these thoughts.  No, they had lived and loved and went peacefully (I miss you so much).

That reminds me, tomorrow I have to call my kids to tell them I love them, call my mom and dad and tell them I love them, call Mimi and Mark and tell them I love them, call grandma and grandpa T and tell them I love them; so many calls to make tomorrow, maybe just a letter or a Facebook post of love for some of the rest because I am blessed with such a big loving family that I get to talk to real soon, after tomorrow.

But what happens if I do not have tomorrow, do I have time today to do all of that and to go BASE jumping, sailing in my own sailboat, fishing with my kids and their kids, go dancing with my wife, give my finger my company and start my own business, drink that awesome cup of coffee I roasted and brewed myself.

I can wait until tomorrow, but what if I couldn’t?  How would that feel, how empty of a shell would I be to know that I could have gotten well into my tomorrow’s to do list today, if I would have just stopped being too lazy, too interested in eating that cookie, too busy at work, too selfish.  What a shell I would be if that were true, right?

Well eff that, that sounds like dog shit.  I am not dead, I am a mad screaming Man of the world who, though down, has a vig of life left in his soul and I CAN and I WILL be possible again, not tomorrow, not next week, not next month, but right frigging now.  Right now I declare my own independence from my tired sorry assed attitude built on fear and self-loathing.  Today I grab hold of the hand being held out to me and I lift myself out of the muck. I M Possible, and I am Mike “Mr. Amazing” Hildebrand, damn glad to know you.

Donner, party of…Oh my

I have gone no where, fan.  Yes, delusional, I hold the hope that somewhere out there I have a blogfan just waiting for my next genius post.  I have not gone anywhere, but I have had the largest case of writers block, direction, etc. for a long time.  I do not want this to be a boring fitness goals blog only or a fiction blog only or my rants only, but I need to case it together into an entertaining circus of words here for your entertainment and salve for my soul.  I am working on that and actually have some ideas, don’t be surprised for  real post later this week.  Until then, I’m watching

I always feel like, somebody's watching me

I always feel like, somebody’s watching me

12/09/2013

I have been wanting to post, I even thought about creating a new blog – forgetting this one, my old friend, like I have so many other things before.  It is hard for me to let go.

I wanted to check in, in case I have any readers left.  I’d like to say I’ve lost all my weight, I’d like to blog some fiction, I’d like to blog that I am happy.

But words carry only so much weight.

I need action.

Now.

A Poetic Interlude to Get Started

I read a blog post today from someone that I admire and care for deeply.  It reminded me a little bit of who I am and where I came from and what I have lost within myself over the last 18 months.  Somewhere I had forgotten that I knew I was a rockstar and other people saw me the same; whether that was from being a kind man, a lover, a good father and listener, a great employee or an actual physical player of musical instrument.  I use to care for change, I use to care.

My change today was reignited by the word of my wife, who didn’t realize I read her post first thing this morning on Le Clown’s website, and she didn’t realize what she wrote was EXACTLY what I needed from her right now; I didn’t even know it at the time.

My wife is an amazing woman and she would not have been part of my life if my own life was pretty extraordinary in its own right.  Sure, I am not captain of an Antarctic cruiser, nor will I stand on top of Everest; but I can learn to swim and run and become an Ironman, I can listen more and play with the kids, I can do more dishes and stop making the kitchen a laundry – These small pieces of dignity are amazing.

These are the small wins, life throws them at you every fucking moment and we are too busy to see or feel them.  I feel today I have been given a second chance.  Maybe I had one years ago, but today, my wife reached me without trying and squeezed my hand and my heart and said, I love you and I stand by you.

I dedicate the man I am, the man I am becoming and the man I have been to you Amanda, thanks for reminding me of these words:

 Climbing up on Solsbury Hill
I could see the city light
Wind was blowing, time stood still
Eagle flew out of the night
He was something to observe
Came in close, I heard a voice
Standing stretching every nerve
Had to listen had no choice
I did not believe the information
I just had to trust imagination
My heart going boom boom boom
“Son,” he said “Grab your things,
I’ve come to take you home.”

To keep in silence I resigned
My friends would think I was a nut
Turning water into wine
Open doors would soon be shut
So I went from day to day
Tho’ my life was in a rut
“Till I thought of what I’d say
Which connection I should cut
I was feeling part of the scenery
I walked right out of the machinery
My heart going boom boom boom
“Hey” he said “Grab your things
I’ve come to take you home.”
(Back home.)

When illusion spin her net
I’m never where I want to be
And liberty she pirouette
When I think that I am free
Watched by empty silhouettes
Who close their eyes but still can see
No one taught them etiquette
I will show another me
Today I don’t need a replacement
I’ll tell them what the smile on my face meant
My heart going boom boom boom
“Hey” I said “You can keep my things,
They’ve come to take me home.”

 –          P. Gabriel, Solsbury Hill