Wanderlust & Loss

UP IN FLAMES: A Reminder to Enjoy the View

As I write this, I’m watching part of my adult life literally go up in flames. Nope, nothing to do with being unemployed or a figurative fire burning in my soul.

The Mount Charleston Lodge is burning to the ground.https://www.linkedin.com/embeds/publishingEmbed.html?articleId=7409446532572435897https://www.linkedin.com/embeds/publishingEmbed.html?articleId=8925101585338735474

Most people outside of Las Vegas don’t know that there is a Hamlet called “Mount Charleston” nearby. You think of slots, 24-hour buffets, and Cirque shows. Yes, tourists have that. Locals have the mountain. Many of you, even you venture off The Strip, will go to Red Rock Canyon. Not a bad call, but you should also check out Mount Charleston.  

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It’s a solace when it’s stifling hot on the valley floor and you want to have “cooler” air, like in the 80’s range. It’s a place where you can yearly see snow as it rarely hits the valley floor. (Though it has done that as well.) It’s a hiker’s paradise.

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On the days I just needed to get away and explore with my dog Sierra (may she rest in peace), we’d head up the mountain. You start at the low desert floor, weave through Juniper forests, and finally end up in a Pine Tree heaven, having ascended nearly 5000 feet up to touch the clouds.

At the end of the road is the Mount Charleston Lodge. A simple respite from the day, whether it’s with a meal, a drink, or just a nice view of Kyle Canyon to kick off your hiking boots after a day of switchbacks that kick your butt.

Every time I went there I’d say, “I need to buy a house up here”, without even thinking I’d need to win Megabucks 4 times to afford it. It was just the perfect place in the perfect state with the perfect view year-round.

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I have but one regret from my years in Las Vegas. I never saw “Siegfried & Roy” at the Mirage. It was one of those things that was “always going to be there”, until October 3, 2003, when a quiet news night in the FOX5 Newsroom turned to chaos. Roy had been attacked on stage by Montecore and a sales team member at the show with clients called to let us know. The closest I made to see the show would be my visit to the Magic Garden in the year after the attack.

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I did make it a point to see all the other shows I wanted to see on a regular schedule, just in case. My best friend and I even had days when we’d dress up as tourists and go downtown to “be touristy” and experience it that way.

It’s a great reminder as we move around in the TV & Digital News World. We move to strange cities with their own unique traits that we take for granted. Or we get too focused on work. Or we are too busy grinding for the next job we don’t appreciate what’s right in front of us while we can.

Be a tourist in your own town. I’m from St. Louis and I didn’t go to The Arch until I was 21. Don’t be me. Go see that festival, lodge, fair, roadside icon, or whatever your new community brings. See the traveling shows that come to town. Ask sales if there are any tickets left over from client gifts if you can’t afford to go. Go visit your local zoo.  

I am so thankful for all my trips up the mountain. I am glad it’s one thing I didn’t miss. It does come with a unique sting to see a place of dreams be a fiery nightmare. I can’t stop watching FOX5 News Live in Las Vegas to get updates as I write this.

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But no fire can burn my memories or all the memories made in its hallowed canyon walls. (Like this one where I desperately tried to get Sierra to come into the Mary Jane Falls.)

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Enjoy your view while you can and while you are there. You never know when you’ll wake up and it’s gone.

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