Calico - Part 1

May 1, 2017

 

I flew down the highway on what could possibly have been classified as the perfect day. True blue skies, dotted cloud puffs, mellow sunshine and wisps of cool air cutting the warmth with moments of refreshment. I'd traveled the curved openness of the 215 many times during my Vegas life. For jobs, friends, lovers and my most favorite thing of all~hikes. 

 

I pulled off onto Charleston, the six-lane road that siphoned into two and wriggled its way into the breathtaking formations of Calico Basin. The snack-sized bowl nestled less than 60 homes, all unique characters. You'd glimpse a touch of every lifestyle type, ranch houses with horses, mansions with full basketball courts and terra cotta adobes that branded southwestern living. I loved peering into the horse stables as I meandered the Camry back toward the trails. I'd pass a little farm with a roadside sign, Fresh Eggs $5/dozen, always intending to take up the offer and never actually doing it. 

 

You could scramble up the stacked sandstones of Calico and cross over the invisible line that marked Red Rock Canyon. When I stopped buying a yearly pass to the National Conservation Area, I discovered the endless trails of Calico to which admission was free. If you hooked a right, past the touristy hot spot of the basin and continued down the road, you'd find a dirt lot surrounded by an expansive sprawl of canyon, spiraling rock labyrinth and gigantic boulders tattooed with ancient artwork and psychedelic lichens. Free climbers frequented the trails, strapped with thick rectangular pads the height of their bodies. The pads made a bed when camping overnight and a cushioned landing when tired arms lost their monkey grip on the stubborn rock. 

 

I'd adventured Calico through many fast and hard seasons of my young life. Many times unsatisfied with my present, worried about my future and desperately seeking solace. Crawling over the gritty rocks and breathing air void of city buildup, I found more of myself in the desert than in anything else I muscled away at, trying to make it. In the openness, I sensed a bigger play for my life than the small toil I'd set to default.

 

In summer, Calico was like a boiling pot, heat squiggling up in waves of desert oasis. On those blistering days, I'd pack eight liters of water and be so squeezed by the end of the hike, it was all I could do to drive home, shower and pass out. The sheer exhaustion wiped my overactive mind, repairing me from deeply ingrained stress, so I could start again. 

 

Maybe every trip to Calico was divine intervention to shed my workaholism and take it easier. After years of breaking myself down with hard hustle, not only did I resent the success I chased, I no longer felt like any of it mattered. What good was "making it" if I sacrificed my entire life, while scraping away its joy? A trail at a time, I infused nature's undeniable flow into my operating system, giving myself permission to lighten my load and create only what I adored. 

 

Two months before this special trip to the basin, I had yet another soul-stop of a business breakdown. I realized my grind wasn't working and everything had to change. So I cold-turkeyed social media, stopped all production on my YouTube channel, blog and anything else I created for my business. I mapped out my first book after a glorious shower. Ya know the kind where the water temp is just right and ideas flush through crystal clear? Then I started writing. I deconstructed a dysfunctional business to begin living a dream. 

 

As I released the old biz model and teamed up with intuition, I toppled through cycles that resembled a breakup. First on scene was separation anxiety, followed by loneliness and self-doubt. Then, the rebound that you know isn't what you really want, but you indulge because it feels good . . . temporarily. I sweated out Instagram withdrawals by binge watching Orphan Black until inspired action slapped me so hard I couldn't sit still in my skin anymore. In every shade of breakup, something goes away, and you remain. So I made a secret promise to the little dreamer inside to stick with myself, even through intense periods of disappointment, procrastination and the good ol' fashioned blues. 

 

READ PART 2

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©2017 BY ELYSE HUGHES