Sober in Vegas: A failed trip to St. Thomas but a beautiful drive around Lake Mead

KNPR’s magazine, Desert Companion, just ran a beautiful article about women and the outdoors which I wanted to share here before today’s post.

If you need an end of week pick me up, that article will do it! 🙂

Onto the beauty of failure….


Failure is part of life.

Try as I may, there will be times I don’t accomplish that which I set out to do.

A few weeks ago we set out to visit the ghost town of St. Thomas, Nevada, an early mormon settlement community that was submerged with the creation of Lake Mead and Hoover Dam.

It has in recent years seen the reemergence of buildings due to the lower water levels Lake Mead has been experiencing.

For a few weeks we planned the drive out to St. Thomas, which is about an hour and a half, and we prepped the car with cold waters, snacks, and good tunes.

We decided to access the route via East Lake Mead Parkway, turning north and following Northshore Road/167 north and east of Las Vegas. Daily Entry to Lake Mead National Recreation Area is $20, and it’s a place I spent most summer days growing up.

If you’ve never had a chance to visit Lake Mead, it’s a really special place to enjoy hiking and exploring.What’s funny is for all my time growing up here, I’d never EVER done the drive (that I can remember) up the 167 towards St. Thomas.

Most of the time I’d spent at the National Recreation Area was from the entrance just outside of Boulder City on the way to Hoover Dam, and what struck me was how different this area looks from what I saw on our St. Thomas drive.We really took our time on the drive.

Whenever there was a spacious vista or change in terrain, we decided to stop and take a photograph.

It was one of those rare days where there was nothing else going on, so we could just breathe in the sunny desert air.By about 2pm, we reached the turnoff for St. Thomas.

And I’m not sure why, but I just blurted out, “I don’t want to go.”

It was another few miles down the road, and then about a 2 mile hike to get out to where some of the buildings were beginning to surface.We’d had such a nice day just exploring the back roads of Lake Mead, and I was starting to feel a little tired and hungry.

Almost every other time in my life when I’ve set out to do something, I’ve done it.

As a kid I did everything. I played sports, I was involved in the arts, I volunteered, I was in the top 10 in my class academically. I always pushed myself HARD. Even if it meant all nighters studying only to get on the school bus at 5:45am the next morning to commute to a magnet school hours away.

If I did ever fail to meet my own expectations it usually resulted in a total meltdown. Like, got a bad grade=spiral into depression and self hate and nasty self loathing talk.

When I still drank, if I set out to have multiple mixed drinks and beers in a night, I did it. Even if I had a cold. Even if I had an early meeting the next morning.

At work I’ve always tried to be an ideal employee–staying late, showing up early, never calling in sick even if I had MONO or had been in a biking accident (both of which actually happened…)

And then once I stopped drinking, I started setting other goals for myself.

Attend an event.  Go to an unfamiliar part of town and explore.  Meet up with someone new. Keep busy.

And these new sober goals have been great ways to push myself to grow, and continue to be.

But I think my next lesson is learning it’s okay to say, ‘No.’

It’s okay to say, ‘Enough.’

It’s okay to have intended to one thing, find that my feelings have changed, and listen to the voice inside that says, ‘Rest.’

So that’s the story.

We didn’t make it out to St. Thomas.

I hope I do one day, but after standing in the quiet desert winds all morning looking at the mountains surrounding Lake Mead, it was okay to say ‘I’ve changed my mind’ and turn around and head home.

Sometimes failure is progress.  ❤ ❤


Thanks for reading and happy sobering friends!

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11 thoughts on “Sober in Vegas: A failed trip to St. Thomas but a beautiful drive around Lake Mead

  1. I’m sorry you didn’t complete the journey. I’d consider this trip but the two miles is too far for me to hike because of health issues. I hope you can complete the trip soon! ❤️🌴

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh yes indeed! what little hiking I can do must be done in winter months, our beautiful Mojave is just too dangerous for most people in summer. Be safe!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful photography. Sometimes when I put myself on a mission and halfway there I get that feeling of uncertainty, I don’t think of it as failure. I think of it as an unforseen change in plans. You may have needed that turn around to bring yourself to say no, enough, find internal peace, a sound mind for rest.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you for that great article about women and the outdoors- and yes, it’s definitely ok to say no. Intuition is a gift and sometimes we don’t know why but just “No” is just fine!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for the article. I’m definitely learning how to say no and not equate that to failing. It’s pretty tough!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve been out to St. Thomas and the faster, much less memorable, route would be the 15 north, exit at Overton. Then drive through town until you come to the Lake Mead Ranger Station. The road to St. Thomas is unpaved but in very good condition and is just to the left. It is only open from sunup to sunset. Drive your car to the end parking area, then hike down the side of the hill- less than an 8th of a mile. The rest of the hike is all flat but there is no shade. So avoid summer months. In my opinion, it’s a waste of time. There’s not much left but a few walls and some foundations. I was very disappointed and took very few photos.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. that actually makes me feel a bit better! im sad it wasn’t too exciting but i feel less sad that i didn’t make it all the way!! 🤓 glad to know the other route as well just in case!

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