Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Mount Timpa-no thanks

I'm a little bit famous in my home stake in Maryland for being the girl who brought a pink purse on the 4th year hike. I wore sunglasses, so no one could tell that the torrential rain had washed off all my makeup, and I carried my purse in the crook of my elbow from the hike's sunny start to it's monsoony end. I vowed that day, as the 1st years laughed and took paparazzi-type pictures of me, that I would never go on another 10-mile hike again.

Fast-forward 8 years and here I am, two weeks after breaking that vow, and only barely capable of writing about it with more than a Facebook status.

Here's what happened: a few months ago, Stephen and I made a list of all the things we wanted to do this summer. One of the things he suggested was hiking Mt. Timpanogos, and without too much thought, I wrote it down.

After all, we had been married for 8 months! We'd gone on lots of hikes. We worked out sometimes. We had hiked Squaw Peak, and I barely felt sore after it. We went rock climbing 2-4 times a week.

"It's a hard hike," said Stephen.

I can do hard things.

"Probably the most strenuous hike you've ever done."

He didn't go on my 4th year hike.

"It usually takes people at least 8 hours to hike it."

Okay, so it'll take us....maybe 5?

I was not exactly intimidated.

We started the hike at about 9:30. We tried really hard to get up earlier, to try and see some moosen, but it just didn't happen. 
This is the mountain we set out to climb.  
There are two trails, and I don't know which one is easier / shorter / prettier. I just know that they eventually spit you out at the same place, and the trail we took was quite beautiful, while also being kind of hellatious at the same time.

Right at the beginning, there are 3 or 4 waterfalls. It was pretty hot when we were hiking, and you had to go through one or two of the waterfalls to continue on the hike, so I loved when we came to one.  

Blabla waterfalls, blabla beautiful....and then you go uphill for a long time until you think you're going to die, and you come to this:

My favorite part was this beautiful meadow. 
The trail is really skinny and just winds through this perfect green meadow with wildflowers and random streams. 
We saw this super-buff mountain goat and got pretty close to him! 

After the meadow, you come to....maybe the halfway point? of the ascent. I also liked this part because it's a little lake made of glacier water that's dripped down the mountain, and it was fun to just relax there for a little bit and watch all these little boy scouts pushing each other in. I felt pretty accomplished because we were at the top of one mountain! We had been hiking for a few hours, and I knew we weren't done done, but I thought we had gone at least 2/3 of the way up. Stephen kept pointing to this horrifically steep mountain and saying, "That's the rest of the hike! We're about to do that!" and I thought he was joking. 

Spoiler: he wasn't. 

We picked ourselves up and continued walking. The terrain changed a little bit because I guess some rock slides happened here? And there were long stretches where there was no trail, just rocks for you to scamper over. I actually was glad to have so many different kinds of terrain, because that made it more interesting and made me use different muscles or whatever. 

Then we found some bones of a less-prepared hiker.
.....Just kidding about the hiker. But those really are bones. 

The second major "break" is when you get to the saddle. I thought this was the end of the hike, so I was happy to lay down on the ground and eat my cheese stick and prepare for the trip back, but no. The saddle is about a mile from the summit, and that last mile is basically skinny stairs. If you're some guy we passed, you don't even go to the top. The saddle is good enough for you and you say so to all the people who are encouraging you to finish. If you're me, you spend that last mile telling your husband you don't care about finishing and feeling like you're about to cry as you drag your sorry feet behind you. And if you're Stephen, you do care about finishing and you somehow talk your wife into finishing with you. 
I would have been satisfied if we stopped there at the saddle. 
In retrospect, I guess I'm glad that I made it all the way to the top.

You get to sign a clipboard, and write your name on the white shed, and take a bunch of pictures. 

Apparently the view is a lot better on other days. When we hiked it, it was pretty hazy and I was underwhelmed. Not that it was a bad view, but I've been on other (shorter) hikes where the view was just as good, if not better. #waaaahmbulance

I feel like I'm not painting a very good picture of how hard the hike was, but that's because when I look at the pictures, I just remember the good parts. I mean, I'm smiling, and I'm standing up like it's no big deal! But I can still remember my feet hurting like crazy and I can remember saying angrily to Stephen at some point:

"When this is over, I need you to give me a massage."
Him: Okay, I will.
Me: No, don't say okay. Because I feel like I always get gypped on massages.
Him: I will! I promise!
Me: Good. Because when this is over, I'm not giving you a massage. I feel like I always give you like five and then somehow I only get 1/4 of one. So today, I'm getting my massage! And I need it to last like 30 minutes.

So, that was snotty. I don't know why Stephen didn't say anything about me being a diva or a brat, but he didn't. He just kind of laughed and said okay, and then he probably told me 100 times that I was doing great. Anyway, my point is, I was clearly upset for a good portion of this hike. It really is super-steep and strenuous and it just takes so. long.

We went down the "glacier," which I'm pretty sure is not an actual glacier, but everyone calls it that. I recommend it because you can slip and slide down it, and even though your leggings might get soaked in the process, it cuts off like 2 miles of the trek down. Plus you dry off eventually and it's an adventure, so why not.
There wasn't a whole lot of snow and ice when we did our hike, and the first part was just kind of muddy slush. This is how I started out going down - kind of like snowboarding, but with no board. Then Stephen gave me the backpack and I slid down the rest of the way on that.  
The glacier dropped us off right back here:

For whatever reason, we didn't think we needed to pack a lunch. So all we had was a thing of mixed nuts, cheese sticks, granola bars, and 4 bottles of water. We saw a few people filtering the glacier water, but since we didn't bring Stephen's filter, we just drank it unfiltered. It was some of the best water ever! It was super-cold and crystal clear, and we didn't even get sick and die. So, bonus.

I was feeling pretty optimistic right about then, until 4 more years of my life passed with us on that trail. I am serious. It took so freaking long to get down off the mountain! At one point I almost started crying and told Stephen we were going to be on that trail for the rest of our lives.

It was a low point. 
Luckily, I was wrong, and a mere 8 hours after we started, we were home, napping and massaging and making sandwiches and, in Stephen's case, planning our next Timp hike.

In my case, planning to never again go on another 15-mile hike. 

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