Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Veni Vidi Vici

As I said on my facebook status, I came, I saw, I conquered . . .then I hobbled my sad self home. We did it, not sure we should have, but we did. Yesterday Lowell and I hiked to the summit of Mount Timpanogos. It is a well known mountain here in Utah county, the 2nd highest in the Wasatch Range at 11,000 feet and the most recognized one. We have each climbed it twice before (why in the world would you need to go again!?!) but after seeing a family coming down the mountain when we were camping the other week Lowell said we should go. I said I was much too old and fat now but he convinced me that we could do it. And I guess I should take pride in the fact that old fat me did indeed scale that mountain. I can look up at it and think of the end of the hike with awe. And in two weeks I will probably look fondly on that adventure. But right now I am dreading the fact that I need to stand up to run a lab and I really really don't wanna.
Okay, sitting again life can go on. Even with a considerable dose of ibuprofen I am hurting. Sore tight muscles and stinging blisters--plus 2 toe nails that I will most likely lose to blisters. Such a whiner I know, take it as a warning! Chapped lips, sunburn, achy joints, sigh, I am getting too old for this. But truly we had an amazing time. 11.5 hours with my honey and most of it where we were the only people around, surrounded by the most intensely beautiful scenery and the blissful quiet--delightful.

Me, at the start of the hike. I look so happy . . .and foolish. It is 6:30 am (I just got off work at 5:30 and have had 4 hours of sleep. My choice, this was the best day we had left this summer).

Me again at one of the waterfalls along the first part of the trail. Though steep and somewhat killer to me, this first part was cool, shaded, and filled with natural gems like this falls.

After what seemed like forever (4 hours) we reached the meadow. Here's Lowell in front of the summit. The wildflowers were gorgeous, really stunning this time of year. I took heart at this point for being at the meadow, I could see the top and the trail that led to it so I was so close.

An hour and a half later we reached the saddle--the first part of the trail where you can see over into the valley and start to climb the front of the mountain. The view was spectacular and refreshing. We took a break and had our lunch (the other half of my Beto's burrito which would prove to be a very poor decision).

Lowell called the boys to tell them we were looking at them from the top--they got a real kick out of it. We made a few more calls and prepared to start on that trail you can see to right of Lowell.

Another hour and a half later (dang deceiving mountain, it looked so much closer than that!) we made the summit. That last bit was killer for me, so difficult. We climbed a section called "Devil's Staircase" because it is switchbacks of steep rock steps and at 11,000 feet there is just no air. I was gasping after just a few steps. It was slow going but I really wanted to replicate this picture:

Lowell and I 8 years ago and much much thinner.The lighting is poor in both because the background is so intensely bright compared to the dark shack.

In case you wanted to know, yes it is amazing up there. This is the view from the front, looking down on Utah lake, Orem, PG, AF, Lehi.

And looking back the way we had come, gorgeous wilderness.

My tough man Lowell at the summit, collecting a couple of rocks for the kiddos. Looking at Timp from the ground I don't think you'd realize how much loose rock there is on the face. Oh and one very odd note, they were filming a BYU commercial while we were there. A helicopter kept passing over and over (and over, very annoying!) and we saw the film crew and the actors, who were holding a BYU flag as they marched across an adjoining peak. So if you see something like that (my guess is it will be for BYU football) know we were there at the same time.
So then we headed back down. I was happy that now every step was a step closer but it was still trudging along, one foot in front of the other. I got the privilege of using the most disgusting bathroom I have even seen (and I toured through Europe with my mom, there's some pretty nasty stuff there). In retrospect I really should have just gone under the tree next to it but I thought I would be brave . . .and it did have an amazing view. I spared you all the photo--though I did consider taking one.

Here we are hiking down, 8 hours into the trip and I look down and can see the parking lot and yes, even identify our car way off in the distance. Rather disheartening. Lowell shared some of his Excedrin with me and the caffeine jolt really got me moving for a little way but I petered out again and while enjoying conversation with Lowell (books, movies, TV shows, our family . . .) it was still just very very long. My joints which had started to protest on the way up were much more vocal now and the blisters forming were getting bigger and/or popping. My toe nail was getting loose and each step was a struggle. But what are you going to do, stay up there? So we continued. That was about when Beto's came back to haunt me. I had some pretty serious bowel distress. There wasn't many good options restroom wise in the woods, too steep and close to trail, or no cover, or I just didn't want to so I continued huffing and puffing and thinking all along that we were almost there. Just around the next corner . . .an hour of corners later we actually reached the restroom. What a joyous moment that was! I then wanted to take my shoes off (and never wear any again. Ever), sit down, gets some ibuprofen, get a snow cone, and see my kids which is what we did.

These were my legs--I really don't know how I got this dirty, it was like that all the way up my thighs. I guess the dusty trail blew up my pant legs and stuck, Lowell wasn't near as dirty in shorts. The boys were happy to see us, Davis must have missed me because he told me "You climbed the big mountain? I missed you. You have a pretty nose. You have a pretty face. You are my princess Mommy. I love you." Definitely worth coming home for. Lowell says he wants to go again next year (he did so much better than me, tough guy--and so caring taking care of me as we went) but I am not so sure. Maybe we'll go every 8 years then next time the boys will be almost 12 and they can come too. Or maybe I will just retire my scout name "Iron Maiden" (earned by hiking to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite) and just be flabby old me. Or scale it down, that first 9 miles was do-able maybe I will make that my max. 18 was just a but over the top. Anywho . . .that was our adventure for this week!


Kristen said...

ah, I hear ya. I still haven't finished blogging about our hike up there yet. You were lucky to be able to go on a weekday though. Sat was very busy! No solitude, except a few rare spots (and most of the way down, because I think everyone beat us down). But anyway, that was my first time - and I think it will be awhile before I forget all the pain to be able to be willing to do it again. :)

Kristen said...

Wow. That brings back lots of memories. Plus I think I still have scars from the sunburn I got when we fell asleep up there. But I'd definitely do it again, too...especially if Davis would say that to me! You're awesome, Heidi!!

Anonymous said...

I'm impressed! I'm also jealous. I want to come next year!

Sal-my-gal said...

Wow! You are made of iron. Someday I'd like to try that. I think I'll need a year to prepare!

Queen Mother said...

You go girl!

(but I thought your scout name was "Happy Trails"?) said...

Congrats! I am impressed you can hike that. I dont think I could do it. Your boys are getting so big-so cute! Hope all is well.