Monday, September 26, 2011

16 1/2 hours

That's how long it took us to hike to the summit of Mt. Timpanogos this past Saturday.

True story.

It is a 15 mile hike round trip. We...

(We being Ty and I and Scott and Jen Fugal who were there with us during the first attempt in the rain and wind and snow. The two teenagers that were there last week opted out of a re-hike)

We got to the Timpooneke trail head at 2:30 in the afternoon and had someone take our picture. Please excuse the spot on most of the pictures...I didn't clean the lens properly.
Me, Ty, Jen and Scott
Look at us smiling and happy ready to take on this mountain again. The plan was to summit, hopefully by sunset and be down the mountain by midnight at the latest. That was the plan. And, as is the case with this mountain, things rarely go as planned.

You think we would have learned that lesson last week.

It was fun to see what we couldn't last week because of the darkness and the rain. We tried to see if we could locate where the rock slide that we heard had happened. We figured it probably happened at the spot in the top left of the picture where rock slides had already been occurring.
This really is a beautiful hike. I hiked it last Summer up to the second meadow with my family for the Nielsen family reunion.
This is looking up through the first meadow
towards the second.
The leaves are just beginning to change.
Looking up to the cliffs off to the north of the trail

Looking back down the trail in between the first
and second meadows. I LOVE the red berries in
this picture. If you can't see them click on the picture
to see a bigger version.

Hiking up you have to cross water a bunch of times. Jen counted on the way back down. There were 13 water crossings. I don't know if that number changes in dryer years or not...I would imagine it does.
Ty at one of the crossings.

We made it to the second meadow. And I ask Scott and Jen to pose for a picture. At first they didn't want to stand next to each other and then they decided it would be okay. See those hiking sticks that they are holding? Those came in mucho handy in the hours ahead.

I love the cliffs and the colors that were just beginning to change

As we continued on out of the first meadow Ty and Scott were able to spot the mountain goats way up high grazing. We actually ran into a friend of Ty's from his old neighborhood. They had been up on a hunt and had gotten a goat. They didn't have it with them because it was being taken down the front side of Timp. I had no idea that a decent down the front was even possible. Anyway if you look really close at those little white spots. Those are mountain goats. Clicky the picture for a better view.
As we hiked there were a TON of people coming down off of the mountain. Some had gotten really close to the goats and so Jen and I were really excited to get up there before the sun set and try to get some shots of them with our cameras.

We crossed the snowfield going up without any problems. I was shocked that it seemed SO much smaller in the daylight. Night time just jumps things up so much....and boy did that ever hold true on our way back out.

When finally came to the point where we had made it to last week we were shocked, again, at how the dark and the rain and the clouds (and the HIGHER water) had made this particular water crossing seem so formidable. In all reality it was very simple. But the water last week was gushing out from under this snow bridge. It would have been up to at least our shins.
Here are Ty and Scot in front of the snow bridge.
Just past this point we stopped for our longest rest. We sat down and ate some food so we could get our energy up as we headed towards the summit.

My hiker man Tyran... Love him.
As we headed higher the wildflowers were still blooming.
You can even see a couple of wild Columbine in this picture.
Looking North along the back side of the mountain.
I love the look of those shale slides that look like waterfalls of rock.

We finally reached the third meadow. Off to the right you can go over to a latrine that is up there. I needed to go REALLY badly and the thought of having a toilet to sit on was highly appealing. Until I got to the toilet and lifted the lid. Then....not so much. I spare you any pictures of that horrid spot and give you instead the wild life that blessed us with their presence.

Mama dear and her baby....
And then there were TWO babies...
And then three!!
Loving the deer butts.
It was there in that third meadow that we realized that there was no way that we would be able to get to the summit (or even the Saddle) in time for sunset. We didn't care we just kept plugging along.

You have no idea the crazed looks we were getting from the people coming down. Or how many times we were asked if we were going to the summit. Scott kept wanting to tell people "No we are just walking backwards." Which would have been awesome!

We were also asked multiple times if we had flashlights. Which we did.

At this time Scott was starting to have difficulties breathing because of the altitude. I was noticing a headache coming on and was worried about altitude sickness. Scott said that he would go with us to the saddle and wait there for us while we hiked the summit. I just said that we would wait and see how he felt about things once we made it to the saddle.

As we came up onto the Saddle the scene that came into view was breath taking. We had made the Saddle just after 9 p.m. With a little rest Scott decided he would continue on to the top with us. I'm so glad that he did.

This is looking to the South towards Orem and Provo.
This is pretty much the main view.
As we started up that last part of the hike we had to take it pretty slow with frequent stops for both Scott and I to catch our breath. At times it was also very hard to know where the trail went so while Scott, Jen and I were catching a breather Ty would scout ahead to make sure we were on the correct trail.

It was difficult, to say the least. And, I'll be honest, it was scary. There were times as we were climbing I was asking myself "How are we going to get back down this in the dark?" I started to sing the hymn "I Need Thee Every Hour" and I was asking for courage and comfort and safety.

My prayer was answered.

In the most beautiful way.

My dad came. He was there with me. And his dad was there as Grandpa George. I could feel both of them there beside me. Encouraging me and cheering me on. I could feel him saying "You can do this Shanna. I know you can!"

And so.... I did.

I took us until midnight.

Yes you read that right. 3 hours from the saddle to the top. But we did it. With encouragement from one another and from those sent to help me.



Did it!
We did it!
We really, really did it!!
One of my goals was to not only to make it to the top but to
write my name down in the log that they have there.
At first we couldn't find it and I was TICKED off.
Then we realized where it was, found it and signed it.
There is a little stone pillar in the middle of the shack that is there so we all took turns standing on it so that we could say that we actually made it to the VERY top of Timp!
Jen on the top!
And me looking crazed with a big thumbs up!
I was testing out to see what a picture would look like if
I used the timer and got this spooky shot of Jen.
The four of us crazy loons on the top of Mt. Timpanogos
after hiking for 10 hours.
At this point, let's be honest, I think we were all contemplating staying the night there in that shack. We were cold and tired and the prospect of going back down the mountain in the dark wasn't a happy one.
Jen and Scott getting cozy
Ty and I didn't sit.
(I don't think I could have gotten up off of that
floor if I had sat down.)
But we did get cozy.
Then came the time that Scott was waiting for. He had packed with him a golf club and some golf balls so he could hit one off of the top.
Surveying the scene.
Teeing up.

He decided he didn't want to pack them back down the mountain
so he left the club and the balls there for others to have their swing.

Scott called his sister and told her to look up and see if she could
see lights at the top and she could see his head lamp!
That was cool!

This next picture is a panorama of the view from the top of Timpanogos
looking down into Utah Valley at midnight.
It is a beautiful sight.
The Salt Lake Valley is to the far right of that picture.
There was actually a couple of points during the
hike to the top where we could see the Provo temple,
all at once.
(clicky on the picture for the bigger version.)

Coming back down off of the top and onto the saddle again took an hour and a half. I was feeling better. Scott also did better the lower we got.

The stars that you could see were incredible. Jen and I even saw a shooting star. I decided to see what I could get with my point and shoot camera. See that one little white dot? That's what I saw when I looked on the picture review on the camera.
I actually think that little white dot might be Venus.
Then I got the picture home on my editing software and I upped the contrast and the brightness and THIS is what came up!
Remember what I said earlier about the snow field seeming larger in the dark? Boy was that ever true this time around. The snow that had been ever so slightly slushy on the way up had frozen, super solid and even with sticks to give us a little bit more help in crossing there was some serious slippage going on. I actually covered probably the last quarter of that on my rear end because I couldn't keep my footing. That got the adrenaline pumping!

As we were coming down and we hit the place where we turned back last week we were hopeful. It had only taken us 2 hours from that point down a week ago. What we didn't count on was how fatigued we all were. My left knee really started acting up. Thankfully I had packed an ace bandage because last week it was my right knee and I knew that there was a possibility that I would need some extra support. Ty's left knee was killing him as well so I wish I'd had two wraps so he could have had one too.

It ended up taking us double the time it took us the week before.

We only ran into a few people on the way back down. This night we pretty much had that mountain to ourselves.

Just before we finished we ran into a couple of guys who were hike with skis and ski boots on their backs. They were heading to the glacier to take a ski down that! We tried to warn them that on our way up we had come across two different people who had been bloodied up pretty good trying to slide down that thing. I don't know if they actually made that attempt or not but they didn't end up on the news so maybe they were able to ski down it...or maybe common sense took over. Who knows.

On this hike we watched as the edge of darkness descended Saturday night and we welcomed the sun rise. We made it back to the parking lot at 7 a.m. Sunday morning.

Don't you love the look on the guys faces?
We were extremely tired. Scott and Ty both had church meetings that they were supposed to be to Sunday morning at 7. Needless to say they didn't make it.

Our church starts at 9 a.m. We got home just before 8. I drove Jona down to the church for a meeting he was supposed to be to then I came home, took a shower and headed back so I could go to sacrament meeting.

You may think that I'm crazy. But this was my thinking. My Savior was there for me on that mountain. When I was scared He sent my dad and grandpa to be with me. The least I could do was make it to Sacrament Meeting and renew my covenants with Him. And so I did.

At the end of the meeting I had been awake for 26 and 1/2 was time for my head to be hitting my pillow.

And this brings me to the end of my story. It probably took 16 and 1/2 hours to read through it. If you made it through it all I commend and thank you.

If you get the chance to hike to the top of Mt. Timpanogos I highly recommend it. But plan for a very long day. I do want to hike this again. I want to get to the top when there is sunlight so I can see that view from both ends of the spectrum.

Today as I went out for a walk and looked up at the top of that mountain a big smile broke onto my face. Because I did it. I made it to the top and proved to myself that I can do hard things.
Thanks to Ty and Jen and Scott for going up with me. Good company makes all the difference in the world.


Vanessa said...

Now THAT is an accomplishment! I stare at that mountain every day but have never hiked it. I'm a wimp. But you...YOU are a hikestar! Way to go!

Barbaloot said...

Good for you! I totally know what you mean about the dark making things seem longer and harder. And going down---doesn't it just seem SO much longer than going up!?

I hope the skiers listened to you. I know personally that glacier is not very forgiving!

Julie said...

What a fabulous adventure! I am so glad you shared all the details and pictures. Now every time you look at that mountain you will remember that you CAN DO hard things. I'm so happy for you!

Jessica G. said...

WOW! Color me impressed! My hubs did that five years ago with a group of BYU students. They left at 3 am so they were hiking when the sun came up. He loved it but couldn't move for a couple days; he was so sore.

Brooke said...

You've convinced me I need to do it! I've almost made it, but never to the summit. I will do this, it's on my bucket list! Thanks for the great post!

Monica said...

What a great trip. I wondered if you would get a chance to atempt the mountain again this year. You should all be so proud of your accomplishments!

Cynthia said...

What a great accomplishment! I may actually try this someday as it seems like a pretty amazing thing. Utah's own 'Little Everest'. Good job!

wendy said...

Oh my gosh...what an amazing, wonderful accomplishment. I loved every single one of those photos. how BEAUTIFUL!!!
That is one LOOOONG hike for sure, but every moment is breathtaking, you must be so very proud of this accomplishment.
and the views...........holy WOW
I think I must have missed out on a great opportunity to hike that when I lived in Utah...shame on me.
I think when you (me) are out in nature, I feel closest to my Savior and am very aware of my blessings and just the "wonder" of everything.
anyway....I think you deserve a great big BoooYAH....good for you.

mCat said...

So SO proud of you! I find that hiking that mountain is a Spiritual experience every single time. SO glad you could do it, have those special moments and remember it forever! Good on ya girl!

Gerb said...

What an awesome story - and amazing experience!

The Kooky Queen--Rachel said...

I have been MIA but I loooooove catching up on your blog! And WOOHOO! You rock! That is something I totally want to do but I'm a little scared to do! GREAT JOB!!!!!