Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Dirt and Bugs

Those of you that know me well have a good idea about my feelings toward the outdoors. I like to look at nature but generally have NO desire to actually be in nature...

Well surprise surprise....

This Sunday marked a big step for me. Hundreds of steps actually. I went for a hike. That's right, you read that correctly. a hike... the first "real" hike in about 14 years. Not just any hike but a 10 mile round trip hike on Mt. Timpanogos. Being the good friend that I am I agreed to hike the Timp Summit with Eric this past weekend. Now... Let me preface this... Yes, I am out of shape (round is a shape..right?). Yes, I HATE hiking. Yes, I would rather sleep in on a Sunday morning than wake up at 6am. But... after a couple of people (Chris and Mariah) told me it was a "pretty easy" hike I gave in... Well, C&M, you're fired! Had I actually thought about it I would have used a bit of logic and my brain would have reminded me they are in much better shape than I can even pretend to be... Mistake Number One...

Anyway, We started up the Timpooneke Trail at 9am...Hair done, Mascara on, and a smile on my face I was determined to have a good time....

What was I thinking? A good time... hiking... up a 4500 foot incline... hhmmm BRAIN FART!
Knowing it was going to hurt in the beginning I kept smiling (that doesn't mean I didn't complain). To escape my personel HELL I needed to get my feet underneath me and my legs warmed up and ready to go. After the first mile I thought "great only 8.2 more to go!" (that is just to get to the top folks).

It soon became obvious this "pretty easy" hike was going to be a test of will. Eric was great and let me set the pace. A slow and steady pace that included a lot of picture taking (my excuse to stop- Thanks Eric!), a drink of water and conversations with other hikers from time to time.
I kept focusing on the beauty around us and the fact that I was getting come much needed exercise. But that only works for so long. After about 3 miles we came across the first of a couple rock slides. Now this wasn't just a small little patch of rocks... this was a mile of walking across 4-5 inch rocks slipping under foot, causing rolled ankles and a feeling of running in sand.
Here is where it gets fun... Oh wait.. fun may not be the correct word. In the middle of the mile long rock walk from hell I stopped, chin quivering, and cried. Yes that's right... I cried in the middle of one of the most beautiful settings I have ever been. It wsan't the beauty that had the tears rolling down my cheeks, but the muscles that felt like they were on fire, the lungs that just couldn't suck in enough oxygen and the pride that was seriously bruised. Here is where I need to give huge props to Eric... Thank you, thank you for letting me cry and telling me it was going to be ok. Thank you for the engourgement and the kick in the ass to make it to the end of the rock slide.

Once we were thru the rock slide we decided to reevaluate where we were going and how we were going to get there. Over turkey sandwiches, applesauce, and a few more tears of frustration on my part we decided to carry on just a bit further and finish the uphill battle halfway to the summit.

This is a picture from just below our stopping point, the red arrow in the middle shows the parking lot we wanted so desperately to get back to.Finally after 5 hours of a steady incline, a deer, a snake, a few chipmunks, and many bugs later, we started back down. Now you would think down would be better and it was to some degree, but 2 hours of jarring knees, rolling ankles and the burning of a different set of muscles just added to the already sore body. We finally made it back to the car about 4pm and I have to say... I have very seldom been so happy to see a parking lot in all my life.

I know.. it sounds like I hated every minute of it. I didn't, the day was beautiful, the scenery was amazing, the company was great and I was able to take some beautiful pictures. We will attempt the hike to the summit again, May 31, 2009 to be exact. Between now and then there will be many smaller hikes, a lot of conditioning and the knowledge that a "pretty easy" hike to some means the need for much better preparation on my part...

Here are a few more pictures from the hike as well as Bridal Veil Falls and Squaw Peak (a couple of additional stops on the way home). Enjoy!


4 comments:

The Burt Family said...

I'm jealous and proud. I want in on the May 2009 hike. Keep me posted.

Chris McAfee said...

Sis,
I do apologize for painting a rosy picture of how easy Timp is to conquer. I think the beauty of the trail stays in the brain longer than the memories of the pain. Let me clarify for everyone: climbing mountains is not easy. full stop. When compared to other peaks in the area, the Timpooneke trail up Timp is RELATIVLEY easy. At least, as easy as a 15 mile round trip gaining almost 4500 feet in elevation can be.
So again, I am sorry, but look at it more as a kind of complex motivation to get you to go in the first place. You should thank me.
Chris

walkerfamily said...

That's the funniest hiking story ever! If it makes you feel better I really enjoyed your pix. Those lessons are really paying off. Send me all the new stuff you've learned. Love Cuz B.

shuggy said...

that is a great story. you're a better woman than me, that's for sure!