Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Midnight Hike and a Morning Sunrise

We had plans to be back in the Provo/Orem area by the middle of the week for a meeting Brandon had. Our original plans with Mount Timpanogos was to climb in with Zach on Friday morning early, say leaving at 5:00 a.m. That go bumped to Saturday morning and Zach came down on Friday to spend the night before we headed out the next morning. We went to the grocery store and got supplies (drinks and snacks) to assist us on the long hike. As we were hanging around in the kitchen around 10:00 p.m. we were bothering Grant about how he needed to come with us. He reasoned that he hadn't been hiking in forever and wasn't in the proper shape for the hike, but his main reason for not wanting to go was mostly that he hated getting up in the morning. If we just left at midnight, he postulated, he might be interested. As we were all there, Brandon, me, and Zach shared a look and one of said, "We can do that." And thus we roped Grant into coming along with us.

A few of us took an hour's nap about then to try and get some rest before going out. It wasn't terribly restful. I think we were all ready for bed rather than ready to hike, but around midnight we got up, gathered our stuff, and jumped into Zach's car to head up the mountain to Aspen Grove.

Once there we got out and I took off the sweatpants I was wearing over my leggings, since we all assumed we were going to be hot climbing. And to some extent, at first, we were. Zach, Brandon, and Grant all took their jackets off at some point as we climbed.

For the record, I absolutely recommend starting this hike at midnight on a clear night when the moon is shining. The stars were beautiful! And, because it was a Friday night, there were dozens of hikers in front of us and we could see their little lights all the way up the mountain. We played leap frog with some other groups of hikers as we rested and then they rested. In the dark the climb was long and we couldn't really appreciate the splendor around us aside form the gorgeous view of the sky.

At some point in the hike, it started to get cold. It had worn long enough into the night that the residual heat from the day was wearing off and on top of that we were swiftly gaining altitude. Jackets were back on and we were still freezing. I longed for the sweatpants that I'd left in the car. We still rested regularly, but never for very long because the only thing really keeping us warm was our movement onward. We also quit using our flashlights because at some point we realized that the moon was bright enough that it provided more than enough light once our eyes adjusted.

I think it took about six and a half hours for us to reach the saddleback just below Mount Timp. That last hour the light had began to appear, though the sun was still well below the horizon. We reached that point and were all more than happy to enjoy the sunrise from there, too cold and tired to be even remotely interested in climbing all the way to the top of the mountain.

The sunrise was worth it. Beautiful light in the sky over the mountains and then the beautiful warmth of the heat of the sun once it was past the mountains. We'd all been shivering up to that point, but the sun started to heat our bodies and ease the shivers out.

When we finally headed back down I was practically giddy. Not only was I no longer freezing, but I could see where we were going! And the view of the landscape was incredible! Hopping across the shale was way more fun than stumbling through it in the dark.

I think it took us about...six (?) hours to reach the bottom of the mountain...We finally got a bit more use out of our water and the warmth finally persuaded me to take my hoodie off. Finally down we crashed in out seats in the car and then in our beds once we were back to the house, completely exhausted. But, at least in my case, with a slowly creeping enthusiasm to do it again.

First light of dawn...

The sun!

Together on top of the world.

Friends and hikers!

Prepping to plank.

The group! (plus some)

Me and Brandon. :)

It was an incredible hike. I look forward to doing it again. But, if I do the midnight hike, which I'd like to do (cool was better than hot), I'll have to remember to get more sleep the day of, bring a little less water (you don't need as much during the night), leave a little earlier (midnight is about right) to reach the top, and wear/bring a heck of a lot more clothing. :)

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