Sunday, September 22, 2013

Timp A Second Time

Starting Friday night around 12:40, we hiked all the way up to the summit of Mount Timponogos in time for sunrise and were back at the trailhead around 11:30. Brandon and I did this hike about a year ago with Zach and Grant but this year was definitely a little different.

Beginning the hike down. 

Last year when we hiked Timp, we came at it from the Aspen Grove trailhead. From Aspen Grove, the trail zig zags steeply up the southern side of the mountain, across the meadow, past Emerald Lake, across the shale spread, up a steep incline to the saddle, and then finally combines to go up the rest of the way. Due to a very slow pace, we barely made it to the saddle in time for sunrise, much less to the top. Even so, we were freezing at the saddle until the sun came up! Miserably cold. But the hike itself wasn't bad.

This year we attacked the mountain from the Timpooneke trailhead. We gathered at a local grocery store at 11:15, setting out at 11:30 and reaching the trailhead at around 12:30 or a little earlier. We paid for our parking, met up with another group member (making our group 12 people), and waited about ten more minutes for a few others we thought were coming. We waited about ten more minutes and then started up the trail. However, immediately after starting up the trail, there was a question of whether to go left or right and someone behind us told us to go left. So we did. After about five minutes of walking somehow we determined that we'd gone the wrong way and went back, finally taking the original right fork. So our actual start time was closer to 12:50.

(We found out later that the friend we'd been waiting for did show up late around 1:00 but passed us somewhere on the trail, summiting around 4:00 and landing back at the trailhead around 8:30 - amazing! We only wished we'd found each other on the trail so we could have hiked together)

The trail up was good. Much more gradual than the Aspen Grove trail. The sky was illuminated by the light of the full moon and we rarely needed our headlamps to guide us. At a steady pace with a few breaks, we reached the saddle around 4:30, much faster than I'd anticipated we'd do it, based on how long it had taken us the year before. Most of the group stopped there to rest and recover but Roman, Brandon, and I headed up to brave the last little bit of the mountain. Good heavens, the wind was terrible. At the saddle the wind was very strong, but it was easy to get behind ledges that helped to buffer you from the wind. Hiking up that last hour or so of Timp, the wind all but whipped you off the mountain. Never mind that we were already freezing, the addition on the wind just stole away all the warmth that we might have had left. We struggle up that last bit (actually a really cool part of the trail) and finally reached the little hut at the top filled with other people trying to cuddle to stay warm. In retrospect, if we'd just gone on the other side of the hut and camped on a ledge below it (on the opposite side from where the wind was coming), we'd probably have been much warmer. The hut, while a buffer from most of the wind, still leaked in cold and the cramped corners made it difficult to really get close to one another enough to lend each other heat. In other words, we could mostly sit side by side, but that wasn't enough to really warm each other.

At the top!

Resting at the saddle!

I have rarely been as cold as I was up at that hut. It was literally freezing, but without the moisture that usually accompanies it.  We shivered our way through the unexpected hour until sunrise. As with the previous time, once the sun had peaked over the mountains, the cold slowly began to dissipate. However, as we were still extremely high on the mountain, even with the warm sun on us, it wasn't until we were back at the saddle that I slowly began to feel all my fingers and toes again. A nice break at the saddle and then we headed back, uneventfully, to the trailhead.

There and back again!

Aside from a singular shin splint in my left shin, there were no lasting effects from the hike. However, I think I've effectively cooled my fervor and desire to climb Timp. Apparently this is the week for doing things I never need to do again (or at least not for a long while). Being up on top of the mountain is incredible. An incredible view and a pretty neat hike. However, having now done both trails and experiences some of the coldest mornings, regardless of the preparations made the second time, I think I'll pass on this the next time.

After a little break in the afternoon (small nap included), we headed down to Provo to see EviDance, the compilation dance performance from most of BYUs dance groups. I've been to a great number of dance performances and this was still one of my favorites. In the past there have usually been one or two dances that I wasn't overly taken with, the costumes have been somewhat lacking (or terrible in design), or the music hasn't been particularly inspiring. With the exception of one classical ballet number that, while well done, just wasn't very interesting, I thoroughly enjoyed the entire performance. Between the nostalgia of interacting with the dance groups here at BYU and the exhaustion from a serious lack of sleep, I was more moved by the performances than usual. One of my favorites was the last folk dance number where they showcased the five prominent types of percussion all at once, those being clogging, tap, Irish hardshoe, Welsh clogging, and French Canadian. It was really cool to see the different styles all together.

Afterward I got to say hello to my old dance director and a few old teammates before Brandon and I grabbed ice cream with a good friend from home (Thomas) and one of his friends. It's always fun to catch up. We did say goodbye a little early as the waves of exhaustion started to hit.

A fantastic 24 hours or so of interesting things.

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