Friday, August 7, 2015

Mount Olympus

The first of August Brandon and I decided to tackle Mount Olympus here in Utah.

We prepped ourselves with cold water and snacks. We woke up at 6:30 (on a Saturday!) and got ready and headed to the trailhead. I'd looked up the trailhead location a few days before and knew generally where it was, but we chose to follow Google Map on Brandon's phone that morning and it took us on a ten minute detour down someone's driveway.

Finally at the trailhead, we grabbed our packs and hit the trail. That initial portion of the trail is extremely steep and gave a fair amount of respect for what the rest of the trail might be like. However, very quickly we were traversing along the side of the mountain headed North. We followed two guys for a bit, and then they drew on ahead of us. As we reached a fork in the trail, Brandon checked the trail path on his phone and discovered that we were not on the trail up Olympus. Right on time, the two guys who we'd been following turned around and asked us if we knew where the trail was. We didn't really, as this was our first time, but we all headed in the general direction of the correct trail, traversing Southeast up the mountain. The initial traverse was pretty easy, but when we were finally close to the proper trail, there was a thicket of scratchy bushes between us and the supposed trail. Brandon and I opted to bushwhack our way up (not the most environmentally friendly choice, though we were careful to try and stay on the rocks), and after a few less than enjoyable minutes (I fell once and scrapped my forearm), we were finally on the trail, half a mile and twenty minutes later.

Surprisingly, we found that portion of the real trail fairly easy compared to what we'd been doing (bushwhacking), and we moved quickly for the first mile or so of that proper trail. However, after the first mile, the incline increased quite a bit and we were forced to slow down and proceed more slowly. That incline remained through most of the rest of the way up, though fortunately, much of it was in a beautiful wooded area that kept the sun off our faces and the temperature down.

Out of the woods we had but one section left - a much stepper space that involved more bouldering (climbing with your hands and feet but still on a fairly good incline (not falling off)). And unsurprisingly, that was my favorite part! I unintentionally kicked up the pace again and scrambled my way up. Bouldering is such fun! It still struck us as odd that the top of the mountain was essentially a large pile of giant rocks.

We arrived just in time to witness a marriage proposal from two fellow hikers, and then enjoyed a small lunch (lunchables!). We took some pictures, enjoyed the view, and then headed back down. Just as we were readying ourselves to head down, I slipped and hit right hand on a pointy rock, ripping a little chunk of skin out. It looked worse than it was, but it definitely made climbing down that initial decent a little more challenging. But we did it without any problems!

The rest of the hike down was much more pleasant than the hike up. Once we got past the steeper portion of the climb, we were able to jog down for about a mile. It was interesting, as usually jogging/running drains you cardiovascularly. However, as gravity was chiefly on our side, aiding us in our decent, neither of us were winded, but we were rather feeling the running in our legs. Brandon's shoes were not supportive enough to run in, so we stopped after that mile so his arches could recover.

And before we knew it, we were done!

For future reference, it is a hard trail. If you approach it as a newbie, either talk to someone about the trail, take a GPS map, or go with someone who has done it, as the first real turn off up the trail is very poorly marked.

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