what a wonderful world

As the picture says, I was at that point right thurr. True story.
And let me tell you a little of my experience hiking the good 'ole mountain we Utahns call Timpanogos.....

It all started when last Sunday I invited good friend Nick to come meet my roommates and hang out at my apartment. We chilled and made paper cranes and on a whim, Lauren, Nick and I decided to hike the 11,749 foot mountain that coming weekend since that's what college students do, right? Anywho, we didn't chicken out of our plan and come Friday night at 10 pm, 9 of us met and prepared to conquer the beast. Our plan was to leave and hike during the night so that we might reach the summit to ogle at the sunrise.

We started the hike out strong and had a good pace going. Flashlights were bobbing in a single file line and every one was excited. Every so often we took breaks and drank water and feasted on granola and told stories and took pictures. But eventually, we lost two of our party. One boy bit off more than he could chew and had to descend back down the mountain about 2 hours into the lengthy hike. And because he couldn't go alone, his roommate volunteered to abandon ship and wait down at the bottom with him. How sweet. So we were down to 7.

But the story doesn't end there, my friends. Two more of our party decided to go up ahead without us. I wasn't for it; I knew all the potential bad things that could happen from splitting up the group and trying to take shortcuts. But would they listen to me? No sir. So we were now down to 5 smart people. Then whaddya know? Our friends had lost the trail in the dark, gotten lost and were stuck on a steep sliding rock wall when we came upon them. People finally got the message that sticking was together the best idea....kind of.

So we continued on our adventure and you know what? I was still feeling fine! Adrenaline was pumping and I was sooo stoked to get to the summit and see the breathtaking view I had heard so much about. However, our whole group was surprised when after climbing a fairly steep path, we took steps onto the saddle of Timpanogos; it was the first complete view of the city we had seen the whole night and it was reaching 5 am. 
Anything after that moment is honestly a blur in my mind. The feeling of unexpectedly coming over that ridge and taking in the night lights of all of Utah Valley was one of the greatest moments of my life. It was the best view I have ever seen, and if anything, it was all worth it for that one moment of surprise.

Photo credit: Lauren Walton

After reaching the saddle, we still had about another hour or so of hard hiking to reach the summit before sunrise. So we pressed on and by that time, my hips were starting to protest and everyone was feeling the pain and fatigue creeping in, not to mention the windy and bitter cold attacking our hands and faces. 

But let me tell you people, reaching the summit of Mt. Timpanogos was one of the most victorious days of my life. As of yet, I have never, ever, ever, done anything that hard in my young 18 years. That tops the cake. But it was so rewarding. The sunrise was unbelievable and just taking in the fact I climbed 16 miles of a freaking mountain was so cool. I did it, y'all. I climbed a freaking mountain.

[sorry for the fact that this post is getting ridiculously and unbearably long, but I have some deep thoughts about all this]

Besides the view and feeling of victory at the top of the mountain, I learned a lot of other things. 

1. After looking back on the hike, I realized our adventure was completely relatable to Lehi's dream of the Tree of Life. I experienced my own iron rod and the importance of clinging to the "Gospel". Without it, we could easily become lost (like our smart friends I mentioned). If we aren't prepared, we might have to turn back and give up. But in the end - through all our struggles - our reward will be so worth it. Heavenly Father knows we can make it; after all, he wouldn't let us do it if he knew it wasn't possible.

2. While descending the mountain, our group dynamics turned for the worst and nobody was happy with each other. We were tired, the sun was up and shining bright, and we wanted OFF the mountain. I myself was murmuring a lot (quite like Laman and Lemuel would have). We were about an hours hike from the bottom and each step was getting harder and harder as my body was screaming at me for sleep and painkillers. But we came upon a group of boys scaling the mountain like we ourselves had started just 12 hours earlier. They couldn't have been more than 16 or 17 years old. The interesting thing about them was that they were carrying a stretcher UP the mountain. It was a stretcher type thing that was rigged so that both people carrying it on either side had a harness around their shoulders. On top of this stretcher was a disabled boy, sitting quietly while the two boys on either end communicated to each other the terrain so that they wouldn't trip and fall. I can't tell you how humbling that was. Tears silently streamed down my dirty face as I watched this going on and realized what they were doing. They were providing the opportunity for this kid to see the top of the mountain because he couldn't do it himself. It definitely put things into perspective for me in a lot of ways. It was hard enough getting myself up the mountain let alone carrying another human adult. I will never forget seeing that and after all is said and done, I will forever be grateful for hiking Timpanogos that weekend.

1 comment:

  1. Nicole, I like you. That post made me happy. Thanks for sharing.