08 September 2009

Hiking Mount Timpanogos in the Dark

In an effort to be more spontaneous, without compromising my integrity or waistline, I accepted an invitation from a new friend on Sunday to climb Mount Timpanogos at two in the morning. (The invitation came a few hours earlier, but the actual act transpired just after 2:00am.) Having never done the hike, or heard much about it, I did not know what was to happen in the proceeding nine hours. Nor did I understand the savage temperment required to make the summit, or the loss of limb required by the Timpanogos gods and their terrible gusts and freezing temperatures. In the event that you were asleep at 2:00 on Monday morning and were unaware, I will attest the sun had set and the moon had risen. My party of 13 began with resplendent merriment but quickly dwindled in number as the velociraptors and vengeful Oklahoma fans came out around 3:30am seeking meat, and (at least in the case of the OU fans), corn-on-the-cob. After two hours of dark hiking we were down to a solid nine persons, three ears of corn, and sixteen pieces of raw velicoraptor jerky. Two hours later, at the onslaught of the final ascent, there was only a single unit left- me and my new friend. I'm not sure what became of the other seven individuals, but my guess would be destruction by locusts or assasination by burrs. At that point the delerium was getting nauseating, and I constantly had to ask strangers if I was hiking alone in order to determine if my friend was imaginary or by my side. Turns out, he was imaginary. The final thirty minutes of the hike can be described this way: Teetering unsteadily on the edge of a tallous slope with a 25 degree temperature on my exposed square centimeter of skin and winds strong enough to destroy a North Korean nuke. My friend described it as 'Hellacious.' Other words that come to mind are 'exhausting, miserable, DMV, death by mountain goat, and blustery.' We got to the apex by 6:30am, and waited around for half of an hour before the sun's rays brightly beamed the Father's mercy. My acquaintance and I, our friendship now 10 hours deep, huddled like Hawai'ians in an igloo, and solicited as much body warmth as we could. The only one who would accept our offer was Billy, the mountain goat we befriended with Velociraptor jerky. He was a bit more pokey and heavy than we were hoping for, but we couldn't feel our legs anyway so we hardly noticed. On our descent we found revitilazation through a small tablet some hikers gave us called "Vicadin." Four and a half hours up and four hours down. 16 miles. It was one Heck of a hike. Next time, I'm bringing my Sherpa, Pad-Til.


Lyndsi Shae* said...

Dave I hiked that beast once, also without knowing its level of DMV misery. I didn't know anything about that whole less-oxygen-up-top thing on account of I'm usually a sea-level woman. So I thought I was dying when I couldn't go more than 20 feet near the summit without stopping to breathe.The sun set before we were down and we had only one cell phone light to get us back. This means lots of praying and losing the trail. What I'm trying to say is: I know what you mean. This is the ultimate bonding experience. Thanks for not compromising your waistline.

Emily said...

Congrats on finishing the hike, Dave! That's quite an accomplishment.