Monday, March 28, 2011

Hiking Timpanogos at 60+. Are you kidding me?

Photos courtesy of my Canon

Late in the summer of 2010, I joined a group of young men from our local church on a hike of Mt. Timpanogos (often referred to as simply "Timp") in Utah.  Here are some stats about the hike (taken fromLocal Hikes):
- 12.4 miles round trip
- Elevation gain of 4652 ft.
- Typically takes about 7.5 hours to complete
It is an absolutely beautiful hike.  The route we took put us through both lush green forestland as well as rocky terrain.  Watching the way that the landscape changes is fascinating.  About 3/4s of your way up, there is a small lake called "Emerald Lake", which is mostly created by the melt-off from Timp (more images below).

It can be a pretty grueling hike, and I made the mistake of doing the hike without ever really training for it.  For our young men, they were fine.  They were young, resilient and had way more energy than we did.  I re-aggravated a right hamstring injury and wasn't able to make it to the top of the summit (I'm planning on doing it again within the next year or to best the beast).  Despite not being able to make it to the top, I was blown away with the beauty and the shear "awesomeness" of the hike. 

On our way down the mountain, my leg was feeling much better and so my pace picked up quite a bit.  A young man I was with and I passed a few groups and a few single hikers on our way down.  One of the single hikers we passed was an older woman.  I stopped to talk to her for a bit and had an eye opening experience.  In our conversation, I found out that she had grown up in the area and had hiked Timp nearly every year since she was younger.  I can't remember the exact age, but if I recall correctly, she had been in her late teens.  She said that she fell in love with the trail and made it a point to do it every year.  She was in her late 60s, early 70s. I asked her if she had come with anyone else, and she simply said, "Oh no, just me."

I was blown away.  Here I was, in my mid 20s in awe at the physical ability of a 60+ year old woman.  She had completed this hike probably 40+ times and continued to do it, alone, into the later years of her life.  To me, that is an amazing physical feat.  I shared my admiration with her, we said our good byes and I went on my way.  Little does she know that I still think back on that experience and despite not knowing anything else about her, I consider her a sort of role model.
Part of the Group

Emerald Lake

Note to self: Taking pictures of wildlife with a fixed lens may not be the best idea.  I got a little too close for my comfort.

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