Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Monarch of the Wasatch

Yep, that's Lone Peak. It may not be the tallest mountain (around 100 feet shorter than the Twins and the Pfeifferhorn at 11,253') but it's one of the most scenic. Often referred to as the "monarch" of the range, Lone Peak divides the Salt Lake valley to the north from the Utah valley to the south. From the top, both valleys are clearly visible. Seemed like a good mountain to finish up my Wasatch hiking experience on.

I ran into yet another group of 5 BYU students this week. As typical, they were very pleasant and I enjoyed hiking with them. In slightly more surprising news, the sun rose in the east and set in the west that day. A couple of them probably didn't bring quite enough water so I ended sharing some of mine. Stop me if you've heard this before.

The trail starts out with a section that doubles as a mountain bike trail. It's enough to make you despair that the entire hike is going to be an absolute joke. After that, the trail gets really steep for about an hour and a half. To be honest, that part was really really unpleasant. After passing through a brief meadow, we hiked into a glacial cirque near the summit. To get to the summit, we had to climb up the side of the cirque and around the horseshoe-shaped ridgeline and scramble up to the top.

And oh what a scramble it was! Definitely a tough Class III at points with fairly extreme exposure. You basically climb up, over, and down house-sized boulders for a few hundred feet. The summit itself consists of like 3 rocks, so trying to fit 10 people up there at a time was a wee bit challenging. We spent probably close to an hour up there, chatting, eating and taking pictures designed to give our mothers a heart attack.

This weeks Utterly Impractical Hiking Item of the Week award goes to... me! That's right, I was an Epsilon-Minus Semi-Moron and decided that wearing new hiking shoes on an 11-hour hike would be a great idea without breaking them in first. My feet decided otherwise right around the time I started downhill. Granted, there wasn't much I could do about it (my old pair died a sad and painful death on Timp the week before), but it was still an ambitious hike on new shoes. I think I may or may not have jacked up a tendon in my big toe as a result of those shoes (it's hurt all this week especially when I bend it).

Still, I'm glad I did it this week to give them a test run before I head out on my grand adventure on the way home to Michigan. I plan to stop in the Uintas, Yellowstone, the Tetons, possibly Rushmore, and NW Iowa on my way home. I've been ponying up cash for backpacking equipment over the course of the summer. Now all I need of the essentials is a tent and I'm good to go. Programming note: probably won't update this blog until the end of August again, but when I do, it will hopefully be a big update. Shoutout this week to the grandparents (Start and DeVries). :)

By the way, if you'd like the original of any of these photos, just let me know and I'd be happy to provide. Just no using them for commercial purposes.