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At 11,749 ft, Timpanogos is the highest peak I’ve ever summited. In the interest of full disclosure, it’s the only peak I’ve ever summited. I love to hike but I’m no mountaineer. Everest is not on my bucket list. Timpanogos was however on our bucket list for living in Utah. We’ve experienced many amazing national parks since living here, including: Arches, Zion, Yellowstone (not in Utah but so close we had to do it!), and Bryce,  all of which we have loved. Hiking to the top of Mount Timpanogos was the last “must do” on our list. It’s only a one day hike, but it has proven the hardest item to cross off our list. While all the others involved 4-5 day camping trips, which requires significantly more planning and work than a one day hike, those were all trips we could bring the kids on. But the Timp hike is 15 miles round trip with 4,389 feet of elevation gain. Here is a picture of it from our house:

Did I mention our closest relatives are a 9 hour drive away? Two weeks ago we had somehow conned our neighbors into agreeing to watch the kids for a day so we could finally complete this goal. However, I came down with the flu. It was a miracle it was open this late in the season to begin with. We resigned ourselves to waiting another entire year (and hoping that we would still be in Utah!).

UNTIL….You remember Jenny? She’s been mentioned once or twice in my blog before. Jenny did it last year and mentioned to me that we really should get the hike in this year. Then she volunteered to take our kids for not just the day of the hike, but the night before and the night after too!! Please notice the word ‘volunteered.’ She was not asked, bribed, or coerced into doing this. I may not always be the sharpest tool in the shed, but one thing I’ve learned since becoming a parent is that when someone offers to take your kids for you, you take them up on it! I surprised Andy with the news on his birthday.

This is how we found ourselves out of bed by 3:30 Saturday morning and on the trail by 5:15AM. The first two hours were in total darkness, except for our headlamps as we tore our way up the lower part of the trail. Once the sun rose, we were able to take pictures and I think the majority of the experience is best illustrated with photos.

Andy at sunrise. My focusing skills seem to be lacking when I get out of bed at 3:30!

Wildflowers were still abundant along the trail.

I must have had ‘summit fever’ as the peak of Timpanogos is much more clear than Andy here!

Timpanogos Basin. At this point we’re thinking “Wow, I can’t believe we’re this close already!” Um…Yes…Less oxygen and steeper climbs were about to slow our pace way down.

Mountain Goats!!! Aside from summiting, what I wanted most on this hike was to see Mountain Goats. Success!!

We put the camera away for the steepest part of the climbs. Didn’t want to fall off a cliff over something stupid like a photo. The views would still be there when we got to the top!

On the summit!!

You can see a little better here how sheer the sides are!

Looking down over Heber Valley and Emerald Lake (far bottom, center)We sign the hut!

Awww…Do I have the bestest husband ever or what?!

Starting our descent.

I love this photo! You can see the summer wildflowers in the front, lingering winter ice in the middle, and fall colors on the mountains in the background.

We met this awesome, crusty, old guy eating berries and he informed us they were wild red currants and perfectly in season. They were delicious!!

This might be my favorite picture from the whole trip. Can you see me?

It could not have been a more perfect day! The weather was gorgeous, I had the best company possible for the trip, and we were finally able to complete our “rite of passage” for living in Utah. 🙂 Unfortunately we did not get any photos of the bush-whacking we had to do on our way down when we somehow lost the trail and wound up in some very dense shrubs and trees….but it was awesome.  I started to have visions of getting fantastically lost and writing a blog about how we only survived our harrowing experience thanks to our Bear Grylls survival kit. But we did manage to find our way back to the trail and carried our then VERY weary bodies the rest of the way down the mountain.

As we drove out of the canyon we bantered ideas for dinner, all of which were exceedingly high calorie. We felt entitled. What about this? or this? or this? I asked Andy, to which he finally replied “Sweetheart, the world is your saturated-fat-laden-oyster. Go nuts.” Whether it was the exhaustion from the hike or a food coma that came over us, we were in bed by 8:26 and slept blissfully for the next 11 hours! As amazing as everything was, I have to admit something to you. Possibly the best thing ever was the way Trinity and Lilly RAN to us with shrieks and giggles and hugs Sunday morning when we met up with them at church. I’ll have a mental photo of that forever. 🙂