yes. you heard that right.
alternate titles to this post include, but are not limited to:
The Time I Almost Made it on the 5:00 News
A Big Fat Piece of Humble Pie
How to Feel Like an Idiot
9-1-1, What is Your Emergency
Anyone Have a Map?
The Longest Post Ever, in the History of Blogging
and so on and so forth.
the mountain that bested me, with tiny people on top
It was a beautiful day.
Perfect--blue skies and white swirly clouds, no chance of rain.
She sat way up there, Lone Peak, peering down at us from the beginning.
Melanie and I started with smiles on our faces and a bounce in our step.
Up up up, the trail--steep from the start.
We quickly made our way up the mountain, every now and then checking our view of the shrinking valley below. The sun rose higher and higher in the sky, and we continued to climb.
We knew exactly where we were going--the trail was clearly marked all the way until we got to The Meadow.
Up up up, legs on fire. Climbing and burning, up we went.
We reached The Meadow and the trail flattened out (what a relief for our legs!) and we saw her massive rocky top looming in the distance.
Now, to get through the meadow.......there are several different ways to do this.
I had read over several different trip reports from other hikers and felt like I had a pretty sure idea of where we were going. Through trees, over rocks, around twists and turns we found ourselves with a few other hikers in a massive boulder field. Climbing up and over the giant rocks--jumping from one to the next.
This went on.....
.....and on and on and on.....
and at last we arrived right below her......Lone Peak.
She shot straight up out of the earth--sheer rock--we felt tiny, and wondered if we would ever reach the top. She seemed so far away.
Through The Cirque, we made our way to the ridge that would eventually take us up to her top.
We climbed and climbed and (stopped to catch our breath) climbed some more--our path getting rockier the closer we got to the top.
The dirt and trail soon disappeared and we found ourselves climbing rock over rock, wiggling our way around boulders, scrambling up....
And then we stood, silent, taking it in. But it was IMPOSSIBLE to take it all in--every direction--an amazing view, accompanied with an equally amazing feeling.
We sat. Snacked. It's not every day you get to eat a snack on top of the world.....so we took full advantage.
We visited with some other hikers and found out that we had taken "The Long Way" up, and listened to their instructions on how to get back through the meadow and return to the main trail with a faster and easier route.
**********PART 2 (in case you need a bathroom break)**********
We set off down the mountain--high on adrenaline (and perhaps a slight lack of oxygen).
Down down down we went. Over and under the boulders and rocks.
Back towards the meadow we needed to get through.
We followed the rock stacks marking our way, down slabs of granite, our legs happy to be done climbing.......
Where did the trail markers go? We hadn't seen a cairn, in a while, and there was no definite trail among all the rock.
We continued on. We knew the direction we needed to be headed, and figured we'd see the little rock stacks soon, if not the official trail itself.
Down down down some more, still no trail, and still no concern......only a hope of finding the trail soon, so we could continue with our plans to run it down the mountain.
We began to move out of all the rock and into a lot of scrub oak.
Scrub Oak is your worst nightmare, that's all you need to know about it.
From a distance it seems like it's an easy way to get from point A to point B, "harmless tiny bushes" you think.
When you're in it, it's up to your waist and ripping your legs apart.
I do not recommend spending too much time in it.
Oak, oak, and more oak.
We finally found an escape from the oak (briefly) and slid our way down some polished slippery rock that was surely a beautiful waterfall in the spring and early summer months.
ha! This is when I realized it was all a bit ridiculous--here we were two regular old mothers out for a day hike/run and now we are sliding down some slick rock trying to find a trail.
When this got too steep we had to head back into the thick scrub oak--which by now our legs were numb so it didn't really matter........
.....except that from here on out we had to go through several deep gullies, climbing in and out and back up again.
Meanwhile, mind you, still heading in the right general direction of where the trail "should be" so still never concerned or feeling totally "lost".
At least that's what I told myself so I didn't have to admit it, and say that terrible word.....
More than anything it was just frustrating......and annoying......and........more trail blazing through evil bushes than we wanted to be doing at this point.
Our adrenaline was wearing off and we just continued west, knowing the trail had to be somewhere and that we would eventually see another hiker......right?
We were marching through a giant section of oak, looking for any kind of sign of human life, when we heard a voice.
Heard it again. Right above us.
We RAN up the mountain, our legs numb to the scraping and clawing of the devil bushes beneath. We found a man and his dog lying in the shade of one lone tree.
"Is this the trail" we were already celebrating.
"No. We're lost"
My heart sank.
He and his 14 year old son were also lost. They had ran out of water and had decided to stay in the shade. They had already been in contact with Search and Rescue and were waiting to hear back.
no no no no.....I don't do search and rescue.....I mean.....
We weren't lost......we just "didn't exactly know how to get where we were going"......but we didn't need to get search and rescue involved.
We shared our water......we were low. Very low. It's funny, I always laugh at being over packed when I hike--we had plenty of food, matches, lights, a knife, electrolytes, extra jacket, first aid, and a way to purify water........oh.....but there was no water.....anywhere. great.
We walked in every direction from the tree where our new lost hiker friends were sitting and there were no trails that led anywhere.
We sat down to figure out our options, and it wasn't until I sat that I realized how exhausted my body was.
We had been going and going and going for a few hours now off the trail, and I was so determined on finding my way that I didn't pay attention to how tired I was. I wanted to go--keep going west until we met back up with our trail--I still knew it was out there.
But it was hot. Our water was almost gone. Our brains were tired.
Search and Rescue called back. Our new lost friends notified them that there were now two more lost hikers.......oh dear, that's us.
I called Robby.
Married to the guy for 10 years and I can't tell you how embarrassed I was to tell him about our......uh.....situation.
"How do you get lost?",
was quite literally the first thing out of his mouth.
"I know??!!! Who get's lost??!! I don't know!!!"
(my husband is obviously not one to worry)
He had me give him my GPS coordinates and he was going to help find our way back to the trail......
And then......all at once.....
Search and Rescue was on the phone again,
"We have a team together, they are ready to head out"
Oh wow, this is happening.
voices. real. live voices.
We look out and coming down towards us is a whole group of hikers--we had seen them earlier in the day and it was so good to see other life on this mountain.
I was so happy to see them....but....
"are you guys lost?" I asked. Why were they here?
"No-this is actually a trail", answered my new bestest friend in the whole wide world, "my dad and I made it years ago"
"THIS IS A TRAIL??!!!"" Melanie and I couldn't believe it--we'd been sitting on a trail this whole time, giving our life history to the good folks at Search and Rescue. But it couldn't be--we explored the area in several directions....
"The trail is really overgrown--no one uses it anymore. You just have to know where you are going".
(the theme of the day, apparently)
WE WERE SAVED!!
Still on the phone with Search and Rescue, we let them know that we had found our knights in shining armor to take us down the remainder of the mountain. Our new friends kindly shared their water and helped our other lost friends get up and going again.
We followed our leader down his secret trail, so happy to be moving in the right direction. We chatted and hiked and let our husbands know we'd be home in no time. We found out that the whole "meadow area" is really hard to navigate if you've never been before. There are several trails that lead the right way, and several trails that lead nowhere.......we obviously chose the latter.
About a mile from the trailhead, we were greeted by two Search and Rescue officers with giant packs full of water and gatorade. They explained to us that even though we were on our way down--they knew we were out of water and wanted to bring it to us. I was so overwhelmed with how kind they were as they handed out drinks to our entire group.
After apologizing a thousand times for being so irresponsible, I accepted their water, and drank it all in one gulp. They hiked back down with our (now large) group talking about different rescues they've done (including one just the night before on the same mountain). We made it to the parking lot where they had another cooler of cold drinks waiting. We said goodbye to the officers and thanked them (and apologized again...I was still so embarrassed). We said our goodbyes and thankyou thankyou thankyou to the hikers who had shown us their imaginary trail. And goodbye to our other "lost" friends and wished them a speedy recovery.
After all was said and done, it really was such an amazing day.
Yes it took just a bit (ok several hours) longer than expected.
Yes my legs were shredded by the end.
Yes it was a little bit nerve wracking as we sat under a tree with little water and little idea of what to do next.
I summited an awesome mountain.
I was reminded that people are good. and kind. and want to help.
I learned that prayers are always answered. Maybe not right at the very moment you want them to be--maybe you have to wander around for a few hours......but they are answered.
I learned that it's a pretty awesome feeling when a miracle happens to you.
You can call it a coincidence....blah blah blah......I call it a miracle.
Miracle 1: the fact that the other lost hikers chose to stop right ON the secret hidden trail.
Miracle 2: the fact that he happened to be talking as we were walking below. We were pretty far down the mountain from him--we never would have seen him, and he never would have seen us.....but it all worked out.
Miracle 3: the fact that we actually stopped to rest in that spot as well. I am not one to wait around, and we could have easily continued on.....but we felt like we should stop.
Miracle 4: the fact that this amazing group of hikers chose to go down a "secret" trail. They hadn't hiked up this way--they chose to use it to go down. RIGHT PAST US.
Really a great day.
And of course after I make you read my long winded ramble, I do have a few pictures to share
(from the hike up.....I wasn't exactly in a picture taking mood coming down.......)
***if you haven't learned this from the moral of the story, I highly recommend hiking this with someone who has been up here before. (haha, not me). I was pretty confident in my abilities and sense of direction, and I guess it just didn't work out this time.(fail) Had we had more water, I know we would have got back to the trail eventually, but it still wasn't a fun process trying to find it, and I really don't think you'd like all the wandering either.***
trailhead: There are several different trails to get you up on Lone Peak, we hiked the most popular, Jacobs Ladder, in Draper.
distance: It's an 11-12 mile hike for normal people (we got in around 15)
elevation: Lone Peak tops out at 11,253 ft, and you gain about 5700 as you climb. (yeah....it's steep)
good to know: there is some pretty crazy scrambling near the top. It doesn't last long, but it's the only way up. The mountain top is basically a big pile of boulders, and you have to make your way over and around them to get up. Probably not the best hike for anyone afraid of heights.
lesson learned: I had way more water than I thought I would ever need.....and it still wasn't enough. If you are headed in to unfamiliar territory plan on being lost for hours in the hot sun, and try to bring enough water to accommodate for that.
I will be back Lone Peak, I promise. We are not done yet.
Have you even been lost? Did you feel like an idiot too?
Please (please!) share.
*all photos taken with my iphone and edited with VSCO cam