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At over 11,000 feet, Mt. Timpanogos is the second highest peak in the Wasatch Range. It is also the most climbed mountain in Utah. With that many people going up (one man over 500 times), you’d think it’d be a piece of cake. Well, for some people it probably is.

There are two main trails up the mountain. One starts at Aspen Grove (just above Sundance), and is the shortest, though steepest, of the two. The other, the one I know on a nodding basis, starts at the Timpooneke Campground up American Fork Canyon.

The first time I went up the mountain I only got as far as the last meadow. Since that attempt, I’ve wanted to get back and hike to the top before I got any older—or rather before my knees do. My daughter, Ashley, had Wednesday off this past week and at the last minute we decided we’d give it a go.

In the beginning I took lots of pictures, before my batteries ran out (I forgot to charge them and it’s a digital dinosaur). The small waterfalls were spectacular, some shooting out from the face of the mountain above, spraying us as we picked our way over stepping stones, only to turn at the switchback corner, and cross in front of a fall again. Others poured over mossy ledges, creating hallows for fairy tales.

I often remembered various parts of the trail from two years ago. “This is where I asked if we were close and I was told we were about 1/3 the way.” Our group broke up shortly after that. “This is where Barry began to sing us a Cowboy song over the 2-way radio at the top of his lungs. He was loud enough that at least 10 other hikers near us all listened and applauded when he finished.” And finally, “This is as far as I got last time.” It was where the trail from Aspen Grove comes in and joins the Timpooneke Trail in a big beautiful meadow filled to overflowing this year with wildflowers.

The wild flowers on the mountain are astounding right now! There were meadows of red paintbrush, bluebells and lupine, and a white one I don’t know (possibly a lily variety?). Other fields were all pink and yellow. One was simply white above the green. I’ve never seen so many, so thickly. We met a chipmunk, saw a prairie dog scout, but missed the wild mountain goats. The people were much fewer, and mostly my daughter and I hiked alone. And talked. I loved that part best.

However, by the last 2½ miles I had recognized the 25 year difference in mine and Ashley’s ages was definitely to her advantage. She was wearing the slightest of shoes with the thinnest of socks, and never had a problem. I had on clunky hiking boots and padded men’s sports socks. It was a reflection of how I felt.
The ox following the rabbit.

While we were approaching the saddle, I had begun to slow significantly due to my breathing. Then she said to me, “I like those energy chews. I’m feeling great! I feel like running!”

I stood up from my bent over gasping position of hands on knees and said, “It’s okay if you go ahead.”

“Are you sure?”

I caught up with her for awhile because she stopped to visit at the saddle, but after the rock switchbacks she pulled ahead again until I joined her at the summit. I was slowed down additionally by reluctant legs. Every time I came to a mere 3-step accent up rocky “steps,” my legs would say to me, “Again?! You’re kidding, right?”

Now I need to take a second, and just in case you missed it (turn up your volume), “I MADE IT TO THE TOP!!!!” Ofcourse Ashley did too, but that was never in doubt. 

That is my triumph for this year! Other things have also been great, but this is one I’d attempted and not finished before. It felt so good to do something hard, really, really hard, and finish.

Monday, read about the best part of the hike.