Thursday, August 27, 2009

A blessing for pillows

I'm not sure if it is sacrilegious to post this or not...but I thought it was super cute. Andrew gave me and Kate a blessing last night. And when Andrew gave me a blessing, Kate thought it was just a prayer, so she repeated every word that he said as he was giving it. Then when it was her turn, she sat perfectly still with her eyes shut tight. Afterwards, she kept asking him for more. When she didn't get any more, she decided she wanted to give a blessing. She took our three pillows off the couch, one by one, put them in the chair and gave them a blessing. She did this over and over and over. Andrew joked that our pillows should stay in mint condition for years to come. :)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

View from the Saddle

I forgot to post this with my last entry. Oops.

I (almost) made it to the TOP!!

Yikes! What a trip! On Friday, we left Kate with Andrew's mom and sister at his grandparents' cabin and headed to Mt. Timpanogos! Andrew's wanted me to go with him to do this for years now, but my claim at being too out of shape has never changed, so I decided to just go for it. Oh, and have I ever mentioned that I'm afraid of heights? That comes into play later.

The hike up was GORGEOUS!! A total mountain paradise complete with an abundant array of wildflowers, wildlife (luckily we didn't see bears, but we did see cute little wild hamsters!), and waterfalls. Wow. The first two hours up, I was like, "This isn't so bad. This is fun!" Andrew kept warning me not to get too excited, because it's always much longer to the destination than you realize. Very true. It was 6.5 miles up to where we planned to sleep.

In case you can't tell what you're looking at, that is a moose.

On our hike up we were approached by a salesman (who got us to stop by asking us to take his picture) trying to get us into a pyramid scheme of some new miracle juice. Of all places to be solicited!

We were headed to Emerald Lake to camp for the night, then planned to hike to the top of Timp the next morning, then gather our stuff, and head back down again. Well, it ended up being dark (we left late in the afternoon) before we reached the lake. On the way to the lake you have to walk along a very steep, rocky, ledge. We did that completely exhausted and by flashlight. I was freaked out. Plus there was a Boy Scout behind me who kept saying to his group, "Woah! Be careful! It's STRAIGHT down, and I don't trust half the rocks I'm standing on!" That didn't help me. Finally, we got to the lake and set up our tent in the best place we could (considering we couldn't see anything), and it happened to be on a very sloped spot, which made for an interesting night's sleep. Plus, it was FREEZING! Very freak temperature for August. We were then both rudely awakened at 2 AM to a group of people screaming at the top of their lungs. It seems they hiked up to the summit by moonlight (it was almost a full moon) and then yelled for a good while up there (and while sliding down on the glacier). Then, I woke again later to rapid gunfire! That really freaked me out because we'd been told by a ranger that there'd been bear and cougar sightings and that the cougar was being tracked. I didn't sleep well.

The next morning we hiked to the "saddle" of Mt. Timp. See pics below.

This is a terrible picture of me (my pants are all poofy from the wind--I swear I'm not THAT fat), but the only one we took of the view of the city before the clouds appeared out of nowhere and overtook the mountain.

This is what I saw (above), a trail to the summit on the edge of a steep cliff covered in clouds. Hmm. I was scared to death! No way am I going out there, I told Andrew. After much discussion and compelling arguments, I decided I'd better try to make it to the summit (only about 30 minutes from this point). Holy cow--I cried more than once from total fear! I was freaked out of my mind, let me tell you. Andrew's main argument was that it's impossible to fall off a trail--so all you have to do is focus on the trail and don't look down (to the side of the trail). Just pretend like you're walking down the street. You wouldn't just fall down while walking down the street, right? Well, his argument makes more sense to people who don't frequently trip (not me). But I went along with him.

We came to the switchbacks portion, and some guy coming down told me that that was the worst part of it, and then it was easy from there. So I made myself scramble up these rocks, trying my best NOT to look down. I somehow made it up and went a little ways more. We were in perfect sight of the summit--probably only about 100 yards to go, but I couldn't take any more. The next bit of trail petrified me (even though it probably wasn't any worse than what I had already done), and I said, "No thank you." Everything was covered in clouds anyway--it's not like I could enjoy the view...(but I would have avoided looking down at all costs anyway). So we headed back. Kind of sad, but I am still proud of myself for going that far.

We went back to our tent and napped for a while, and ended up getting another late start going back down the mountain. Woops. Not a good idea. Both of us were really dying after a couple of hours. Our knees and feet had had it and really weren't functioning all that well.

(The ridge below the mountain is where we hiked to Emerald Lake at night. I forgot to get any pics of the lake.)

(The wildflowers were really like nothing I've ever seen--every color you can think of. These pics don't nearly do it justice.)

So, probably with about an hour to go, it was getting dark, but we hadn't gotten out the flashlight yet since we could still mostly see. I was stepping down from a rock, lost my balance, fell to the ground, and put out my hands to break my fall...only there was NOTHING to break my fall. I went right over the side of a cliff and tumbled down until thick plants broke my fall! I was totally shocked and psycho scared. I didn't know how far I'd fallen or if I was okay. I yelled out to Andrew, and he climbed down to me instantly. An older man with a walking stick came to help, and together they pulled me up. My pants were torn, my knees cut and elbows bruised, but other than that (and a mouthful of dirt somehow), I was fine! I can't tell you how blessed I felt!

Whenever I am hiking, I am always surveying the cliffs on the side of the trail and thinking, "Okay, if I fell here I would probably die" or "If I fell here, I'd probably roll for a ways, but not die." Well, this cliff didn't really look like a cliff at all--there were tons of plants coming up. I thought when I put my hands out (when I fell) that there would be ground. But it was just straight down.
I limped all the way down the rest of the way (in the dark again), and it took much longer than we had thought--going at our slow pace. We got back at 10:30 PM, just shy of the 11 PM deadline Andrew had given his mom to call search and rescue if we weren't back yet. Search and rescue was at the trail head when we made it down, but it wasn't for us. There were several other problems with hikers on the way.

I had a fever and chills when I got back to the cabin (I was dehydrated--I never make myself drink enough water), and it is difficult to walk with all the soreness, and I had nightmares all night about falling off the summit trail (I'd bolt up awake with my heart pounding like crazy)--but other than that, it was great! I'm glad I went, though. We plan on going again--frequently (but maybe not to the summit...).

My little tumble did disprove Andrew's theory, though--that it's impossible to fall off a trail! :) Maybe for some, but not for me!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Month's summary in pictures

It was a good month! This weekend Andrew and I are hiking Mt. Timp! Wish us luck!