Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Hike of the year...Lone Peak

For years one of my goals had been to hike Lone Peak, at 11,253 feet in elevation, the 11th highest peak in the Wasatch Range. Yesterday (Monday) was my second attempt at this rugged peak.
Towering over the city of Draper, this monolith has beckoned to me for years. At 7 AM, my brother Mike and I started up the Jacob's Ladder trail to the top.
Jacob's Ladder is the quickest way to the top of Lone Peak. It is very steep. Think climbing a stairs for 1.5 miles and you get the idea. This stretch of the hike is withering and by the time you reach the ridge and the trail that intersects with the Jacob's Ladder trail (called the Draper Ridge Trail), your quads are burning. It was at this point last year that I knew I'd never make it to the top that time. I was dizzy and just didn't feel well. Not so this year. I had the strength and stamina I needed for finishing what I'd started.

Mike Roe
Along the way we saw some nice bucks a few hundred yards across the hillside.
I did the best I could to capture them on my Elph 340HS. I zoomed in on a patch of mountainside where I could barely see anything moving and captured the above image. Mike had told me all about how big the racks were on these deer, but I could barely see the deer at all, and through the viewfinder in bright sunshine, it was tough to find them, but I guess it worked.
We continued upward, through the pines and into the bottom of the boulder field. We saw one guy going way high to the left and wondered if that was a better way to make it to the shoot.
Mike had been experiencing nausea and so we sat down and ate lunch. After lunch we climbed higher into the bowl, trying to search out the cairns that marked the trail. We got off trail a few times before finding our way back.
There were some nice views of Timpanogos and other mountains to the southeast
This mare and another horse were up near the top of Jacob's Ladder, brought by bowhunters. I was hoping for a ride up the rest of the way, and if they'd have still been there when we came back down, I'd have paid them to take me down.

As always, there were some amazing flowers

Mike and I. The selfie.
Mike, finding that he'd need to put in some workout time before he could actually make it to the top, decided to stop and wait for me to reach the top. This was a little after 2 pm.
I made my way up the chute that led to the ridge I would follow to the top of Lone Peak.
I was actually feeling pretty good, considering how I'd felt the year before when I'd turned back at about the same spot we ate lunch this year. My workouts had paid their dividends and I was reaping the rewards of good health.
See the guy on the left? There was a place just behind him that I wasn't willing to risk, without having someone experienced with Lone Peak alongside to show me the safe way.
I didn't need to go any higher though. It was enough to know I'd gotten close.

This is Lone Peak.

On the way down, we saw this plume of smoke rising over the peak to the east.
This final shot of Timp in the distance and skies that had cleared of the smoke from the fires to the west of us.
That being said, I made my way up the rocks toward the pinnacle of Lone Peak. Just yards short, I decided I'd had enough. I could not see a way that did not include a huge amount of potential danger. The three people who had been just ahead of me had taken a very precarious route to the top. I wasn't willing to take that risk. There is just too much to live for. I watched those all younger than me who had made it up to the very top. I thought of when I'd been that age, full of recklessness and thinking myself unconquerable. I've learned that I'm not invincible and that often the journey is greater than making it to the top of the mountain. I had met my goal after all, the goal of enjoying myself in the midst of the great creations of God. I headed down, met up with Mike, and we began our descent at around 4 o'clock.
The sun went down and we spent the last half hour in the falling evening. We got to the vehicle at 8:22
In the end, Lone Peak defeated me. Or maybe I defeated myself in my quest to stay alive. I had beaten the dreaded "ladder" for the second year in a row, but my beautiful peak remained unconquered. For now. More adventures promise the future, and one never knows what might happen as the years go by.

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