Sunday, September 18, 2016

Mt. Olympus a great September hike

Since I have been up to the top of Mt. Olympus numerous times, and I think that each one is likely my last, I have now been up there in a variety of seasons, from spring to fall. The hike itself is about a 6.6 mile round trip, most of it very steep. It's not for the out of shape, although I have seen some fairly out of shape looking people on the trail. I'm fairly certain that they didn't make it to the top. This particular hike, my brother Mike, and his son Lawson accompanied me. I was the oldest and since I really have no desire to blast off speed records to the top of mountains any more (when I was in my teens I made it to the top of this particular mountain once in 1:30), I brought up the rear. Mostly out of necessity as my legs felt tired from the getgo.
We started early and the Oquirrh mountains looked sleepy in the distance.

The nearby peaks of the Wasatch were just catching the early rays of the sun as we began our ascent.
It was beautiful with fall colors, mostly from the maples, in abundance.
This is why we planted a Big Tooth Maple in our yard.

Mike and Lawson. Much of the trail was filled with color.
The hike itself was fairly routine with us struggling up the steep parts of the trail, then finally making it to the saddle, and then beginning the last stretch, which is basically climbing rocks until you get there--about 500 vertical feet.

I actually had to adjust my camera because the whiteness reflecting off of these guy's skin caused it to think the flash was on.
The last stretch always throws me as to how challenging it actually is finding hand and foot holds, and much of the rock has been worn smooth by the vast numbers of people who make their way to the top each year. There were a lot of people up there yesterday, and I could imagine how that many people climbing on those rocks would eventually make them smooth. Anyway, the smoothness of the rocks makes them slick and even with good hiking shoes, there are some places where I just slid. It's a place where caution is necessary as slipping could cause some painful injuries. I slipped on the way down and came close to blowing out my knee when my foot got pinned up underneath my rear end in the sliding action. I have never had a better quad stretch, btw.
The colors off the edge on the way down were spectacular. This pic
doesn't really do them justice.
When we got done, Mike told me that he was feeling more sore and exhausted than he had when we'd gone up the Jacob's Ladder route on Lone Peak. I suggested that he had selective memory and had forgotten just how tough that hike was.
All in all it was a great hike, and I think I've done Oly enough times. I kind of prefer now to hike meandering trails rather than trails that head straight up. I'm thinking if  I can swing it, that I might just make one more trip into the Uintas this year for one of those trails that's a bit less brutal.

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