29 July 2007

Mt. Timpanogos Hike

This weekend I spent 3 days backpacking around Mt. Timpanogos. It was a great trip. My neighbor and I took 5 boy scouts on the trip with us. We left from our homes on Thursday about 7:00am. We parked just above Aspen Grove and began our hike.

The first part of the trail is actually paved. Some time ago there was a one foot wide trail of blacktop laid. It turns out that this is not very nice on sore knees. Shortly after the pavement ends you come to a nice waterfall. This is a great place to refill you water (make sure you filter any water you plan to drink).

We hiked about five miles up the canyon to a hidden valley. The valley is just off the trail. It is a beautiful place to stay. It must be a favorite spot for the mountain goats too. They frequented our campsite. Many of them walked right through our camp.

Hidden lake is at the back of the valley. The second day we were there we spent an hour or so swimming in the lake. The lake was about 100 yards by 20 yards and only 1 yard deep. A little deep after you sink into the 6 inches of mud that forms the bottom of the lake. The water is run off from a glacier which sits at the South end of the lake. A truly breath taking experience.

About a mile up the trail from our campsite is Emerald Lake. Emerald Lake sits in a valley overshadowed by the Timpanogos summit.

From here you can see the shack that sits on top of the mountain. A small shelter was built at the lake about 50 years ago. About a 1/2 mile past the lake you get your first view of the American Fork canyon. As you climb over a small hill the canyon opens up before you.

The trail then lead over a large rock slide. This is a fairly rough trail. There is no flat spot to walk on. You only have rocks. At the far side of the rock slide is a steep trail covered in shale rocks. This is perhaps the hardest part of the climb. A series of tight switchbacks follows this to the top of the saddle. Following the saddle and then maneuvering up the side of the mountain brings you to the Timpanogos summit. I was dizzy for most of the final climb. You are literally standing on the edge of the mountain. The peak is only a few feet wide and very steep on both sides. The clouds were coming up from the valley floor by the time we reached the summit limiting our view some. But it was a beautiful site.

You can view a slide show of the hike if you would like.

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