12 August 2008

Mt Nebo Hike

I made it to the top of Nebo! I went with Nate and Matt, who are friends from work. It was a very fun hike. I was out of shape and it turned out to be a bit painful as well. For the last few days it has been very hard to get down stairs. I feel like I have been given a large series of shots all in my thighs. In other words, I am very sore. But that is OK. Candace has been very good to take care of me. I have been saying lately that Bianca is learning about consequences, now Candace is telling me that Daddy is learning about consequences. But enough of that business, on to the hike.

Nebo has 3-4 peaks depending on how you define it. There is the north peak, the center peak (which is the tallest), and south peak. Between the south peak and the center peak is another peak that stands just about a hundred feet shorter than south peak. For lack of a better name, I called this peak the "almost south peak."

We hiked up the north peak trail and reached the top of Nebo in a little over 2 hours. The trail is beautiful though pretty much straight up. Much of the trail has nice cover from the fir trees. The picture to the left is of Nate and I on the north peak trail. The trail leads up the ridge you can see behind us in the picture. It then moves behind the north peak and continues up to the summit.

From the summit our plan was to traverse the ridge from the top of Nebo to the south peak. This is the part of the trail that was not really a trail at all. There was no maps saying it was possible, but we had read of people doing it. So, that was our plan. Get up there, figure out how to get across and then come down the other side of the mountain following the south peak trail.

As you can see from the remaining pictures this turned out to be a little more technically challenging than we expected. The ridge in places was literally less than a foot wide and a few hundred feet down on both sides. It was a very fun hike, but with my fear of heights, I spent most of the climb on both my hands and feet moving quite slowly. The approximately one mile between peaks took us a little over two hours to traverse. This included about a half hour of deliberation on whether we should continue on or turn back. At one point the trail went straight down for about 100 feet and was covered in loose shale. Of course one can easily sit down and slide to the bottom, but it was unclear whether we could get back up the other side of the trail or not. From where we sat, it looked very steep and nearly impassable. Finally Nate decided the only way to know was to go look. So down the trail he went. In a few minutes he yells back that the trail look fairly easy to climb. So down we go. The impassable trail was relatively easy to cover. In another half hour or so we were on the top of the south peak.

By this time my legs were killing me. I was dead tired. I no longer wanted to climb anything. My lack of preparation through out the summer was shining through. I didn't even want to stand up for a photo op. I just sat on a rock and rested...hoping my body would forgive me for torturing it. I am writing this four days after the hike. My thighs are still killing me.

The trail down the south side of Nebo was nice. The were lots of wild flowers and other plants that lined the trail. It was fairly steep and about twice as long as the trail up the north side. Going up the north side and down the south side was definitely the right way to go.  By the time we got down I just wanted to sit down, but my legs hurt so bad that it was hard to do.

After an hour drive home, a warm shower, and dinner, I spent the night...hiking. Grandpa and Grandma were in town and we had free tickets to see the Thanksgiving Point Gardens. So we all went and walked around some very beautiful gardens for the evening. It was wonderful, but I sure slept well that night.

I learned a lot of things from this hike. I learned about consequences and preparation. But I think the most poignant thing that I learned was about perspective. The pictures you see give a glimpse of what we saw as we hiked, but they lack perspective. It is hard to tell from the pictures what the mountain was really like. Each hike I go on I notice that things change dramatically based on where I am at on the trail. The same mountain or the same valley may look completely different from a different point on the trail. As we sat and wondered if the trail to the south peak was passable or not the trail looked very steep and dangerous. As we drew nearer to the actual place we had to climb it became simple. I think in life we need to take the time to look at things from different perspectives. We need to see things from different angles before we pass judgment. Before we decide to turn back, before we decide to avoid a challenge, we need to move in close and find out what is really before us.

You can find more pictures of the hike in Matt's picassa web album.

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