Timpanogos Hike Report (or saved by my Water Filter)
I woke up 5 minutes before my 5:00 AM alarm on Saturday morning so I took that as a sign that I was supposed to hike Timp with the Hansen family annual Timp trip https://www.facebook.com/events/655128821256064/675862545849358/
I showered, put on sunscreen, and got my stuff together I had packed the night before, took my Amoxicillin (3 times a day until gone) and my 800 mg ibuprofen (every 6 hours as needed), and got out the door by 5:30. The medicines were because I had a surgery on the previous Monday to implant some bone and a titanium post in my jaw for a missing tooth.
I was excited to use my new smartphone that I had just enabled the evening before. I could take pictures and post to facebook while on the hike! I had also downloaded all sorts of cool apps like trip trackers, compasses, altimeters, barometers, metal detector, and so on and so forth.
On the drive to the trailhead, I drank a liter of water and ate a granola bar and a banana. I had another granola bar and banana in the car for when I got back to it, and 6 granola bars and 3 liters of water for the trail. I also had my life straw water filter so I could refill my water bottles at emerald lake.
I got to the Aspen grove trail head at 6:20. We were supposed to meet everyone at 6:30 to head out. The parking lot was full, so I ended up parking on the side of the road going in to the parking lot. Rob was there, but no one else yet. I thought I had figured out how to take a selfie with Rob and posted to facebook asking where everyone else is.
(Ironically I had NOT figured out how to take a selfie. It was a front camera picture in the back camera picture but the cover was on the back camera lens so it was a big black image with a little postage stamp of our faces.)
Everyone else showed up and we were on the trail by 7:00 AM. We got to the waterfall by 7:30 AM. I took and posted a couple of pictures. I was feeling pretty good and when we ended up dividing into two groups, I was with the front one. Someone meeting us coming down said to keep our eyes out for a moose and her calf that were in the scrub oak just off the trail. We never did see them.
We did meet lots of people coming down. Some had summited and some had just gone to the lake. They must have started very early!
After an hour we stopped and ate some of our trail food. I had 2 granola bars. I had drank about 1 liter of water by this point.
I took about a dozen pictures in total. A lot less than I had planned on but my batteries died. The last picture I have in the phone was taken at 9:13 am. I think the battery died about half an hour later when I went to post something to facebook.
By this time, Weston and his family had gone on ahead. Rob was being very nice to me and keeping me company. I was huffing and puffing so hard that he asked me if I still got asthma. I was starting to wish I had an inhaler with me. I would stop to catch my breath, but my pulse never seemed to slow down. I didn’t know why I was having such a hard time. I had hiked five miles in the foothills by my house the previous weekend with no problems and this wasn’t any steeper than that.
The scenery was beautiful. We could see deer creek reservoir. There was a family of mountain goats that I couldn’t take a picture of.
The last mile before the lake was brutal. I was shuffling the whole time. Stopping often. Rob kept offering me his hiking stick and I tried it a few times, but it seemed harder to carry it than not. I had drank most of my 3 liters by the time we got to the lake. It is not that anything hurt, I was just very tired and couldn’t ever seem to catch my breath. I did have some very slight cramping in my left thigh, but nothing too bad. I knew it would be at mistake to try and push for the top.
We got to the lake around 11:30. I told Rob to go on ahead, that I was going to rest and then head down. He didn’t seem to be hurting at all. I agreed to take his hiking stick back down for him (I was actually very grateful for it on the way down. More about that in a minute.) And Rob went on to catch up with Weston and his family. They all made it to the summit about an hour later.
I rested at the lake for about 30 minutes. My pulse got back to normal. I ate my other 3 granola bars.
Andrea and her boyfriend showed up at the lake while I was there. I borrowed her phone to call home and tell Melody I was not pushing for the top but was heading down. I told her I would call when I got back to the car and could plug my phone back in. I figured it would take me about 90 minutes (a little under 5 miles, going down hill) but I told her 2 hours to be safe.
She was worried that I was going down alone. I reassured her that there were lots of people on the trail and I would be fine.
I debated whether or not to refill my water bottles using my Sawyer Mini Water Filter, but I had never used it before, and I thought the downhill trip would be a fast piece of cake and didn’t want the weight, so I drank all but a cup or so of my water and headed down. This was around 12:00.
I was feeling ok. My legs were not as sore as I thought they should be at this point. I wondered if I should have pushed for the top, but since I had gotten that oral surgery on Monday, and I didn’t feel anywhere near as good as I had a week ago (5 miles in the foothills, no problems) it was probably a good thing I was heading down.
After 20 minutes on the trail, I took my mid-day amoxicillin and ibuprofen. I washed it down with the rest of the water. This was at about the point in the trail where it drops over the edge from the bowl where the hidden lake is and gets steep. I found myself using Rob’s stick to keep my balance. I slowed way down but my pulse didn’t. I had as hard a time breathing as when we were going up.
The sun was beating down and it was very hot. I felt like I was hiking through an oven. I wanted to sit down in some shade and wait for the sun to get further down in the sky, but I had told Melody I would be down in 2 hours, and at the speed I was going, I was worried that I would make it.
I started getting very thirsty. There was no water for quite a while further down the trail. I was really regretting not filling all my empty water bottles at the lake.
I had to force myself to put one foot in front of the other even though I was going down hill. The small patches of shade didn’t seem to bring any relief. Occasionally a cool breeze would stir and the oven heat would back off, but these breezes were few and far between.
I gave up on finding water and started looking forward to the breezes instead.
After about an hour there was a seepage of water that ended in a shallow puddle. It was full of worms and bugs and when I tried to dip my hat in it to cool my head, it was too shallow. It clouded up. But I sat down and took off my fanny pack. I got out the mini water filter and attempted several times to get some water into the bag that it comes with so I could force it through the filter into my parched mouth.
Whenever I put the bag into the water it wouldn’t fill – the water was too shallow and the bag was too new and stiff. I got a few drops and screwed on the filter and squeezed it into my mouth. It was just enough to tease.
I was very frustrated and starting to get worried. If I felt this crappy and couldn’t get any water I might collapse here on the trail!
I finally remembered that the filter came with a straw could also be used to suck the water directly out of the puddle . I did this and got a few good mouthfuls and then headed on down.
Later I found that at about this same time Melody had started getting very worried about be. She tried to call all the people I was with no one answered. She had Matt post to facebook to ask if anyone knew which trail we had taken and was going to send Amber to find me.
About half an hour after the puddle I came across a nice trickle that was clear and cold and fast enough to quickly fill my mini filter’s bag. http://amzn.to/1IVfZW7 is what I have. I stayed there for a good long while, recovered, rehydrated, and refilled all my water bottles.
I stayed at that water trickle for a while and then went the rest of the way to the car.
I got back to the car about 2:20 and plugged in my phone and called home to let them know I was safely down. I put Rob’s walking stick in the back of his truck, ate the granola bar and banana I had waiting in the car and started driving home.
I planned to get a sports drink at the Crest drive through in east bay in Provo, but when I got there, it was blocked off because a SUV had run into a power pole.
I went through the drive through down the street at Wendy’s to get a frosty, but they couldn’t take any orders because their power was out.
So I drove on home.
When I got home I took a shower and went to bed. After sleeping a couple of hours I still felt like crap. I started researching the medicines I had been taking. It turns out that some of the side effects of the amoxicillin include trouble breathing, fatigue, and exercise tolerance decrease – especially in people over 40.
It is now the following day and I feel like I can’t eat and drink enough. I am a little sore, but not bad in my legs, but I still feel very ill.
Moral of the story, never pass up a chance to refill your water bottle and I should have waited and hiked Timp when I was not recovering from a surgery.
Next year I will make it to the summit!