For Fall 2019, I had a goal to hike three mountains. Having hiked mountains previously, I knew I had to prepare physically to hike them. I was already going to the gym for functional training. So I added weekly hiking trips to warm up my hiking legs. I found a mobile application (AllTrails) which the app showed me that Utah is littered with trails. I was loving this idea.

The Hikes

At the end of summer, I decided to hike my three mountains before winter came through. The three mountains I ended up hiking were Timpanogos, Olympus, and Grandeur.

Timpangos was an amazing and physically exerting hike. I went with a group, and I didn’t know anyone in the group. However, we did get along fairly well. The remarkable thing about this hike, we hauled it going up. We left the trail head around 3:30 AM and we got to the summit about 4 hours later, just in time for sunrise. I was not expecting to make it to sunrise at all. That was about 7 miles to the top with 4,566 feet elevation gain. I was impressed, and exhausted. I love this trail because of the views; they were incredible.

Olympus was also a physically exerting hike. I have not decided if Timpanogos or Olympus are harder hikes. Timpanogos was hard because it was long, and Olympus was hard because it was steep. Olympus was not particularly great, because it got very cloudy the nearer to the summit I was. I could not get a great view like I was expecting. However, near the saddle, I was able to get a great view of Big and Little Cottonwood canyons on the Wasatch Front.

View of SL County from the Wasatch Mountains

View from the saddle of Mount Olympus.

The hike that I want to talk about is Grandeur Peak. This one was special, because I decided to do it as a solo hike, and it was my last hike for my goal. Due to the circumstances, I had such a great time hiking this peak.

Grandeur Peak

Grandeur Peak is north of Millcreek canyon. A dense forest lays throughout the canyon with off shoot canyons on the side. Up one of these canyons is Churck Fork. To get to Grandeur peak, I have to hike through Church Fork and up that canyon.

The first part of hike was amazing in a relaxing way. I wanted to hike Grandeur peak alone, because I had heard that people like solo hikes for the quiet time. There were hardly any people on the trail, so I had ample time to myself. It was very quiet, but not too quiet! I heard a symphony of water in a creek, rushing winds, and calls of deer. The sensation was incredibly relaxing. I did not hear the cacophony of cars or civilization, which were probably blocked by the trees and canyon walls. There was also no social media or smart phone distractions to pull my attention. It seemed like I was in a safe place.

I highly value any time with no distractions. For a while, I have been practicing mindfullness meditation with Headspace. Headspace is such a fitting name for mindfullness. Anyway, I have learned that giving myself time to just listen to what is happening helps me to be calm and tempered throughout the day. Walking through that forested area with all those sounds had the same effect as meditation, but ten times as potent. After taking a moment to appreciate the outdoors and the affect the sensation had on me, I started to think about my goal of hiking three mountains.

Because They Are Hard

A quote by President Kennedy occurred in my mind repeatedly. It is on the landing page of this site. When I do hard things I can discover my limits and expand those limits. I had never hiked three mountains before. The closest was probably hiking through Philmont, but that was over ten years ago, so I had better start a goal somewhere.

Why do hard things? That is kind of a hard answer. I think I have accepted that life is no luxury restaurant where you get served delicious artisan foods at no cost. Life will come knocking at the door, ready to claim whatever he thinks it can take. Life is the being in charge. Not me. Even then, I can still challenge life. I can still exert my choice, in order to experience what life has in store for me. Life is meant to be lived.

Life isn’t a dictator; life is a goal. It is a goal to live. It is a goal to overcome challenges. It is a goal to achieve and to enjoy accomplishments. Everyone has experienced disappointments because of not meeting life’s challlenges. Life, as a goal, encourages to overcome disappointment and heartache. There is always room to improve and pick yourself up again.

I can learn to do things myself and not get served. When I learn from life’s challenges, I can gain wisdom. Possibly as important to learn things myself, is the opportunity to help others to come to this realization. People do need help with the goal of life, then they can also gain wisdom. So I can step up, learn things myself, and help others with life.

Once I got to the peak, I was elated. It was overwhelming once I realized that I had hiked three peaks. I’ll admit, reaching the peak was even a little bit emotional, because of all the meditative thoughts I had while hiking up the peak. I can do something hard, because I put my effort to it. I gave myself a pat on the back once I reached the peak.

View of Grandeur Peak valley

View from the Grandeur Peak hike.

In the End

I love hiking outdoors. Heck, any outdoor activity is great! It is like an intoxicating drug, nevertheless, a healthy drug! Probably the biggest reason why I love outdoor activities is the close connection with nature. I can clear my head and think about my progress in life. This winter season, I will be looking forwards to mastering skiing a bit more, and maybe a few winter hikes to try those out.

I wouldn’t be giving honor to President Kennedy’s quote, if I didn’t set a new goal to exceed 2019’s achievement. So for 2020, I will have the goal to hike, double the amount of mountains hiked in 2019, 6 mountains. To achieve that goal, I think I better start in spring and have it last through to fall. I will go and hike 6 mountains next year with as much gusto as I can, because I know this will be a little bit harder.