This is a terrible picture, but Halea is behind the girl in red, next to the girl that she was elbowing the entire way in. Seems like there was plenty of room for both of them?!
Halea and I had been talking about hiking Mount Timpanogos all summer. It was on her "bucket list" because our neighborhood hiked it 2 years ago but she was injured and couldn't go. I was just barely pregnant with Tatum when we hiked it so we had not had a time when I could take her, until now. This was pretty bitter sweet for me. I was so happy to get to help her achieve that goal, but on the other hand I would have given any thing to have Tatum here needing me to stay and take care of her. I tried to push those feelings to the back of my mind. I went to the store late on Friday night and got us some good traveling foods. Went home and got everything packed up for the early 2:30am early wake up call. I am not sure I slept at all, but at 2:30 I was up and packing. We really wanted to be to the top for sunrise, that is why we had to be up so early. We got up to the parking lot of the Timpanookee trailhead at about 3:30. When we pulled in to the parking lot there were cars, but no other hikers that were starting at the same time we were. This made me nervous. It had been a few years since I had hiked it and I was really hoping to follow another group because I am super directionally challenged and there are a few points on the trail that are a little sketchy. I asked Halea if she was scared to hike by ourselves and she said no. Naive little girl! I was pretty nervous, but I really wanted us to "Help each other conquer this literal mountain". About a mile into the hike Halea wanted to take off her jacket. She pulled it over her head and off came her headlamp on to the ground, breaking! Not a good sign. Luckily I had brought extra lights, but they were pretty worthless. I hoped to only have to use them in emergency situations. I gave Halea my good headlamp and took one of the not so good headlamps and one of our little flashlights. We had a great gospel talk about this funny story and about how it isn't good to always be borrowing someone elses light. You need to be prepared to combat the darkness at all times, etc. Halea's headlamp was working very intermittently and so now we were dependant on my little hand held flashlight. There were several times where we almost accidentally got off of the trail, but we relied on our instinct and some luck and the spirit to guide us where we should go. On the way back down we noticed that even though it was easier to see the trail, we sometimes would feel a little more lost because we were depending on ourselves and not the spirit to guide us to the path. We tried really hard to get to the top before 7am, but we came a little short. We just happened to be at another really beautiful point on the hike, just below the summit. We were in a perfect clearing to see the sun come up and greet another day. It was still stunning, even thought it wasn't quite to the top. Another great analogy to life. Sometimes we don't quite get to where we think we should be, but often times it is just as good or better.
What a beautiful, amazing sight. Just like that, another day has begun.
We got to a place called the "saddle" about 15 minutes after the sun came up. We spent a few minutes there.
This is sometimes a turn around point for people. I can't imagine why you would get so close to the ultimate goal and not finish. The final ascent to the summit is a little rough. In some areas you are scaling the rock walls on all fours. There were a few times that I thought I was going to fall backwards from the weight of the backpack with all of our stuff., but alas we made it to the top.
Here is Halea in the "shack" at the top. Everyone signs their name on the walls of the shack and writes their name in a silly spiral bound notebook. It is quite funny.
I was definitely not in the physical shape that I was last time I hiked. I was really grateful to finally get to do this with Halea, and to be able to look over some of the most beautiful creations, and to think about this past year and the mountains that as a family we had already climbed and conquered. At the top of Timp I felt a little closer to heaven. It was a great feeling. We ate some lunch up there, tried to hydrate ourselves and then we started our descent. We took our time and tried to enjoy the beauty all around us. Ever so often Halea would stop and say, look up. She is really good at enjoying the views of life. She is a reminder to me always to enjoy the ride. We had a fun time descending the mountain. We talked and sang and laughed and discussed and listened to our "Tatum" songs. We had started our hike at just before 4:00am and we finished a little after 12:00pm. It was a long day, but so worth it to spend that time with Halea and to accomplish such a hefty goal. I don't know how many more of those times I have left with Halea before she starts the next chapter in her life. What a great teenager that would spend that time, an entire Saturday afternoon, with her silly mother. What a girl.
We were both starving when we finished so we decided to hit Kneaders on the way home. Yummy sandwiches and a death by chocolate dessert.
It was a great reward for accomplishing our goal. There were some scary things, some funny things, some hard things all along the way, but we persevered and overcame our fears, through the power that is within us and given to us from our Father in Heaven. We are so lucky to know how to draw upon those powers in all aspects of our lives. I am so grateful to be a mother of such amazing kids. It is truly one of my greatest blessings in this life. I know that we are never done climbing mountains in this life, they are continuous. Some are big and some are small. I am grateful that I get to conquer these mountains with the best family ever.
Later that night I found out that the husband of one of our friends found a tumor in his brain. They did surgery that same day. They had been at Lake Powell 2 days earlier and all was well. Talk about a mountain thrown in your path. These hardships are everywhere. We are never immune from the challenges in life. I was thinking back on something that was said at the funeral of my friend on Thursday. Her husband said that she had suffered such physical and emotional pains during her chronic illness and she could have been very angry and bitter. Instead she had chosen to let it turn her more beautiful inside. We do have a choice, it just isn't ever easy. I hope that I can continue to work on making my inside better and more lovely.