Rob and I love to hike, as is evidenced by the fact that we met on a backpacking trip! Rob and his cousin Justin (who we named quadrangles, because his quads kept cramping up during the lost coast hike) had been talking about wanting to hike Lone Peak a little bit towards the end of our lost coast hike; inviting anyone who wanted to come along. A few weeks later, after Rob and I had been hanging out/going on dates for about 3 weeks, Justin, Rob, and I decided to take on the Lone Peak.
We started hiking mid-morning after driving on a very rocky unpaved road infested with pot holes and deep ditches. Justin’s wife Ali and daughter Haddi were with us in the car too. They dropped us off at the trail head and headed back to their home.
It was really beautiful outside. I love hiking in September and October in Utah, because the weather has usually cooled down some during the day, but isn’t too cold during the night – perfect for hiking and camping. We knew that the ascent to the top of the peak was going to be a difficult climb, but I don’t think any of us had anticipated how steep some of the trails leading up to the rocky peak were going to be. There were parts that we had to stop every 30 feet or so to catch our breaths, because it was such a steep climb! Plus Rob and I hadn’t been getting very much sleep that week (or the previous three weeks since we had started dating), because we would stay up late talking, eating ice cream, going out to eat, going out to watch storms at our cool spot that overlooks the city, hiking to hot springs at midnight, and going on all kinds of adventures late into the night! So the lack of sleep was finally catching up to us, especially Rob, because he had been pulling some doubles at work on top of us staying up late, so he was sleeping even less than I was part of that time.
We found shade under a few trees along the trail and stopped to have some snacks; snacks didn’t help to wake us up much. Rob was practically asleep half-way through our little snack break. The hot sun, steady climbing, and sleep deprivation were the perfect recipe for exhaustion. Rob and I were ready for a nap by that point. Justin was jazzed and ready to go!
We didn’t stop for too long, and continued to make our way slowly up the steep climb to Lone Peak. We took pictures, chatted, and laughed together as we hiked. We were pack hiking as well, so the weight of our packs was beginning to make itself known as we ascended to the top of the peak. Justin of course did some birding as we hiked as well. Justin and I had bonded pretty early on during the lost coast hike, and I think that was partly due to the fact that we both love birds! I especially love chickens and quails. Chickens are so funny to watch and quails are just so cute! 🙂
When we got to the top of Lone Peak we could see for miles around. The view was absolutely breath taking. The rocks were light gray and very sharp/jagged, but it was so worth the trek to the top. We enjoyed some lunch while sitting on the peak. Both Rob and I fell asleep on that warm rocky mountain top; Perfect renewal activity after a difficult hike.
The picture above and below are of the steep backside of Lone Peak looking up. This picture doesn’t do it justice – it was really sketchy coming down this side of the mountain, with shifty rocks and a lot of loose boulders. I was pretty nervous coming down this, especially with a pack on, because I felt unbalanced and unsure about every step. Rob helped talk me through my foot placement the whole way down. I would not have made it down without him. I was worried that I was a burden on him and that I was holding him back from getting down as quickly and as dangerously as he would have liked to. I didn’t want him to feel like I was holding him back, especially with how recently we had started dating. The last thing a guy wants is some girl holding him back from what he wants to do, or so I thought. I don’t usually get nervous hiking anywhere, not even up on narrow, high cliffs, but this descent had my heart racing and my mind all kinds of geekin’ out!
Sunset was a beautiful relief and calmed my heart down after scaling down that beastly backside of Lone peak. I was seriously just happy we all three made it down safely without any major injuries, externally anyway – pretty sure I am scarred internally for life after that. 😉
The sun went down before we were able to find a spot to hang our hammocks and have a fire, but both Rob and Justin had headlamps, so we were in good shape. We set up camp right by a small lake with a stream. We used the stream to filter water. I held one end of the filter down just below the waters surface while Rob pumped water into our water bottles. This was at the end of September and we were very high up in the mountains so keep that in mind while reading this next part. The stream was excruciatingly cold! Thinking back on it these 8 months later, I can still remember how cold it was. I forced my mind to go somewhere else as I held that little filter down in the stream. It was bitter cold. The cold water stung my small hands like a million tiny push pins as they pierced the waters surface. Ten minutes or so later, my hands were just beginning to regain circulation. Pain shot through my hands in spurts as the numbness slowly wore off. Brrrrr that was bone chilling cold!
We set up our hammocks and then made a fire. I was so happy to have a fire. I love the smell of campfire and I was so cold I was excited to warm up by the fire before crawling into my sleeping bag. Justin went to bed before Rob and I did. We sat by the fire for a little longer and talked, but I was really unsure how he was feeling about me at this point, especially after having to help me all the way down the back of Lone Peak. We didn’t say up long. We were both tired.
We had hung our hammocks from the same tree on one end and then angled them in a v shape to tress that were just the right distance apart. Justin had set up his hammock a little ways down the hill from us. I was glad Rob was close by. I don’t like to sleep out in the wild alone, or far away from people. Having him close made me feel safe.
I have never liked being the last one to fall sleep. I always have a hard time going to sleep if I know that everyone is already sleeping, especially out camping. My mind starts to wander and create all of these creepy ideas in my head with every sound I hear. Rob fell asleep before me, but I was so tired, I was able to fall asleep shortly after him.
But during the night it got really really windy and the swaying of my hammock combined with the sound of the wind woke me up. It sounded like I was in a violent wind storm and being cocooned inside of my sleeping bag just intensified the sounds around me. The movement of the bag brushing up against the hammock created a horrible brushing sound, like something big was walking through the tall grass. I sat quietly in my sleeping bag, trying to calm my rapidly beating heart. I peeked my head over the edge of the hammock to see if Rob was awake, but he was sound asleep, snoring in fact. I shouldn’t have checked to see if he was awake, because it only made things worse knowing I was the only one awake. I debated for a while about waking him up, because I was kind of scared with all of the unfamiliar sounds I was hearing and the darkness surrounding me. After trying to talk myself out of it, I finally decided to try to wake him up. The third time I called his name, to my relief, he finally woke up. Just knowing he was awake made me feel better. I knew I wasn’t alone. I talked to him for a few minutes and was able to fall asleep not too long after that. He was really sweet and just talked to me and made me feel safe without even knowing that I had been nervous and was having trouble sleeping.
The next morning we were woken up by raindrops on our faces. We groaned about the chilly rain and talked for a little bit as the rain kept falling. Eventually we both curled back up in our sleeping bags, pulling the edges of the hammock tightly around ourselves; snug, warm, and sheltered from the rain we fell back to sleep.
When we woke up the second time the rain was coming down even harder and we decided it was time to pack up and hike out. The rain began really coming down hard as we walked around the lake and climbed over a small ridge to start making our way out of the mountains. It rained for almost the entire 3 or so hours that it took us to hike out of the canyon. We didn’t mind getting wet. It was a little chilly, but it was a beautiful hike and we had an awesome little over-nighter out in the mountains! Rob and I love adventure and we love the mountains – so it was rad. 🙂