After our hiking adventures in Arches National Park a couple of weeks ago, I started getting the thought that the kids (especially Charlotte) could take on a serious hike. I had a really great hike on Deseret Peak a few years ago, and the week after Labor Day seemed like a good time, but I hadn’t really committed to anything until the night before. It all felt like it was a little impulsive, but I invited my mom, told the kids, and we set off at 6:30 on Saturday the 12th. It’s a bit of a drive out to the trailhead; we got started hiking around 8:30.
One thing about Deseret Peak is that it’s an alpine wilderness surrounded by Utah’s desert. There are lots of woods on the way up, and even though it was late in the year, the stream was still running. A view of North Willow Peak through the trees from the trail:
We took it easy on the way up, with lots of stops for rest and snacks:
I said this is a serious hike. Well, for folks more athletic than I am (and that’s most of you!), it’s not so bad. A little over 4 miles to the summit, but a lot of elevation gain: about 3600′. Here’s the crew climbing up some switchbacks:
There’s a tough climb up to a ridge that’s right around 10,000′. Once on the ridge, a big meadow opens up, with some nice rocks for having lunch:
Isaac was pleased to note that no one had thrown up at this point. (Isaac threw up on our Delicate Arch hike, and I have a little history of barfing when I get to about 9500′.) After our lunch break, we hit the trail up toward the summit. At this point, there’s still another 1000′ to climb, and after the switchbacks up to the ridge, it can be a little tiring. We met some nice folks from Florida who called it quits at about 10,500′.
I kept telling Isaac and Charlotte that they’d know we’d made it when they looked around and there was nothing higher than them. I could tell they were hurting a little on this last stretch. You really feel the altitude, and it takes some commitment to keep going up. There was a little complaining, but I kept telling them to think about the positives: think about telling your friends how you toughed it out; think about being higher than you’ve ever been before; look at how far up we’ve come already.
Here we are just a bit below the summit:
Finally, I was able to shout: “CHILDREN! Is there ANYTHING higher than you are?” (There was not.)
The view from 11,031 feet:
Time to head back down:
We made pretty good time back down to the ridge, where I got a nice picture of the kids enjoying the view to the north. The van is 2600′ down and 3 miles away still (somewhere behind Charlotte’s head, I think):
Here we are at the sign post at the top of the ridge, just before heading down the switchbacks (this is looking the other way, to the south):
Coming down wears you out, and we were all starting to feel it. Here we are making our way down the switchbacks below the ridge:
The trail back always seems twice as long when you’re tired, and we were all glad to be back at the van. Charlotte was proud of how dirty her feet were:
Our final obstacle was this ridiculous deer. She just looked at me when I beeped the horn at her, but the kids thought it was pretty funny.
I was proud of how well Isaac and Charlotte (not to mention my mom!) did with this hike. It’s a lot of climbing for a 9-year-old and an 11-year-old, and they toughed it out. I’m always pleased when they’re willing to do tough things, and this hike will prime them for more adventures. Assuming I can keep up with them.