Monday, September 6, 2010
Cell Phones: Not Just for Concerts
September Challenge: Worst. Trip. Ever.
"An adventure is a disaster survived," so my grandpa says. I wouldn't call this trip a disaster, but we certainly survived it. Hiking is kind of a thing in my family. I have people who've spent 10 days trekking through the Alps, scaled Kilimanjaro, Machu Picchu, and made it all the way to Mount Everest base camp. It could be some kind of genetic mutation.
So when an intrepid group of us decided to take on the Pfeifferhorn one day last summer, we figured it'd be no big deal. We met at the trailhead at 10 a.m. (a tad late in the day to be starting a 9-mile, 3700-foot hike) and set off. We reached Red Pine Lake in the early afternoon and spread out on top of a giant granite rock for lunch.
Then the real work began. Up to the lake, there's a decent trail to follow. Getting to the actual peak involves scrambling up loose rocks and shale like poor Frodo making that final push up Mount Doom, and climbing over granite boulders (where my young cousin scared the goat spoor out of us by swinging from one corner). At the top, we had a great, family-bonding, rah-rah moment with much taking of pictures and texting of our peeps down below with jubilant messages of conquering the peak.
That was around five o'clock.
Handy hiking tip: always, always carry a flashlight. But if you don't, cell phone lights work just as well. Sort of.
When you're climbing down a mountain in the dark.
It's also nice to have an uber-helpful 9-year-old narrating in detail every rock, dead branch, and crevice in the trail ahead when you can barely see it yourself. Five hours later, we limped out of the trees and across the parking lot to the cars. My right knee felt like it was held together by old jello. We had to use the cell phones once again to find the bathrooms. But we got a killer glimpse of the Salt Lake valley at night, sprawled out like a vast, glowing amoeba framed by the giant V of Little Cottonwood Canyon.
That was the best Wendy's frosty I've ever tasted on the way home.