Saturday, March 5, 2011


Tonight I'll be on that hill 'cause I can't stop
I'll be on that hill with everything I got
Lives on the line where dreams are found and lost
I'll be there on time and I'll pay the cost
For wanting things that can only be found
In the darkness on the edge of town

Bruce Springsteen

Thursday I went on a hike called Camelback. I really like this hike. I have done it once before a little over a year ago. It was my first challenging hike I ever did. It has all of the elements you look for in a hike. Some climbing, some scrambling on the rocks, some sandy washes, water, and just fabulous views. You take a van about 25 minutes away from campus into the Gunlock area. We took a really big, fun group including some Camelback virgins. There were also 4 really fast hikers who did the more remote and challenging areas of this climb. One thing I really love about the new hiking program is that they always take enough guides so that the group can split into 3 sections. One fast, one moderate, and one shall we say "not as fast."

The payoff on this hike is the two really cool things on the summit of the mountain. The first is the Vortex. It is a very steep, winding, tornado like hole in the mountain. It had a nice pool of water at the bottom for anyone who got in a little deep. It is intimidating and scary but you have got to go in. And by "got to" I certainly don't mean they make you or there is any pressure from others to do it; what I mean is you want the full experience you do the vortex. I think 2 of my group ventured in :)

The second payoff is the two humps on top of the mountain that give Camelback its name. Now being in the no so fast group and taking some extra time to coerce some newbies to keep going up, we were well behind the alloted hike time when we got to the humps. My guide, Matt, who was fabulous, informed
us at the base of the hump that the hike was over. Not so fast my friend. My first time up I hadn't ventured up the hump and I will be damned if I was passing it up this time.

He informed me that I was making the decision against his better judgement. Like not all that much I do in Utah isn't against someone's better judgement? Usually mine. He asked me to make two promises. Not to fall and to promise that we would pick up the pace on the way back. I said I certainly I have no intention of falling, but I'm not promising anything about the pace home.
The first step on to the hump is about 4.5 feet up. So a little leg swinging, and a slight ass grab and push and I was on the hump. It was steep, and high, and falling would have really sucked. But it wasn't about falling, it was, like most things at the ridge, about taking yourself to new heights, So I proudly climbed to the top, raised my hands to the sky, and proclaimed myself the King of the F-ing world.

Then it occurred to me. How in the hell am I getting down off of this thing? I backed down part, flipped over and crab walked a little, and finally put my butt on the rock and kind of awkwardly slid down the rest of it. I'm not going to lie, I was excited and happy to have done it. We meandered our way back to the van, resting when necessary and wrapping up the hike in a dawdling 3 hours and 10 minutes. Or basically around the same time as the fast group was coming out of their stretch class back at the ridge.

So here is how long the self proclaimed king of the F-ing World felt like the king. On the way out we were passed on the trail by a group of 53 seniors on a field trip from their retirement community. One of them asked, " This is an 1.5 hour hike correct?" I slumped my head and replied. Each way for me ma'am. And any shred of king feelings I dragged off that mountain were about to truly be humbled the following day. Saddle Hike awaited me and it was going to bring me to my proverbial knees. But more on that next time... Peace, Love and Humps, Jim

1 comment:

Sabine said...

funny to read my earlier comments about being "the kingof the world" I skipped the F... part.
Cant wait to hear about saddle