This was taken in July 2015. So the story goes…
It was a rare day off from Old Navy. Rachel and I were both off. Since we didn’t already spend enough time together at all hours of the day, we decided to go for a hike. I hadn’t ever hiked Ensign Peak, despite living in Salt Lake for a long time.
So up we went. To Ensign Peak, to the top of the valley.
It was a hot day, but we were prepared. We both had sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, bottles full of ice water, phones in case something went wrong, and comfy clothes. We got to the trail head and decided whose stuff would stay in the car, and what we would bring. We left our water in the car, because we didn’t want to have to carry it. I don’t ever remember thinking that would be a bad idea. (It didn’t end up being a bad idea. We both lived.) One thing neither of us were prepared for was the accidental pace I set.
If you haven’t climbed Ensign Peak before, I will explain. It’s a very short hike, and really only takes about an hour if you climb it at a normal pace. There is quite the elevation gain in the short walk. For some reason, that hot day, I decided to basically run up the hill. I do this, for some reason, every single time I climb Ensign Peak. It’s not good for the people with me who wanted just a leisurely walk up the hill and instead got an intense cardio workout.
Anyway, it was a really hot day and I ran up the hill. Not literally, but I was pretty quick. I realized what I was doing and tried to stop halfway to rest for a second. The rest was short lived, as we both agreed we would just rest at the top. Up we climbed, hoping there was at least a breeze at the top of the hill.
We climbed over the final crest of the hill, and to our dismay, there wasn’t much of a breeze, but there was a great view. That’s the thing about Ensign Peak. It’s almost a high risk, high return thing, except not because there isn’t risk, just a big hill.
So…that comparison doesn’t work. At all. Moving right along…
The hike up on this particular day was a lot of fun. Rachel and I spent a lot of time together at the time, but we didn’t really have a lot of time at work to talk about what was going on besides work. So we chatted about what was going on in our lives and how various things were going. We saw various things on the trail on our way up as well. Most comically, we both got quite scared when we thought there was a snake in the bushes…it turned out to be a bunny. We actually had to stop and laugh for a solid 5 minutes when that happened.
We decided to stay at the top for quite a while. We just stood there and talked and took in the view. It was so beautiful. We decided we needed to document the ascent by taking pictures on our phones. I mean, obviously we had to. So, yes, I made Rachel take this picture of me. I probably had some grand plan to use it on Facebook or something, but apparently I never got around to it. Whoops. I also think we stayed at the top for so long because we didn’t actually want to hike back down. What goes very steeply up, must very steeply go down, as the saying (and physics law…) goes.
The thing you can’t see in this picture is the rest of the valley I am looking at. It really is a beautiful valley. If I remember correctly, there was a rainstorm rolling in, and so there were rain clouds over most of the south end of the valley. It made for a really cool sight. It was also a nice reverie from the hustle and bustle of my life that played out day-to-day in the valley below me. I was able to stop and think about nothing for a minute, and that was incredibly refreshing. And yes, although this picture is totally staged, I was still looking at the valley in all its wonder.
Sometimes, when there is rain or snow in the valley, I always try to look up to the top of Ensign Peak and wonder what the valley below looks like from that vantage point. Sometimes, when I’m having a rough day, I catch a glimpse of the monument on top of Ensign Peak from across the valley, and so badly want to be on the top of the hill, looking down on what I’m avoiding. Either way, I should probably hike more in the Salt Lake valley.
I’ve hiked Ensign Peak on other occasions, and I always come to the same conclusions. 1) The Salt Lake Valley, on a clear day, is actually a very beautiful place, 2) I need to hike more, and 3) Saying, “I can see my house from here!” is always funny. Sorry, not sorry.
When we finally decided to leave the top of the hill, it was a little sad. We had to go back to our scheduled days, whatever those were. Rachel set the pace on the way down, probably so I wouldn’t run down the hill. But coming back down that hill meant I had to go back to laundry, or errands, or the next shift at work. Whatever it was, I didn’t really want to go back to it. I was very much content staying on top of the hill and just avoiding all responsibilities. But alas, we came back down, and kept moving forward. It was a fun afternoon spent with a friend, and I will always remember it. And not just because of the picture. 🙂
(Okay maybe 1000 words is actually really hard…)