In the summer of 2008, Kim and I flew to Utah to visit our two daughters and families! While visiting Inez, my oldest; her family talked me into going through the Mt Timpanogos Caves. I have been through the Carlsbad Caverns; and the Oregon Caves. This should be a lot of fun! I thought. So we made our drive up the canyon. At the Forest Service station, the parking lot was full, so we parked in the lot farther up the road. When I got to the ticket counter, I asked for 6 tickets. “Your hike will be 10 o’clock” the Ranger told me “and you will enter the caves at 11:30”. “We don’t want to go on the hike, we just want to go through the caves” I said. She looked at me and said “You aren’t from around here, are you.” She then pointed to the top of the Mountain and said “you have to hike to the top of that mountain to enter the caves!”
Standing there I took a split second to mentally contemplate what I was expected to do. It was over 100 degrees outside and at the time I weighed 345 pounds! The hike was a mile and a half rising up 1100 feet in elevation. “NO WAY!!!” I said as I looked at my family. After about three minutes of desperate and pitiable begging, I gave in. “how come you didn’t tell me about the hike beforehand!” I asked “because you would have said no.”, they responded, and I knew they were right. I bought a large bottle of water and up the mountain we went! I did pretty well the first quarter-mile then I started getting tired. So every one hundred feet or so, I would stop and rest, then stop and rest and stop and rest. We did this all the way up the Mountain! At about the half-way point, we ran into a Ranger who was coming down the mountain. We talked to him for a minute, then we continued with our hike. I noticed the Ranger was following us, I guess he thought I was going to have a heat stroke or a Heart attack. I have a very strong heart, and I wasn’t worried about heat stroke, it was my legs that really bothered me. During our hike up I was a nervous wreck! I had two very young grandkids with us and they were always getting close to the edge. This trail had no fencing or guard rails, it is hundreds of feet straight down if you fall. We finally made it to the top, and I got to sit down in the shade while we waited for our turn to enter the cave.
It felt so good to enter the cave where the temperature was 45 degrees! The tour was a very thrilling experience, we got to see lots of neat formations and the Ranger seemed very educated and answered all our questions! Each room we went in seemed so different from the one before, it’s incredible to see what thousands of years of running water will do!
As we left the cave, I was thinking this is going to be a piece of cake; it’s downhill all the way! I was feeling pretty good until we got to the half-way point. My legs felt like they were turning into rubber. I had to slow my walk down; this helped, but as we got closer to the ranger station my legs got to where I could hardly stand on them. I finally made it to the end of the trail, however there were still 25 to 30 steps I had to go down. My son-in-law Jerel, had to help me down the steps. At the bottom of the steps was a bench and Jerel sat me down as he left to get the car.
Feeling a bit overwhelmed and even a little proud that I hadn’t died, I hadn’t notice, my family gathering around me. “Grandpa for a job well done we present you with this ribbon!” They said, and then they handed me a red ribbon with the words ‘I survived the climb’
I am now down to 280 pounds, but I have no intentions of ever doing that climb again! Been there, Done that!