Thursday, March 8, 2007

Moonlight Madness

My roommate, Char, and I were talking a few months ago about hiking the "Y." We decided that it would be so cool to go at night, preferably when the moon is out. Being the forward thinking people we are we set it for March. It should be thawed out by then right? Well . . . no actually, but at least it wouldn't be quite as cold.

We mention our plan to our friends, Seth, Alex, and Pavio. Set the day for the first full moon, (I think there is a second one this month). As fate would have it, it happened to be on a Saturday. Of course, our plans are never set in stone, so we are unsure if it will actually happen until 9:30 pm the night of the adventure. Pavio isn't able to make it, but the other four of us pile into Char's little white car and we drive to the parking lot beneath the "Y."

The parking lot is pretty full of cars, something we think to be quite odd. The four of us set off, past the fence and onwards up the icy and snow covered trail. I'm not a particularly fast hiker. I like to take my time and enjoy the view and the beauty, but my friends are determined to get to the top as fast as possible, so they keep encouraging me to walk faster.

About fifteen minutes into our hike we pass some people on their way back down. "You are almost there," they tell us.

Fifteen minutes later:
"It's not that much further," says Seth, the only experience "Y" mountain hiker among us.

Four more switchbacks later, he says it again. "It's really not that much further." The rest of us are getting tired of hearing this, as the trail is getting steeper with each turn we make.

Finally, the trail splits into two sections. It looks like one trail goes the more direct way and the other continues with the switchbacks. We opt for the direct route as we are all sick of the blasted switchbacks at this point.

We find ourselves at a dead end. We look around in the moonlight and are able to make out a trail straight up from where we are. The snow is several inches deep with a nice crust on the top. We climb straight up.

Several yards and a few near death experiences later we find ourselves at the actual trail. Looking down to where we just climbed from we realize that we just hiked the "Y", literally hiked straight up the "Y".

We sit there on the trail, the warmth that we produced while climbing slowly slips away as we eat granola bars and drink water. All of Provo lies before us, lights and cars beautifully spread out across the valley.

My inner wolf calls to me and I take the opportunity to howl at the moon, (this is actually a running joke with me and my friends. They say I am a werewolf because I always know when the full moon is. I don't know about that, but I do like the moon).

The trip back down is faster. I am in the back for a while, but only to judge how slick the trail is. When the path is clear of ice and snow I let myself run down the frozen trail. The moonlight casts shadows across the ground, dancing in the brush and making patterns in the snow. The air is cool and crisp, but a hat becomes too warm just as it did on the way up. We pass another group of people, and we pass on the message of "you're almost there." This time at least they are a lot closer than when we heard it.

The parking lot is still full, which we can't figure out since we've only seen two other groups of people, each only big enough to fill one car. We climb back into the car, and drive back home.

It has been a night of moonlight and fun.


Jen said...

I have several thoughts about this.

1- I'm glad to see "madness" in something other than a phrase containing the word "March."

2- I like your writing style.

3- Every woman should inherently know when the full moon is. Its a feminine entity and when a woman is psychologically healthy it governs her female rhythms.

4-I liked the allusion to Clarissa Pinkola-Estes. Rock on post-doctoral Jungian analysis chick!

5-How come I never have friends with cool names like Pavio?

6-What is the deal with Y-hikers always saying you are almost there? Is it some type of vindictive impulse since they almost died on the way up the cliff face? "You are almost there...just 37 more switchbacks, and then 3 more." Maybe its just because its faster on the way down? Did you say "almost there..." to hikers who were on their way up?

7-Say hello to Charlotte for me. She really should go by Little Lotte instead of Char. Phantom of the Opera & Jurassic Park can & should be related to as many things in life as possible.

8-I am totally unappreciated in my time. (see #7).

9-Why does the comment word verification space give me a drop down menu? Should I pick gruxml, oobreip2 or ugfrxb? Weird.

10- OK, ugfrxb did *not* work. I'm going to go with vqqpa. Hold onto your butts.

Mary said...

5. Pavio is just his nickname. His real name is Paul.

6. Yes we did say "almost there . . ." but that's because they really were almost there. They only had like three switchbacks left.

7. Char is sometimes called Bobcat. I'm not really sure why, but when we first started playing frisbee Scott started calling her that.

9. Um, that's really weird.

Coach said...

Are you sure the cars were empty?

Mary said...

The cars weren't empty. But it was still kind of funny.