Wasatch Front, which is the mountain range that forms the backdrop of just about anything in Northern Utah. The mountains just become part of life here: we look at them, we talk about them, we go for hikes and drives in them, and, for some reason, we adorn them with 380 feet high concrete letters.
Y Mountain in Provo is BYU's (my alma mater) pet mountain, which sports aforementioned giant letter. I am not going to give you a history and culture lesson on how and why this happened, but I will let you read all about it here.
All you need to know for the purpose of this exercise is that "Hiking the Y" is an integral part of the BYU experience. Something so ingrained in BYU culture that girls hike it in their formal dresses during homecoming, and I think it might even be part of new student orientation. It is a huge part of BYU culture, and somehow, something that Nick and I both managed to graduate from college (twice, on Nick's part) without doing. It was time.
So, on my 22nd day of this project, up the mountain we went. And it was hard.
I need to tell you that girls not only do girls do this hike in ball gowns, I once (very briefly) went out with a guy who used to run up to the Y for exercise and fun (!!!). The trail only 1.2 miles (1.9 km) long, but my goodness, that was the hardest thing I have done in ages.
Did I say it was hard?
Some of you are probably giggling and rolling your eyes at this point, because my goodness, it's not that hard!
I was never it the greatest shape to begin with, but then pregnancy really did a number on me. Between five months of morning sickness, and four months of just being huge, plus the recovery after having a baby sliced out of my body, I've just spent the past year being a nice and round little potato on my couch. Try rolling that little potato up a trail that rises 1000 feet over one mile, and you get a very frustrated Tamsin.
It was a hot night after a hot day in July. There was a thunderstorm brewing across the valley, and the air on the mountainside was close and humid.
I whined. I almost cried. I hyperventilated. My ankles hurt so much that it was agony just putting one in front of the other. I stopped at each and every one of the 10 switchbacks and usually halfway in between. And sometimes halfway between halfway.
I thought about quitting. I thought about giving up, turning around and making up another project for day 22 ("Oooh, I could buy red lipstick! I've always wanted red lipstick!"). But as it happened, the only thing harder than dragging myself up that mountain, was admitting to myself that I had failed.
So with Nick's endless encouragement, patience and badgering, I somehow kept putting one foot in front of the other ("I can do hard things, I can do hard things!") and made it to the top.
I made it to the top!
(Let me take a brief moment to point out that my face is normally not that lovely shade of puce. Let me also point out that this photo is of me sitting on top of the Y!)
No, friends, a hiker of steep mountains I am not. My knees almost gave out about six times on the way back down again, and it was dark by then, so I had to hike by flashlight, but I did it. I am now a member of the illustrious club of (tens of thousands of) people who can say "Oh yeah, I've hiked the Y. Did you know the surface is super bumpy?"
And I am the president of the "Never-doing-that-again" club.
But I did it!
Top image found here.