Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Crimson Trail

Last April during conference, Paul V. Jonhson of the Seventy mentioned hiking up the Crimson Trail in Logan Canyon. He said, "The Crimson Trail in Logan Canyon is one of my favorite hikes. The main part of the trail creeps along the top of tall limestone cliffs and offers beautiful vistas of the canyon and valley below. Getting to the top of the cliffs isn’t easy, however. The trail there is a constant climb; .and just before reaching the top, the climber encounters the steepest part of the trail; and views of the canyon are hidden by the cliffs themselves. The final exertion is more than worth the effort because once the climber is on top, the views are breathtaking. The only way to see the views is to make the climb." To read his entire talk, click here.
I remember listening to this talk and wondering why number one, I had never heard of this hike, and number two, why I had never done it! Right then, I told myself that I was going to hike the Crimson trail so I could experience that breathtaking view for myself. Last Friday, Lance had the day off and I wanted to do something fun outside before the weather gets too cold. I remembered wanting to go on this hike and we decided that that is what we would do.
My wonderful in-laws were willing to take Will for a few hours so we could go on this hike. Most places online said it should take about 1 1/2 hours complete. A friend of mine told me that it took her 3 hours, but they stopped for a lunch break and had small children. So we told the parents we'd probably be gone around two hours or so and headed off on our way.
We were told the trail began at Guivanah-Malibu Campground so that is where we drove. After driving around for a bit, we finally had to stop and ask someone where the trail began. The road was blocked off and so we would have to walk to the start of the trail. And because that campground was a national forest, we would have to pay $7 to park there. So we parked our car at the Wind Caves and walked over to the start of the trail.
Not far into our hike, we came to a fork in the trail. The right side went down slightly, while the left side went up. I decided to take the left route, which took us up the east side. The trail is classified as an "intermediate" trail, but I'm pretty sure I thought I was going to die. If that is considered intermediate, then I don't think I ever want to attempt a difficult hike. Poor Lance. He had to listen to me complain the entire way up. My knees were on fire and my legs were shaking shortly into the hike.
A little ways up the mountain, we came across two girls on their way down the trail. They seemed surprised that we were hiking up this way. After passing 3-5 more groups of hikings going the opposite direction as us, I was convinced that we took the harder route up. Everyone else was hiking up the west side and doing down the side we came up. We must have chose the more difficult way. Though after hiking down, I don't think that one way is necessarily any easier. I'm sure they are both difficult.
The trail was very steep and never seems to level off. I took frequent breaks, trying to will my legs to move a few steps further. When we finally got to the top and the canyon opened up, it was AMAZING. I was so happy that I started frolicking about like an idiot. Suddenly I had all the energy in the world and I felt like I had accomplished an impossible task. I could have sat up there for hours resting and enjoying the scenery. Unfortunately, it took us a lot longer than we expected to get to the top so we didn't get to linger long.
I made it!
I think we chose on of the absolute best times to go. While it was hot and I was sweating like crazy, there was an occasional breeze to help cool us off. Plus the leaves had changed colors and the trees looked incredible. I just loved looking at all the bright colors and enjoying the world we live in.
While we were walking along the great wall, we ran into two other hikers and we stopped to chat for a bit. One had had open heart surgery just last summer and was out here hiking. Talk about strength! Made me feel like a bit of a pansy. At that point we thought we were going to start the decent down and start making our way back to the car. As we continued walking, the ground stayed level and the trail just took us further and further away from our car.
 We ended up hiking almost all the way to third dam before the trail started to make its way down the mountain. We got down to third dam and discovered that it was 1.5 miles to get back to our car. I was seriously considering heading to the road and finding someone to drive us the rest of the way.
We finally made it back to the car 3 hours after the time we had started, water bottles empty, and muscles aching. I figured I should probably stretch a little bit before getting into the car but I could barely move to touch my toes. My back was so tight, I bet I couldn't even reach my knees!

Every muscle in my body ached for the rest of the day, but I sincerely enjoyed the hike and even think that I would like to do it again sometime.

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