Thursday, September 29, 2011

Table Rock

What better activity to do with those awesome runner legs of yours then to go hiking for 6 hours?  I say, put 'em to good use! 
So last Friday, me, my sister-in-law, and my friend went on a trek to the top of Table Rock in the Tetons.  No doubt most of you have done this same hike or at least heard of it.  The last time I went, I was 16.  I went with a friend and her whacked-out marathon-running stepdad.  The guy was a maniac and basically ran up the whole mountain with two teenage girls in tow.  To put in bluntly...I hated that man by the end of it.  I loathed him with every inch of my tired body.  And could I have moved my legs after we got back to the car, I would have kicked him.   I normally love being outdoors and hiking, but it was miserable to go up the way he did.  We barely stopped to drink water or eat snacks and me and my friend were in so much pain at the end that the entire experienced was ruined.  So that ended up being my lasting impression of Table Rock.  Looking back, my friend and I joke about it, but it still left a bad taste in my mouth.  Then my new friend, Meieli and my sister-in-law, Keersten, suggested that we three climb Table Rock.  It was time to face the mountain again and I was determined to have fun doing it this time. 
We had to be back to Idaho Falls by about 1 or 2 so Meieli could travel with her family to Utah for the Women's Conference.  Needless to say, we had to start early.  We left our homes at 4 in the morning.  We got to the base at about 6am and it was pitch dark.  We knew it would be, so we all packed our headlamps and carried bear spray, just in case.  I was a bit nervous about hiking in the dark and we would be for at least an hour.  But it was the COOLEST way to hike!  First off, it was literally cool, as in the temperature.  Perfect temperature for hiking in my mind.  Second, the woods just seem so mystical at night.  Lastly, the stars!  Oh my, those stars!  I thought I could see them clearly out here in Iona, but you haven't seen them clearly unless you're out in nature, hiking up a mountain. 
And obviously if you're hiking in the early morning, in the pitch dark, you get to look forward to the sunrise.  Not being a morning person, I don't experience sunrises all that often.  This one was neat.  Since our hike takes us east, it looked like we were hiking into the sunrise.  It was beautiful. 
The other really fantastic part about this hike was the company.  Keersten, my sister-in-law, and I aren't just relatives, we're good friends nowadays after spending quite a bit of the summer doing things together; mostly running-related things.  And Meieli, my new friend, is so funny and energetic that it's addicting to be with her.  She reminds me a lot of my best friend throughout high school, Becca.  And that's a good thing, because Becca now lives in Missouri, so guess how often I get to see her. 
So we three girls talked and gabbed and laughed and had a ball.  We got to see some birds that Meieli called "Satans."  I'm sure that's not how you spell it, but it certainly sounded like that's what she was calling them.  They look like minature turkeys.  We also got to see some deer off in the distance.  Luckily, we got to skip out on seeing any bears. 
The whole hike up, we saw no one.  It was stupendous!  When you hike that early, you have the entire trail all to yourself.  Since Table Rock is a popular hike, traffic can get pretty heavy up there later in the day. 
Then, as a reward for all your hard work, Table Rock offers a fantastic summit.  Obviously it's not as high as the Grand Tetons, but it's high enough.  It was actually quite breath-taking to be up there.  We got silly and took some silly pictures at the summit and enjoyed our feat until it was time to head back.  This is when we started see other hikers.  They were all surprised that we'd already summited and they had just begun.  We heard things like "go-getters" and "hard-core" as phrases to describe our awesomeness. 
The way down, for me at least, was much harder than the way up.  There are a lot of loose rocks and so going doing means being careful.  We all slipped a few times, but no major injuries.  As much as my legs burned going up, I think all the soreness I felt the day after was just from coming down. 
So the day ended and we raced back to Idaho Falls so Meieli could join her family on their way to Utah.  Poor Meieli got a speeding ticket.  So, that was lame. 
But the horrible experience from my adolescent ascent up Table Rock has been completely erased and replaced by this awesome experience with two fabulous girls.  I would do it again in a heartbeat!  We even started to make hiking plans for next summer.  I'm so stoked!!

So I say to all you runners (I'm sure at least a handful of people read this) go take your running legs out somewhere and put those muscles to good use.  Go on a hike!

And now enjoy all of our pics from the summit...

Me and Keersten

Keersten and Meieli

Me and Meieli

Yoga Poses!  The is me.  What else do you do at the top of a mountain?

Keersten.  It was kind of scary to do yoga poses where you had to balance like this.  Vertigo big time!

Meieli.  I think she is the only one with any actual yoga experience.

Me again.

Keers graceful.

I can't remember what we were looking at. 

The camera was perched a top two of our backpacks.  Pretty good huh?  This is one with the Grand Tetons in the background....

...and this is one with Driggs (I think) in the background.

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