It takes just under five hours to hike to the top of the east summit of the Broads Fork Twin Peaks. I've endured more difficult five-hour stretches but only if it involved a Woody Allen movie marathon.
Otherwise, it's the longest five-hour segment ever.
As I reached the summit Monday, my son, Preston, was already there, looking across the saddle to the west. What was he looking at?
The other twin, naturally.
I hadn't yet had time to unwrap my victory Clif bar, and already he wanted to see the west peak, too. "I didn't come all the way up here to see the Twin PEAK," he said. "I came to see both of them."
So there I was, choosing between ruining the trip or dragging myself even farther.
All in the name of revenge.
To understand this story, you'll need some background. Two years ago, my friend Mike Candrian and I set out to hike to the top of the Twin Peaks, which sit along the southeast side of the Salt Lake Valley. There's something insolent about them. Records say even hearty Mormon settlers had to take two days to get to the top and back.
Nowadays, with trails, it's a long day hike. So we left with all the necessary equipment on a summer day in 1998: water bottles, hiking packs, energy bars, sandwiches, sunscreen and, of course, a dog-eared copy of "Hiking the Wasatch."
We were predicting a day to remember — which it was. When we got to the Broads Fork Meadow, we couldn't decide whether to angle left or right to get to the top. We went right and never made our destination. A torrid rain-and-lightning storm arose and ran us off the mountain.
On the second trip, we discovered the storm wasn't the only thing that kept us from reaching the top on the first try. Small detail: When we went right, we ended up trying to climb the wrong mountain.
We made it down safely, but I lost a hat, sunglasses, a perfectly good layer of skin and partial mobility in my right knee. And, of course, we both lost our dignity.
Which we took personally.
So on Monday we made our second attempt.
Unlike the first try, this one wasn't so dangerous. There was still shale to contend with, as well as boulder hopping and some moderate hand-foot climbing. And yes, the wind was something in the range of 60 mph on top.
But nothing especially scary.
Except for the three-foot rattler we had to skirt around.
When we got to the meadow, we went left instead of right and, sure enough, three or so hours later, we were at the top. I was happy and tired and feeling vindicated. Problem was, Preston, Mike, his son Rob, and friend Jacob Haussler were all determined to hike to the second peak, as well.
"It can't take more than a few minutes," said Jacob.
"See ya on the way back," I said.
At that stage, I was thinking of dying on the mountain like George Mallory, only to be discovered in 75 years.
But faced with the prospect of being mocked even worse by my hiking partners than the mountain itself, I conceded. Fifteen minutes later we were at the second summit. You can see Sandy, Murray, Magna, Salt Lake City, West Valley City, West Jordan, Draper, Bluffdale and all of Larry H. Miller's dealerships, including the ones in Boise. To the south are stunning views of Little Cottonwood Canyon and Lone Peak.
The only other way to get a view this good is to book the afternoon flight to Denver.
On the way back, there were a few minor problems. We glissaded down some snow fields to avoid most of the shale. It worked pretty well until I hit a large rock that I had mistaken for a snow mound. That left me limping the rest of the way. But we didn't get any sudden storms, and the rattlesnake we saw on the way up had gone off to terrorize someone else.
Nine hours after starting, the hike was over. We had finally beaten the mountain. And this time I still had my shades at the end.
Total group losses for the two trips combined: two hats, two pairs of sunglasses and partial mobility in my right knee.
In the end, I could only think of two pieces of advice for anyone planning to hike the Twin Peaks.
First, hang a left at the meadow.
Second, make sure you get there on the first try.
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