This past Friday Spencer, Greg and Ellie took our Lakehouse patients to hike Mt. Timpanogas. For those of you who have not experienced this beautiful trek down in Utah County it is truly a sight to see. The hike consists of 7 miles uphill to the area known as the Saddleback, as it resembles a saddle like shape of a horse mount, and returning with 7 miles downhill back to the parking lot, and for Greg a Diet Coke.
This year Utah received much less snow than usual so more of the trails and mountain sides were exposed allowing beautiful wildflowers of all colors to be seen. Many mountain goats live in the high elevation of Timpanogas and at times moose can be spotted gathering near mountain run off streams. Once a year, Greg gathers a willing group of participants to make the journey. This year we had some phenomenal hikers that were able to maintain a stable and steady pace to the top. As we neared the Saddleback, a family of mountain goats gathered near vegetation to feed. We saw five mountain goats that day, the first was a rather popular guy among the hiking community for his prominent horns followed by a family with a few week-old kids.
Lots of laughs and jokes about Greg’s calves and embracing the beauty of the outdoors took place that day. Patients were given the prompt at the beginning of the hike to find an item that represented something they are wanting to let go of. When we reached the summit, they were then given the chance, if ready, to throw the item off of the 11,752 foot canyon or if not ready keep the item and carry the weight of it back down to let go when seen fit. Many patients with great intensity threw their symbolic items off of the mountain top that day, continuing their process in recovery of letting go.
What did you take away from the hike to Mount Timp?
“Greater appreciation for nature and being able to connect more with nature since I am sober. Also I found a deeper connection with my fellow residents. I think I bit off too much to chew by carrying a bunch of water in my backpack for everyone and myself. Soon after we started the hike I was so exhausted with too much strain on my back. I thought to myself, I just started the hike and already worn out! I was thinking, how am I going to do this with all this water on my back? I got to the point during a break and realized, I needed to reach out and ask people to help carry some of the water. It was uncomfortable asking for help, but I couldn’t have finished the hike without it. I notice after asking for help, I felt more a part of the group. So, I would say I took away the realization that people want to help each other, but it is hard to recognize when someone needs a hand. So sometimes you just have to speak up” – Ryder
What was your favorite part of the hike? Also, it was your second day at Ascend, how was that?
“My favorite part was when we got to the top. The view was so beautiful, breathtaking, and amazing. It was my second day at Ascend. I had just traveled very far and my first day at Ascend I got a blistering sunburn. So I would say the hike was one of the hardest things I have ever done. But I did it. Also I was coming from sea level and so the altitude made the hike a lot harder for me. I was really amazed that I did it. There were so many moments that I thought I couldn’t finish, but I did.” – J-Money
Tell me about the item you chose to carry up the mountain. Did you throw it off into the canyon or carry the weight back down with you?
“I did the exercise differently. I threw a bracelet off the mountain. It had my initials and my ex boyfriends initials. I was wearing it all through treatment while trying to cut the soul tie that I had with him. So, I chose to throw it off. I wanted to get rid of my old identity I had when I was in a relationship with him. Afterwards, I felt relieved, sad, and almost shocked that I actually did it. Most importantly I felt grateful. No regrets.” – Stevie