I have two purposes of this post. One is to review the new hiking shoes Ben and I recently purchased and to emphasize the importance of real hiking shoes for long hikes. And two, to give you the DL on Utah's beautiful, popular and challenging Mt. Timpanogos hike from a first timer's view.
The benefits of hiking shoes (especially for longer hikes) is undeniable. Hiking shoes have a firmer sole that prevent your foot from "draping" over rocks and and bumps. This helps hugely with foot fatigue and injury when on the trail. Think of it this way- if you were to go hiking or even walking on a dirt path with a sock on one foot and a sock with a cheap sandal on the other, which foot would get tired and sore faster? Of course the foot with just a sock. What if it was a cheap sandal and sock on one foot and a flexible, lightweight running shoe and sock on the other? The sandal foot would get tired faster because of the thin sole and lack of support in the rest of the shoe. Now think about a running shoe on one foot and a firm-bottomed, supportive shoe hugging your other foot? I think you get the idea. More between the sole of your foot and rocks with all over support is good.
If you're serious about not only hitting the trails but taking care of your feet then investing in some high quality hiking shoes is the way to go. Your feet will say thank you, which is what mine said on my recent 15 mile, 8 hour hike to the top of Mt. Timpanogos in Utah Valley. My feet were suprisingly happy and I was glad I took the time to find a good pair for my feet.
Ben and I were both really open to any brand of shoe when we first started looking for legit hiking shoes. I hit up 4 different stores and tried on many pairs before deciding on the Oboz Sawtooth Low BDry. And Ben went with the Oboz Sawtooth Mid BDry.
Here's the funny thing about our picks: Ben and I shopped separately but at the same time in Scheels sporting goods and emerged with the exact same shoe! (Although his in a mid-rise top).
My Fit, Feel, Function ratings are as follows:
Fit: 9.3? I have a high arch and could have possibly used a bit more arch support, but I really couldn't find that in all my trying on of other shoes. Laces tighten up easily for a nice snug fit and husband says the hightop version doesn't bother his medial and lateral malleoli (the bony protrusions on either side of our ankles).
Feel: 10 - If you're used to running shoes, hiking shoes feel stiff and clog-like and not that awesome on flat ground, but I promise on the trail it makes a world of difference. The firm sole is firm enough to not feel every pointy spot I stepped on but flexible enough to walk comfortably.
Function: 10 - A made for hiking hiking shoe that performed and fulfilled the measure of it's creation!
Mt. Timpanogos is the second highest mountain in Utah's Wasatch Range and rises to an elevation of 11,752 ft above sea level.
We started our hike from the Timpooneke Trailhead at 6 am. The trailhead is located in American Fork Canyon, at the Timpooneke Campground, along the Alpine Loop Road. You’ll have to pay a fee to enter the canyon and park at the trailhead. Drive through the campground to the far side and park in the lot signed as the trailhead. A vault toilet is provided there. The trail is gorgeous, well marked and maintained. It ascends switchbacks and climbs through alpine meadows and basins. At forks, signs are provided showing the route to the summit. But it's still not a bad idea to carry a map, especially for a first-timer.
We climbed this in early July and there were still snow patches- some slushy and wet. After passing through meadows filled with wildflowers, the trail climbs to what is known as the Timp Saddle. Here you have sweeping views of Utah Valley, and also of the summit ahead. Continue hiking south along the trail and zig-zag up a steep incline to the top of the mountain. This was the scariest part of the hike for me. There are places where one misstep would send you down the sharp edge of the mountain. And looking up made me dizzy!
Mt Timpanogos Summit
An old shack marks the summit. It was constructed by early surveyors who used the peak as a triangulation point. From the summit you have wonderful views in every direction. It's beautiful and worth the climb! Here we took a nice break to eat and take photos.
We returned by backtracking, following the same trail we used to come up. Some hikers choose to continue south along the ridge to the top of the snowfield (about 1/2 mile) and then hike down or slide down the snowfiled to Emerald Lake.
I felt great the whole hike but about 1/2 way down my my knees started hurting really bad, which slowed us significantly. Round trip, the hike took us 8 hours, which is a pretty typical time. I was hoping to do it in under 8, but my knees wouldn't let me!
Take lots to drink, including something with electrolytes like Gatorade and lots of high carbohydrate snacks. We snacked on Cliff Bars, Gu, pretzels, cheese sticks, nuts and sandwiches for the top. Wear comfortable clothes and take a jacket even if you don't think you'll need one, sunblock, and a hat. One thing I wish I would have taken is Ibuprofen, I think that would have helped my knees on the way down.
We went to a family gathering that night and I felt good- I just didn't feel like standing a lot and I thought my legs were going to be sore the next day, but they really weren't! My knees were stiff, but that was the extent of it. The hike was gorgeous and do-able. It's really a nice gradual climb, but the length of the trail is what is probably the most challenging aspect but I would definitely do the hike again.
I love movement and habits that promote health and lifetime wellness. I also like stretchy pants, being outside and good-for-you food! Follow me on Instagram @DawnBrownCoaching for more frequent updates.