Apr 12, 2015

The Y On The Mountain.

I have always been enamored with the Y on the mountain in Provo. I remember as a kid watching out the car window for the first view of it as we drove into the Utah Valley on family trips. Okay, I may still do this at 46 years old :)When I finally was at BYU for college I loved that anytime I was outside I could just look up at the mountain and the Y was always there. For those of you that have never seen the Y mountain in Provo the mountain that the Y is on is so close to the college campus that it is hard to ignore it.

I decided to read about the Y on the mountain and it turns out that it has been there over 100 years. I was also interested to find out that the Y is larger than the Hollywood sign in Hollywood. It is lit up with lights about five times a year. Which, of course, looks SO cool. The original plan was to have the letters BYU on the mountain but it took 6 hours for this brigade of boys in 1907 to just put one thin layer of lime down for the Y and they were so exhausted that they never finished. The Y idea was born from a very clever idea of a member of the administration of the then Brigham Young High School to stop a competition between the senior class and the junior class that could have become ugly. It was a way to bring the students together, it worked, and they probably had no idea what they were starting.

I have always wanted to hike the Y but for some reason I never have. You have to have the right friend to hike the Y with. When we decided to head to Provo for spring break a few weeks ago one of the things that was on my list of things to do was to hike to the Y. My daughter Madeline has hiked it a few times in darkness and in daylight and she assured me it was going to be easy for us to accomplish this goal. So on Tuesday of our vacation at about 3:30 in the afternoon four of my girls and I headed out to hike the Y.

The first thing you do is you drive up to the trail head which is about five minutes from Madeline's Provo apartment. If you can't remember which road gets you to the trail head just drive around for a few minutes and then it will become clear...not that we did that :)

It was not a perfectly clear day but that did not matter to me I was just thrilled we were all doing this together. Natalie and Tatiana were not using the word thrilled in any way. But Miriam and Madeline were appearing to be thrilled so two out of four was good enough for me.

The hike starts on a hill and never ever gives you anything but a hill. Straight up for a mile. See that picture over there? See all the zig zagging that is happening? Yeah, 11 switchbacks. I am not sure if I ever realized what uphill meant until this hike and I met.

I am sure that years from now my girls will be remembering this hike and one of them will say something like, "Remember when we hiked the Y that one time and mom kept talking about how hiking is like life." Yeah, I admit it, it is true, every time I hike I do think about that and I often mention the similarities outloud....things like...

How we are all on the trail hiking through life and how sometimes we have to support each other and remind each other it will be worth it in the end.
Sometimes we have to stop together and just take a breath.
Sometimes we have to open our backpacks and share our Skittles and our water bottles with each other.
Sometimes we have to help each other focus on something other than the pain.
Sometimes we have to say funny things to distract each other from what is really happening. Sometimes we have to stop and admire the views together.
Sometimes we have to ask people coming down how much farther and is it worth it?
See, it is just like life...right? Same questions, right? :)

It took a lot of all of this sort of talking to get my 12 and 15 year old up that trail. For about half of the hike they were not impressed with my need to hike the Y. But the funny thing is about halfway up next thing I knew they were ahead of all of us. Wonder of wonders, my biggest complainer was the first one to the top. Competitiveness trumps whining apparently :)

I was surprised how many people were hiking the trail. Young couples that had date night written all over their hike. Lots of runners passed us as my children were complaining about walking. Some were even young kids just acting like running up and down the Y was an everyday thing. For 4 in the afternoon on a Tuesday I was surprised how busy the hike was.

When I got to the Y the first thing I noticed was cement. I did not expect the Y to be made out of cement. I think I expected smooth soft grass painted white....yeah, rainbows and unicorns much? :) It also was very steep. My girls are daredevils and immediately started sliding from the top of the Y down very carefully on their bums towards the middle of the Y. Then they wanted me to hike back down to the bottom of the Y and take pictures of them looking up....that always happens to me...."Mom take a picture of us doing_____!" I have accepted it :)

You can see the whole Utah Valley stretched out in front of you. Utah Lake. Mount Timpanogas. BYU campus. The view was remarkable.

Of course you all know that no one complains about coming down a hill so that part was delightful. I want to hike the Y again but I am going to have to be very clever mom to figure out how to convince some of my children that that will be a fun thing to do again :)


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