Saturday, August 13, 2011

Y Mountain

Last night Andrew suggested that we hike the Y this morning. Then we saw on facebook that my brother was planning on hiking the Y tonight and that our friends hiked the Y yesterday. At first I thought it would have been nice to coordinate with them but after hiking it I'm glad that we just went by ourselves. It took us two-and-a-half hours to hike it (round trip). It's 1.2 miles up and 1.2 miles down, for a grand total of 2.4 miles. Basically we were moving at the rate of one mile per hour, which is only slightly faster than your average snail. Except that your average snail only moves at 0.03 miles per hour, so we were loads faster! 

Eat our dust, snails!

In our defense, it is a relatively steep hike and I had to force Rachel to walk the whole way and Andrew was carrying Miriam on his back. It was a fun way to spend our morning and we had plenty of time to enjoy the scenery.

Rachel whined the whole way up. We tried to make it fun by counting the switch backs and pointing out plants and bugs and things but there was no distracting her. Miriam also did her share of complaining—she wanted to get down so badly but Andrew told her she had to wait until we got to the Y so she stopped whining about getting down and instead repeated, "Down at Y! Down at Y! Down at Y!"

Eventually she started singing made up songs and forgot about wanting to get down.

Rachel didn't ever stop whining. It's possible I never want to hear, "Are we there yet?" ever again.

But we all survived!

...and we took enough pictures that in the future we'll look back and think about what a good time we had and we'll want to go again. In spite of all the whining and crying our children did. 

Don't say I didn't warn you, Future Self.

For some reason Rachel was petrified to be so high up on a mountain. She kept expressing concern that she'd fall off. I told her that she didn't have to worry because she'd just fall a little ways and then stop but she just couldn't relax.

Even though she was scared she insisted she wanted to climb on the Y so Andrew took her out on it while I hung out with Miriam.

The Y is huge, which is why you can't exactly tell it's a Y we're standing on. It's 380 feet hight and 130 feet wide, making it a larger font size than the Hollywood sign.

I can't believe that for sixty-six years the Y was white-washed by a bucket brigade. That must have taken forever! Now they use a helicopter to carry the paint and even then they only do that every five years.

Miriam wanted to go on the Y, too, but she wanted to go with Mommy. I ended up with two terrified little girls on my lap. You'd think we forced them onto the Y instead of it being the other way around!

Rachel eventually warmed up to the idea of sitting on the mountain. I guess after she didn't fall off after climbing around for half an hour she realized her chances were pretty slim. She got pretty brave. And even smiled.

Then Daddy and I switched places

Here are all three making Y's together, although Miriam's attempt looks a lot like an I.

Much to our children's dismay, we insisted that we couldn't just sit on the Y all day long. We packed everything up and forced them down the mountainside with us, where we once again endured more whining than was probably fair.

Rachel kept slipping and then crying. Miriam wanted me to carry her, not Daddy. Rachel's pants kept falling down. She had to go potty. Miriam had to go potty. They were hungry. They wanted ice cream.

And then something magical happened and Rachel started enjoying herself. 

She'd slip and slide on her bum for a few feet and would laugh instead of cry. She suddenly became very interested in every rock and butterfly that crossed her path. She was running and skipping (and sliding) with a huge smile on her face. Climbing fences, chasing lizards, picking flowers...

I don't know what brought on this change, but I welcomed it with open arms.


It made the trip down so much more enjoyable!

We were even able to get some decent pictures of Rachel, where she actually looks like she's having a good time instead of like she's being tortured but is forcing a smile because we asked her to.

At some point Rachel and I got separated from Daddy and Miriam. It might have had something to do with the fact that Rachel's newfound wonder at rocks and butterflies was really slowing us down.

When we got to "Turn 1" we were flocked by a bunch of friendly butterflies. They especially liked Rachel and kept fluttering in her face and landing on her clothes. She kept screaming and seemed genuinely scared but later insisted that those were just "happy screams" and "happy tears."

I'm not sure if I believe that 100% because she also asked me if and how "butterflies harm people."

"They don't harm people," I told her.

"But what about their noses?" she asked.

"Those are just for sucking nectar out of flowers."

"Are you sure?"

"Pretty positive, yeah. They're just tickle-y straws."

I had to coax one to land on me in order to prove to her that butterflies aren't dangerous.

While we were sitting there, with butterflies flying all around us, a couple of girls hiked by.

"Do you have a camera?" one of the girls asked. I told her I did.

"Can I take your picture? You guys are just too cute sitting there!"

We made it down about ten minutes after Daddy and Miriam, which was lucky for us because it meant that Daddy had already turned the air conditioning on in the car!

In spite of all the whining we endured it was actually a pretty fun hike. We need to go hiking more often!


  1. I suppose one day before I go completely blind and decrepit, I should hike to the Y. Since my grandma was part of the crew who built the initial Y, and I am pretty sure that my brother and sister C both joined the bucket brigade...I just have never done it.

  2. Wonderful to know she was there for the original building. I was just telling Andrew about that today! But I wasn't sure what year she was at BYU. Or BY High, I suppose.

  3. BY Academy, actually. I am not sure either. Before 1910, anyway.

  4. So, it was 1906. My grandma was born in 1886, so she was 20 at the time. So it was after she graduated from BYA. Whether she was attending BYU or was just the kind of person to volunteer for a fun event like spending 6 hours on the mountainside creating a massive Y is a question that I did not ask her when I had the chance. The whitewashing tradition continued to 1973. I think that Arlene and I got to BYU at the same time, in 1975, which explains why we missed out. It was actually one of the things that I really WANTED to do, having heard fun things about it. (Arlene attended both the University of Calgary and Ricks College before transferring to BYU, fyi.)

  5. I would like a hiking shirt that says "eat our dust snails!" on its back. Also I didn't know they quit bucket-brigading it. :D Good Y!

  6. Hey! Haven't stopped by in a while... The good ol' Y - way to go for making it with two little ones. :)