The morning was bright and beautiful and a perfect day for a hike. Our family has tried on two different occasions to visit Timpanagos Cave and I didn’t hold out hope that we could get spots on such short notice. Troy encouraged me to call the Visitors Center and amazingly, they had tickets available for the four-o-clock tour, however, reservations were in-person only!
We hustled up the 20 miles to the Visitors Center and got five of the last seven tickets. Success! We had plenty of time to come back down the mountain, visit Cabela’s (the “candy-store” for campers, hunters, boaters and fisherpersons), and eat some lunch. We picked up Grandpa and headed back up to Timpanagos for our tour.
After all our attempts to take this tour, not once did it register that the only access to the cave system is by walking a strenuous 1 1/2-mile-paved trail, which rises 1,092 feet to an elevation of 6,730 feet above sea level. I was a little nervous but I knew we had 1 ½ hours to make it to the entrance. We wondered how many folks don’t make it.
It definitely a butt-kicker of a hike but the trail is paved and the vistas are beautiful. You can see through the canyon to the valley beyond. There was ample shade to stop and take a breather and drink some water. It was slow-going but we all made it to the top with a half hour to spare. It was nice to sit and rest a bit before getting back on our feet for the tour.
Tip: Temperatures outside can be hot, however, temperatures in the caves average 45 degrees year-round, so a light jacket/sweatshirt is recommended. Hiking shoes, lots of water, flashlights and sunscreen are highly recommended. NO strollers or wheelchairs allowed due to the steepness of the trail. There are very steep drop-offs so make sure to keep little kids close.
The 55-minute tour took us to a few different rooms where we learned about limestone and flowstone. There were places where we could look up and actually see the fault line that is responsible for the water that drips down to form the cave features. We saw cave bacon, popcorn, and straws; all features we could easily see during the tour. There was even a point where the guide shut off all the lights and we stood in absolute darkness. She said that even if we are in there for an hour, we still could not see a hand in front of our face.
The hike down the mountain was a bit easier and definitely cooler. It was a great feeling to get back to the truck and sit down. All that hiking worked up our appetites and we were all grateful that dinner with family was just a twenty minute ride away!
We awoke Sunday to another beautiful day in Provo, UT. The kids and I decided to take an “adventure walk” around the area. We traveled on the River Walk to the other side of the campground (we saw a snake – eek) then traveled out to the road to check out the vintage gas sign and pump collection at the self-storage (the collection is huge), then a quick walk into Utah Lake State Park.
Tip: Most snakes in North America are non-venomous but all snakes will bite if provoked. It is smart to always give them a wide berth.
Since this was our last full day in Utah, we decided we would spend the day with Grandma and Grandpa. We enjoyed a relaxing day visiting with loved ones and I had time to write a little and do laundry. Thanks Mom! After an early dinner, we headed south to the small town of Payson, Utah for a concert in the park. My brother- in-law is part of the Payson City Band that was performing that evening. It was the perfect activity to enjoy small-town life, family and some great music. Drake and Mia loved the opportunity to hang out and play chase and Frisbee with their cousins. Warmed my heart!
It was a bittersweet goodbye to our relatives as we went to bed for the last time in Utah for a while.