Due to a COVID-related lay off, I can once again call myself a college student. I had online classes during the summer and had felt disconnected with the world in general. As fall semester began, the Weber State Ogden campus came alive with students and activity.

Associate Director of Outdoor Programming Daniel Turner gave a brief history of the annual hike that began in 1922. (Lisa Rajigah/The Signpost)
Associate Director of Outdoor Programming Daniel Turner gave a brief history of the annual hike that began in 1922. (Lisa Rajigah/The Signpost)

While walking on campus last week, I stopped to read the flyers posted when I came across a flyer advertising a need for staff members at The Signpost.

I sent an email regarding my interest in working with the paper and included a couple of writing samples. I was invited to the next meeting and assigned to the photo desk.

Hikers took turns holding the flag for the 4.8 mile hike. (Lisa Rajigah/The Signpost)
Hikers took turns holding the flag for the 4.8-mile hike. (Lisa Rajigah/The Signpost)

Each week, assignments that need photographers are listed, and one of the events that piqued my interest was the annual Mount Ogden hike. I assumed this was the hike to the big “W” on the hillside behind Weber State and that it would be a quick hike.

Later, I was surprised to find I was sent information to meet at Snowbasin Resort to begin the hike. We would be hiking 4.8 miles to the saddle, where there would be a program. After the program, we would continue our hike to the gondola, where we would ride back down the mountain.

(Lisa Rajigah/The Signpost)
The hikers rest in solidarity, taking in the views of the nature around them. (Lisa Rajigah/The Signpost)

I was excited to take pictures and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

The day of the hike, I packed a lunch, extra water and camera equipment. I carpooled from Weber State with the community recreation staff, and we arrived at Snowbasin a little before 8:00 a.m.

Teri Bladen and the Campus Recreation crew check in hikers for the annual Mount Ogden hike. (Lisa Rajigah/The Signpost)
Teri Bladen and the Campus Recreation crew check in hikers for the annual Mount Ogden hike. (Lisa Rajigah/The Signpost)

As the morning progressed, there was a bit of rain and a slight breeze, but as we headed up the mountain, the rain subsided and we were left with the perfect hiking weather.

We had gone about three miles when the wind started to pick up speed. At this point, my first angel appeared. His name was Carson. He offered to carry my pack when we began heading straight up the mountain. I protested at first, but eventually my realistic side won the battle over my pride, and I let him help me.

We reached the saddle just in time to hear the program. Daniel Turner, the associate director of outdoor recreation, gave us a brief history of the hike.

The tradition began in 1922. The first group of 350 people had horses that carried the pole for the Weber State flag the hikers planned on installing at Mount Ogden peak. The horses refused to go any further at the saddle. Well, I had a similar experience.

Snow Basin Ski resort was the starting point of the annual hike. Participants gained 3400 feet in elevation.  (Lisa Rajigah/The Signpost)
Snowbasin Resort was the starting point of the annual hike. Participants hiked 3400 feet in elevation. (Lisa Rajigah/The Signpost)

When you are going uphill very steeply, you are focused on going up. You are not thinking about the going down part. The path we took up was a jeep road wide enough for five people to walk together and chat along the way. The trail we took to the gondola was a game trail along the edge. I was petrified! My first 10 steps, I was thinking, “I don’t know if I can do this.”

President Brad Mortensen with the Weber State flag in hand, celebrating the completion of the hike.  (Lisa Rajigah/The Signpost)
President Brad Mortensen celebrates the completion of the hike with the Weber State flag in hand. (Lisa Rajigah/The Signpost)

That’s when the second angel, Mitch, came to my rescue. Mitch encouraged me, telling me I could do this, I would be fine, and to look at the beautiful view. I told him I was not going to look down! He kept me calm and focused on what I was doing, taking one step at a time. Mitch walked behind me and kept encouraging me.

The third angel who helped me was Hayley. She is the manager of the outdoor recreation program and the one who drove our carpool there. Hayley helped me over the rocky parts and would say, “Nice work,” each time I came to a challenging part of the trail. She was patient and kind and helped me to be relaxed as we made our way to the gondola.

I could have kissed the ground when we came to where we could board the gondola down. I was relieved and also proud of myself for pushing through. I could not have done it without Carson, Mitch and Hayley.

I did get some wonderful pictures. It is a beautiful view, once you open your eyes to look.

Participants of the hike take a rest, overlooking the views of the city ahead of them.  (Lisa Rajigah/The Signpost)
Participants of the hike take a rest, overlooking the views of the city ahead of them. (Lisa Rajigah/The Signpost)
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