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Mount Timpanogos: The Words of Mountain Places in “ Timp ” Poetry from the Early 1920s By: Melody Harrison Western States Folklore Society 2011. Photo By: Melody Harrison. Mount Timpanogos. (Photo from Wonder Mountain 4). Origins of the Annual “ Timp Hike”.

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Mount Timpanogos:

The Words of Mountain Places in “Timp” Poetry from the Early 1920s

By: Melody Harrison

Western States Folklore Society


Photo By: Melody Harrison


Mount Timpanogos

(Photo from Wonder Mountain 4)

origins of the annual timp hike
Origins of the Annual “Timp Hike”
  • Towards the end of the summer of 1911, coach Eugene L. (“Timpanogos”) Roberts recruited a co-ed group of hikers to hike Mount Timpanogos.
  • Those who went on the hike thoroughly enjoyed it, the hiking to the top Timp started to become a tradition.
  • Roberts began to promote the hike a little more each subsequent year. Traditions included bonfires, a camp-fire program, trail songs, and unity and camaraderie in hiking.

(Photo from On the Trail 3)

my primary sources
My Primary Sources
  • In the hike’s 11th year (1922), a new trail had been created, and in anticipation of the “Trail Christening Hike,” organizers sponsored a poetry and photo contest on the theme of the mountain. These poems, photos and essays were placed in a publication titled Timpanogos, Wonder Mountain.
  • The subsequent year also saw a promotional publication: On the Trail to Timpanogos: 12th Annual Hike July 20-21, 1923.
my guiding points
My Guiding Points
  • These local poets used a learned mountain rhetoric that stemmed from the Romantic tradition in their poetry.
  • They also used specific place-names of Timpanogos’ features along with expressions of their experiences of recreating on the mountain.
  • By doing so, they helped to make Timp into an identifiable place, unique to the local people, while also situating Timp as comparable to a larger mountain tradition and awareness.

(Photo Courtesy of Angela Harrison

influential ideas
Influential Ideas

Yi Fu Tuan’s—Language and the Making of Place: A Narrative-Descriptive Approach

  • The act of recording place-names and experiences, gives the public access to them and means that they are more likely to “take hold on public consciousness and achieve thereby a higher degree of stability and permanence…” (687-688).

Marjorie Hope Nicolson’s—Mountain Gloom and Mountain Glory: The Development of the Aesthetics of the Infinite.

  • Nicolson discusses the change in people’s understanding for Mountain Landscapes that occurred during the Romantic Movement in Europe (18th & 19th Centuries). She identifies key themes and words frequently used in the writing of that time to talk about Mountain Landscapes.
mountain vocabulary in the 18 th and 19 th century
Mountain Vocabulary in the 18th and 19th Century


  • Admiration
  • Delightful horror
  • Terrible joy
  • Sadness/Solemn
  • Melancholy
  • Ecstasy
  • Wonder
  • Awe
  • Magnificence
  • Pride and humility
  • Sublime


  • Earthquakes
  • Volcanoes
  • Storms
  • Lightning
  • Thunder
  • Fury
  • Monsters/Animals
  • War
  • Pestilence/Famine


  • The great
  • The uncommon
  • Unlimited
  • Spacious
  • Unbounded
  • Eternity
  • Infinite
  • Vast
  • Dreadful beauty
  • Precipices
  • Noble
  • Variety/diversity
  • Strangeness


  • Solitary
  • Silent/Tranquil
  • God/s
  • Demons
  • Hell
  • Sprites
  • Souls of Men
  • Miracles
  • Temples
  • Cathedrals


  • Caverns/grottoes
  • Treasures
  • Colors gold, opal, ruby, amethyst
  • Light/Darkness/shadows
  • Seasonal, summer, winter

Old Timp.

(1st Prize Poem)

By Elsie C. Carroll

 I have seen the peace-dove hover

Lovingly about you

With her misty, outspread wings

Soothing after nature’s

Raging battle.

I have seen you boldly flaunting

Indian Summer splendors:

Yellows, golds and crimsons—

Gorgeousness supreme.

I have seen you white and stately

In an ermine mantle;

Beautiful and chaste;

Serene and cold and still.

No matter how or when I see you

My soul is thrilled with wonderous awe.

You stand so firm;

So steadfast through the ages;

Unchanged through clouds,

Or storms or sunshine;

So like a symbol

Of the Great Eternal.

That’s why I reverence you—

Old Timp.

I have seen your grand old summit

Bathed in moonlight

Soft with opalescent radiance;

Shimmering waves of mid-night silence:

Awesome, infinite, sublime.

I have seen the glory of the morning

Like a golden halo crown you;

Glints of rose and pearl and azure

Like soft regal robes enfolding.

I have seen you somber-browed and pensive;

Pearly hues to purple grown;

Melancholy shadows brooding

O’er your bosom fair.

I have seen you wrapped in shrouds of blackness,

With thunder-crashes

Pierced by jagged forks of flame;

Fearful; vengeful, demon-like;


Photo from Wonder Mountain 3 Decoration by Aretta Young


The Focus on Recreation

(Photo from Wonder Mountain 17)

Due to the tradition of hiking Timp, expressions of that relationship that locals were developing with and on the mountain appeared in their poetry.

(Photo from Hiking Utah 65).


The “Glacier”

(Photo from Wonder Mountain 18).

  • Author Unknown
  • Sliding down the glacier
  • Through the snow,
  • Speeding to the Emerald Lake below
  • Rollowing, skidding, tumbling, laughing,
  • Here we go!

(Photo from Wonder Mountain 18)

(On the Trail 1)


Trail Songs

  • There’s a long, long trail a-winding,
  • Up Timpanogos so grand,
  • Where the glacier white is gleaming
  • And the tall cliffs stand;
  • There are fields of lovely flowers
  • And water-falls ‘neath tall trees,
  • And the Emerald Lake is ruffled
  • By the fresh, cool mountain breeze.

(On the Trail cover)

  • Oh, Timpanogos, mighty Timpanogos
  • Timpanogos, mountain that I love.
  • Mountain with the snow on top
  • Mountain with the snow on top
  • Snow on top. Snow on top.
  • (Farmer 206)

Photo: Participants in the Annual Timpanogos Hike ascend the “glacier” in single file, date unknown.

From Jared Farmer On Zion’s Mount 202


Rarest flowers spread their bloom

Out on Timpanogos.

And shed the daintiest perfume

Over Timpanogos;

Rocks of purple, brown, and green,

With ferns and mosses all between,

Make nooks the fairies haunt, I ween,

Haunts of Timpanogos.

Moonbeams dancing in the night

Upon Timpanogos,

Seem of softer, purer light,

There on Timpanogos,

And oft a fluttering fills the air,

While wood nymphs, flittering free from care,

Steal all your troubles from you there—

Delightful Timpanogos.

If you have not stood at morn

On Mount Timpanogos,

Have not seen the new day born

From Mount Timpanogos;

Have not felt your being thrill,

Have not stood there bowed and still,

Have not marveled—oh, you will—

Climb Mount Timpanogos.

Joy of the Climb

(3rd Prize Poem)

By Mrs. Annie D. Palmer

See that mountain big and grand?

That is Timpanogos.

Wonder-Mountain of the land.

Old Mount Timpanogos.

Farms and orchards at its base,

Above the clouds its shining face,

Between—Oh, wondrous things—and space—

Great old Timpanogos.

Such unhampered swigs of air,

Up on Timpanogos.

Eddying round from everywhere,

Up to Timpanogos.

Amphitheater where you rest,

Toboggan sliding of the best,

And further climbing, by request,

Climbing Timpanogos.

Crystal Spring and Emerald Lake,

There on Timpanogos;

Wondrous glacier creeping slow,

Holds eternal ice and snow;

Here you loiter, loth to go

On up Timpanogos.

(Wonder Mountain 40)


The Timp Hiking Tradition Continues

“According to Loyal Clark, public affairs specialist for the U.S. Forest Service, 500,000 people hike the Timpanogos trail EACH YEAR — the vast majority of them during the summer months when the trails are open and free of snow.

It's the equivalent of rounding up every resident of Utah's four biggest cities — Salt Lake City, West Valley City, Provo and West Jordan — and herding them up the Timp trail” (Robinson).

Photo By: Melody Harrison