This trip was about as last-minute as you can get. We decided to hike to the north peak of Mount Nebo Friday afternoon, and left my house around 4:30 PM and headed towards the Nebo Loop in Payson – planning to stop for food along the way.
It turns out, there is only really one place to get fast food on the road from Spanish Fork to Payson, and once we realized that we had passed it we backtracked to it. It’s a Burger King that is attached to a Chevron station. We place or orders, buy some gatorade and misc stuff, and then head back into the car to head to the trailhead.
Chris drives a TDI Jetta, and he takes great pleasure in getting as many miles out of each drop of diesel that he can. I guess part of getting high mileage must involve keeping your tank really low, because after twenty minutes of driving up the hills on the Nebo Loop, his car informs us we have a range of only 5 miles left. A few more turns later and it’s at 0 miles of range left. The tough part about driving a diesel car is that even if you have the lungs and the hose and the lack of morals that would allow you to siphon gas from someone – you are going to have a hard time finding another vehicle in the middle of the wilderness that takes diesel. Chances are if you find one, it’s pulling a hunting trailer and has a 4:1 gun-to-person ratio… so we decide to turn back and get some diesel in his car. Man… If ONLY we were just at a gas station…
We end up starting our hike about 90 minutes later than we had wanted to, but decided to keep going anyway since the people’s GPS tracks we saw showed it only being 4.5 miles to the summit and we tend to hike at least 2.5 or 3 miles per hour – so we could still make it up there by dusk or shortly afterwards…
I recorded my GPS track of the same route that guy we were following used.
Here’s his track, which shows the route we took but lies about how long it is:
On the west face of the ridge, the wind was blowing strong and was bitterly cold. The moment you crossed over to the east face of the ridge the wind was completely gone. As luck would have it, much of the route is on the west face of the ridge (perhaps because people tend to hike early this in the day, so being in the shade in the summer would be nice, but I’m not convinced that the person who put the trail up originally thought things out much since it has a lot of spots where you go down a few hundred feet only to immediately climb back up that same amount).
We reached the summit and took a few pictures of ourselves with the lights behind us, and then I set up and took a panorama. Normally, I shoot several exposures and blend them for an HDR panorama. In this case, there wasn’t a need for HDR. To avoid spending the entire night up there taking images for the panorama, I cranked up the ISO to 6400 and used 8 second exposures. I shot at F/8 at the hyperfocal distance of the lens because the depth of field is important for these things. The end result is the 360×180 Panorama of Mount Nebo at Midnight – lit by a nearly full moon.
It was extremely windy at the summit, and the wind was very cold – so by the time I was done shooting this I was having a hard time even moving my fingers. Some parts of the panorama are degraded because the wind shook the camera, but overall I think it gives a good impression of what it is like up there at night. It’s a nice view – better than the view durring the day in my opinion. Now… had I know that we wouldn’t be getting back to my house until 4:30 AM – I think we would have hiked something shorter instead.
I really need an Ultrawide Angle lens for this kind of thing. If anyone reading this feels like sending me around eight-hundred bucks, I’ll go buy an UWA lens and I’ll take as many 360×180 panoramas of your house that you want