Thursday, October 21, 2010


Less 'ahhhh' in terms of a sigh-like pronunciation because well, we were scared. So instead, perhaps UtaHHHHHHH!

Backpacking and bathing in a river - the trip had inspired rugged whimsy and I think this hike was all part of the package. Simply put, we were doing it and we were hardcore.

Regardless of our thwarted original plans, we had always intended on hiking Angel's Landing in Zion. We were somewhat aware of the intensity of the hike, but I think for the most part we were all welcome to a challenge, if even a bit of a scare.

The hike started out simple enough, including man-made paths and gradual switchbacks. It was a slow process to get to where it turned to a questionably-safe and narrow catwalk high above the valley below. And it wasn't until I gripped the safety chains on a three foot-wide section that dropped 1200 feet to the bottom of the canyon, that the feelings of terror started to set in. In the same breath, a middle-aged man or woman would come effortlessly bounding down towards me having summited and I would say to myself, "Wait a minute. If they can do it, I can do it."

I had to say this to myself over and over and over again. Thrice I actually sat down on a rock, looking down to the bottom palms sweating - making me even more nervous because I couldn't grip the chains with sweaty hands - and said I Give Up. I'm done. I don't need to prove this to anyone. People have died on this hike, for crying out loud (but actually said with a few swear words and possibly heavy breathing). And each time I would stand up and begin again with new found confidence and gusto.

Here's a little shot of the final narrow climb to the stop that I stole from someone's online photos.

Because we were all so terrified and our sweaty palms were wrapped around those safety chains, I believe its safe (pun intended) to say we didn't snap a lot of photos.

I tell you what, when I reached the top the feeling wasn't Victory it was additional terror for I knew the route in getting up there and the route down was no different. I don't even remember the 360-degree panoramic stunning beauty that I'm told the top beholds.

In any case, I will say having completed the hike and not died, now that I can safely put my feet on ground where the furthest I can fall is on my own bum...I am glad I did it. It was terrifying. Tyson even said so. And I think the group relished in the fact that if Tyson thought it was terrifying well then surely it IS. Because Tyson is a manly forest ranger, or something. But I am glad that I pushed myself and I am glad that I am alive. Much the same as my diving experience was in Australia, it is in these moments where you achieve a strong sense of feeling alive. I don't need those feelings very often and in fact I may have filled my quota for the year. But I'm alive and I did it and I'm happy.

At the bottom, we came across this tarantula who was crossing over the trail!

We celebrated with Mexican food and margaritas. NOT cooked on a camp stove.

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