Tuesday, May 29, 2012

To The Landing of Angels

It only took me A LOT OF YEARS to finally hike the most sought after "bucket list" hike here in Southern Utah, known as Angels Landing.  Nestled in the beautiful and very popular National Park known as Zion.

Several days ago (on May 12th) one of my sweet co-workers, Vonae, asked me to hang out with her on the weekend since her hubby would be out of town.  She came barreling into work Wednesday morning telling me she wanted to do something fun - a hike per-say.  I said, "why not?"  As we began discussing our weekend plans I told her my park pass would soon be expiring this month, so why don't we go to Zion.  Perfect!  I then tell her it's been years since I have really done a hike in the canyon, besides your typical cement trail jaunts that just about anyone can do, and has done.  I begin to mention that I had never done Angels Landing, and that once upon a time I actually wanted to make the "ascent," but have since grown weary of heights.  So, I swept that goal of hiking Angels Landing under the rug to never be swept out again.  However, she was sold on my "once dream" to conquer the landing, and made a quick declaration that this Saturday (May 12, 2012) we would hike all the way to the top.  She assured me she wouldn't let me fall and we wouldn't stop till we made it to the top.  Vonae was very bound and determined to get me to the top of this Landing.  After a day of pondering and much thought I told her that, "I was only kind of young once, so I'll do this."  Then I let the prayers pour out.  "Please don't let me fall....please let people be nice, and please let me hold the chain the entire time.....etc., etc., etc.,"  I also told several people my goodbyes in case I was one of the yearly fatalities up on Angels Landing.  Believe it or not I left my parental's uninformed of this hike, they have me on life insurance, and one word that I was hiking this hike my Daddio would've been a nervous wreck!  (Just a random side note....the small little sidewalk hike known as Emerald Pools has more fatalities then Angels Landing....)
This is not for the faint of heart...
Well worth the hike just to see this majestic view.
Saddie, Myself, and Vonae
What goes up.....must come down.....
Saturday morning came fairly early.  We packed some lunches, picked up Vonae's friend Saddie, ran into a heard of sheep, and before 10:00am we finally found ourselves amongst the crowds of people in Zion National Park.  Apparently everyone, including TWO YEAR OLDS, (which frankly, is FREAKING child abuse that parents would take two year olds on this hike!  My fear of heights was sustained until I saw a two year old running around on the very top unsupervised!!!!) were out hiking this very popular trail.  After riding the shuttle to the wrong hike and realizing .5 miles into the Emerald Pools hike we turned around to catch a shuttle and get off at the correct hike.  So, our warm-up consisted of a fast run with a backpack full of water and food.  We made it to the shuttle just in time to make it to the trail head and began our little journey up to where angels land....or fall - at least that's how I was looking at.....

The hike was up hill consisting of switch backs and beautiful scenery.  Which I stopped at frequently to enjoy the beauty - and catch my breath!!!  And, I just love to talk to people on the trail and find out where they are from.  This nice little trick (of looking at views and talking to tourists) allows me to catch my breath, and keep me from reaching the blasted chains I would soon have to hold on to for dear life!  We finally made it to the "landing."  (Which I wouldn't mind hiking to again and again.)  But, there, in the distance, I could see the chains and sheer cliffs just steps away.  (Okay, some of you have done this hike and might think I am being a bit dramatic - but when you are becoming more afraid of heights the older you are getting - well it was sheer cliffs on BOTH SIDES!)  My two cheerleaders Vonae and Saddie said they would go between me and not let me fall.  This didn't quite comfort me, but somehow I got up the chains.  I never once looked away from my feet and just kept my eyes on the ground, or chain.  Thus allowing me to make it to the top.  I met some very nice people along the way, one old couple who had met us along the trail cheered when I arrived on the very top saying, "YEAH Libby!  You made it!!!!"  I never did catch their names, but they were so kind and sweet - some of the "angels" you meet when hiking this particular trail.  Once on top we enjoyed the view and ate our lunches with the 100 other people who were chilling on top too.

However, what goes up....MUST COME DOWN!  I was not looking forward to the holding-on-of-chains-passing-people-all-the-way-down to the landing, but that was looking like my best (and only) bet...unless by chance there happened to be a helicopter that would fly up and get me...not a chance!  Going down Vonea and Saddie talked the whole time keeping my mind off of the sheer cliffs hanging on both sides of me.  Of course, meeting the handsome Holland hunk half way down the chains is always a huge plus.  He was rugged, blue eyed, accent lathered, and single.  That was about the best ten minutes of standing on an edge of a cliff I have ever had.  Coming down ended up going very quickly, and before I knew it I was back to the landing, and happy to survive my one and only trip to the Landing of Angels.

I guess I can kick this popular Southern Utah hike off my list of goals.  If you aren't afraid of heights I would totally recommend this hike to you!  If you are afraid of heights go with people ("Angels") who will "lift" you to the top with lot's of cheering.  I did meet several nice "Angels" on this hike, and forever will remember them in helping me to reach the top.

4 comments:

Erica Ellen said...

Libby!!! You are SO brave!! that hike is on my bucket list, but I am so scared of heights!!!

Miss Jessie said...

I can't believe you went without me! We definitely need to do the subway and the narrows together. Did you at least exchange emails with the Dutch man?

MinDee said...

Way to go Libby!! I don't know if I'll ever do this hike, but maybe Nate could go with you next time !?! :)

la Liberté said...

I'm not scared of heights, but it doesn't look like a lot of shade. I prefer shady hikes and hikes that are no longer than a couple hours.

Does everyone have a bucket list these days? I don't and don't really want one, so let me know if that's terrible.