Thursday, May 7, 2009

Angels Landing Trail, Zion NP


After our day of easy hiking and stiff necks from looking up so much, we decided to see the park from a higher elevation. Jim wanted to hike the Angels Landing Trail because the description said it was difficult and there were chains the last 0.5 mile to get to the top. It said this was not the trail to attempt if you have a fear of heights. So there I was, psyched and ready for a 2 mile hike up until the part where you had to hold onto chains. I figured 4 miles would be a good workout even if I chickened out. Our friend Debbie was also apprehensive, not because of the height but she was afraid she would not have the stamina to get to the top. We decided to go anyway, and it was worth the effort.

To our surprise, much of the first 1-2 miles was actually paved. We supposed because it was so steep, it would have been nearly impossible to make it in the sandy, rocky soil had it not been hard ground. This initial series of switchbacks is called Walter’s Wiggles, named for the first park custodian, Walter Ruesch , who had the trail built in 1925.P5050030  After this, there is a slight leveling out, and then the chains begin.P5050034


Someone had left their backpacks behind a rock before the last climb, I  assume to make their climb easier. This squirrel was enjoying their chips as we walked by.  A woman came up as Jim was snapping this picture and shooed off the squirrel. She proceeded to zip the pack, but as soon as she walked away the squirrel was back, and probably just chewed through the nylon to get the food.


That last half mile was pretty intense, and a couple times I nearly went back. At one point, a guy behind me told me to just look at my feet, and not over the edge, and that really helped.



Debbie almost made it, but the last section was really steep and her legs were giving out, so she relaxed in the shade until we came down.

P5050055 We really felt like we had accomplished something, until we saw the crowd at the very top. Lots of people hike this trail. We saw all ages and sizes.



The views were incredible from up there, and I have more confidence about being in a high place. I hope I can remember this and maybe have the courage now to go up more than 3 steps on a ladder, but that remains to be seen. One day I hope to get on the roof of our Lazy Daze!P5050061

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Luckily, coming down was easier than we expected.



Our legs were a little sore , but this was a hike we will definitely do  again if we come back to Zion.

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