Zion Trip, Pt. 2
Wow. I knew Angel’s Landing was exposed and that as a result of its heights and exposed nature it was to be an adventure.
We had been to Zion a few other times but as a family. Our sons are small so we had been (wisely) advised to stay away from Angel’s Landing… until the kids grow up.
But in early March, Kathy and I were going on a girlfriend adventure vacation and Angel’s Landing would be the “big star” on our itinerary, around which everything else revolved.
We got to the trailhead around 7 am to get an early start. We highly recommend that hikers start early. This way they’ll get to enjoy the views and the trail in solitude. I can’t imagine what it would be like hiking the narrow ridge to the top of Angel’s Landing if there was a line of hikers coming up and down. You don’t go hiking in a national park’s backcountry to be pressed and crowded. You can sleep in another time. (Or so we thought…)
We started up. It was pretty mild. A climbing and switchbacking trail to be sure, but nothing too tough to start. However, we had hiked to Observation Point the previous day which was 8 miles roundtrip and a gain/loss of 8,000 vertical feet. So we were “warmed up” anything this hike would throw at us.
Angel’s Landing is a 5 mile, roundtrip hike. For the first two miles, it’s a climbing trail but on a good trail that isn’t scary. Then, at two miles, the trail’s personality changes, big-time.
When we arrived at a narrow slick rock ridge that had chains/cables on which to hold, I thought to myself: “This must be where we get our money’s worth… This must be what all the fuss is about.” Even though I’d heard it was exposed and that small children shouldn’t go on the hike due to heights, for some reason I wasn’t mentally prepared for the reality.
I think it’s safe to say that Kathy, a flatlander from Omaha, was even more surprised than I was.
We ooohed and aahhhed and took in the views in all directions. I knew we hadn’t received the prize yet, but I think Kathy thought we had reached the end. Certainly the views were breathtaking and spectacular. The views at that point would have met my expectations in terms of scenery, no doubt.
But then when I was capturing some video I noticed that the cables/chains went all the way up, much further over a knife’s edge and to a precipice about a quarter mile away, yet.
Kathy’s response when I pointed out the cables that followed the very narrow steep ridge to the “top” was priceless. But she’s a trooper and we were off.
It was a thrilling adventure that left us anxious at times. The views at the top, and all the way up and down really, were striking and beyond words. The beauty was worth the hike, and all of the anxiety is stirred in us.
For an 8-minute clip of the “middle” of the Angel’s Landing Hike/Trail: