Monday, June 13, 2011

How I Defied Death and Became an Angel (of sorts)

Note: This post is a little belated because it took awhile to get the pictures in, but I'm posting it anyway. :)


What is a girl to do when her husband has been working long hours, they both finally have a long weekend, and the weather is supposed to be warmer 300 miles away? Take off on a road trip, of course!

Graham and I have been wanting to get away for awhile, but our work schedules hadn't allowed it...until Memorial Day weekend. We decided last minute to take off and go reconnect with each other and the great outdoors in Zion National Park. I have lived in Utah for almost 9 years and I had never been to one of the most popular vacation spots in the state.

We drove down to Cedar city on Friday and relaxed at a hotel there. The next morning, the hotel served a great hot breakfast (YUM!), and then we were off to Zion! We had both been a bit sick, but that didn't stop us from choosing to embark on one of the most strenuous hikes: Angel's Landing. It's 5+ miles of steep switchbacks, a nice walk back into the canyon, more (awful) switchbacks that are named "Walter's Wiggles" to deceptively make them sound fun, and finally, a stroll along a narrow ridge that has HUGE drop-offs on both sides.

But after all the breathless steps and the encouragement from Graham that I wouldn't die, we got our reward: a BEAUTIFUL view of the park, and the knowledge that we had beaten the mountain. Or, better, we had worked with the mountain and ascended to the peak that was seen as unreachable when explorers first came to the area. The name "Angel's Landing" was actually given to the peak because it was thought that only an angel could reach the peak; it was untouchable by man...or so they thought.

(This shot is us on top of the peak in the top picture.)

Of course we didn't stop there. After we got down from the peak, we did two more hikes (MUCH easier ones). By then, we decided that we were sufficiently exhausted and headed home. It was a short trip, but SO much fun. I highly recommend it. But, if you can't go that far, definitely find some mountains to commune with closer to home. It's amazing what they'll say to you when you listen. :)
(Graham poking through a hole in the rock. Erosion and time do cool things to sandstone.)

(Pretty trees in the canyon. I took a lot more pictures in this part of the hike. It was pretty flat and I didn't have to worry as much about dying.)

(Cactus Flower. Who'd have thought that a prickly plant could produce something so beautiful?)


Robyn said...

Lovely! Jeff and I have talked about taking that trip, but a little birdie told me there is an easier way to get to Angel's Landing (but that doesn't do you much good now does it). I am glad you and Grammy Whammy had a great trip and I can't wait to hang out with you this week!

Jeff said...

The little birdie actually told us about a relatively easy hike to Observation Point which looks down on Angel's Landing.

I decided just now that I need to do the Angel's Landing hike sometime in my life. I made it to the part where you start climbing with the chain and I decided I couldn't make it any further so I stopped. I sat under a tree while my other friends went to the top. I feel I need to conquer it someday. But I need to get in much better shape to make it possible.

Meg said...

Jeff, I need to be in better shape, too. My legs were shaking a lot by the time we were climbing with the chains. Thankfully, Graham is a good encourager. Although, weirdly, I thought the chain part was the most fun part of the hike. :)

Rachel Eddington said...

I'm glad you and Graham finally got to Zion. I loved seeing the cactus bloom there last year. And yes, I agree the mountains say amazing things when you listen.