Saturday, May 1, 2010

Zion National Park, Utah

My friend Augi was visiting his cousin Erica here in Las Vegas and invited me to join them on a hike to Zion National Park in Utah, about 2 1/2 hours away. A little apprehensive because I haven't done much hiking before, but their one day trip sounded appealing.
The drive was BEA-U-TI-FUL and the entrance to the park was very promising. We headed to the 5 mile trail of "Angels Landing," which Erica had done 4 times before, but said it was the most spectacular of all. The trail is a long steady climb with the highest peak at 5800 feet. And after a test of my strength and endurance, there was a point when I had to decide if I could go further UP.
I was so close to just sitting the rest of the hike out. There had been reported deaths from falls and a sign that clearly warned you of the dangers. I could hear men continuing up ahead who needed pep talks from their buddies to "focus" and "take it one step at a time." This was also about conquering my fear of heights. I was so nervous, more so than when I've done anything else in my life "extreme." Augi and Erica kept up the motivation and I decided to go for it.
A steep climb, a narrow ridge with drop offs on both sides, cliffs that make you dizzy, a narrow fin of rocks to scale across and chains that assist in your climb even further to the top of a mountain. We made it to the top, it was more than breathtaking. You could see the river snake below, the tiny buses and specs of people. I could see across the tops of the other mountains. The views down the mountain made my palms sweat. The climb down was difficult, my ankles and calves were trembling and my hiking boots were giving me painful blisters. When we made it back to the bottom, I was exhausted. But the day was magnificent and rewarding. I hope to go back there again soon.

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