Tuesday, November 30, 2010

30 by 30, #3: Hike Angels Landing

When we moved to St George 4 years ago, we were overjoyed at the spectacular hiking opportunities looming before us. Zion National Park was 45 minutes away, Snow Canyon was on the other side of town, and even other national parks like Bryce Canyon and the North Rim of Grand Canyon (it feels so wrong not to say The Grand Canyon, but I promise, it's just Grand Canyon) were only a few hours away, and could be done in a day trip. And over the course of 4 years, we got plenty of hiking in. We got a National Parks Pass every year, and it was well worth the money.

But for some reason, Angels Landing was this unattainable goal for me. It was like my Eleanor (from Gone in 60 Seconds), or Moby Dick, or something like that. Something that I've always wanted to do, but somehow never gets done. Partly, I was intimidated by the hike itself. So many people have told me that this is a tough hike, you can't be flippant about it and just go do it, you have to be in good shape. It's steep, it's strenuous, and then there are the drop-offs. The warning signs that if you are afraid of heights, this hike is not for you. The articles in the paper about another person who DIED on Angels Landing. It's all very intimidating. And aside from being afraid of the hike, there was always an excuse. I wanted to be in better shape, it was winter, I was pregnant (which is, actually, an excellent excuse if you ask me, especially with the barfing), we had a newborn, there were other hikes on our list, we had a toddler, we had 2 kids. It basically was never going to happen.

And then we learned we were going to be moving from St George. Angels Landing suddenly became a high priority. I would have been kicking myself for years if we had lived so close to this amazing hike for years, and we moved without my ever hiking it.

So on a glorious September morning (I believe it was Friday, September 24, though I'm not 100% sure [and I don't know why you needed to know that, but there it is]), we shipped Julia off to a friend's house (ah, Taiz, how we miss you!), packed Ella up, and headed out to hike the big fat scary Angels Landing.

And I must say, I have no idea what I was so afraid of.

It was a lovely hike. Got my blood flowing, worked my quads on the way down. And the view was incredible! Though, I will say, there are other hikes in Zion with equally beautiful views. But still. Zion is one of the most beautiful places in the world.

There were a couple of moments when I was pretty nervous about the fact that my husband was carrying my infant daughter up a cliff, and she could throw him off balance at any moment. Thankfully, she slept the whole way up that last 1/2 mile, and part of the way down. We got a lot of comments about the baby: "Aww, baby's first hike!" (it wasn't, it was her 2nd); "This hike is so easy, a baby can do it!" and, of course, "What a lucky baby. I wish someone would carry me!" Hiking with a baby makes you very popular, in case you didn't know.

And, while not on the 30 by 30 list, I can now add, "Nursed a baby on a cliff," to the list of things I've done. When Ella blew a gasket right after we started down from the top, we really had no other choice. It was very exciting.

So there. I did it. I conquered the "unconquerable" hike. And it felt really good to do it.


The Martinsen Family said...

We miss Julia (and the rest of you too) We mention Julia or Michigan at least once a day:)

Lisa said...

I'm glad you told me about this after the fact! Angels Landing is one of those things that tend to make me nervous. BTW what really cemented my fear of heights was the East Overlook trail, which looks down onto Angel's Landing. Beautiful view, but I could never again stomach hiking for a couple of hours alongside a 2,000 foot drop-off!

Cheryl said...

I never, ever, EVER! will do AL. Matt has. And he recommends I don't.

I commend you guys for your bravery, skill, and conquering, but ... I will never know the feeling.

Alex said...

Good for you! Not sore I could work up the courage, but I'm glad you did! What fun memory to have and share!

Celeste said...

Way to go shannon! I must say the stories I've heard of it scare me just a bit. But I'm glad that it wasn't that bad. It does look beautiful up there. But most of all I'm glad you conquered the unconquerable!