Saturday, June 26, 2010

Angels Landing

Walter's Wiggles

Ever since I was a little girl, my mother has told us the adrenalin rush that one can get while hiking one of the toughest trails in Zion National Park, Angels Landing. Since the trail opened in 1926, nine people have fallen to their death off of the dangerous trail. Six of these fatalities happened before we—my siblings and I—finally talked our mother into letting us hike this trail.

In our previous visit to Zion, we hiked the two-mile hike up the West Rim Trail, defeated the 21 switchbacks of “Walter’s Wiggles,” and arrived at the base of the Angels Landing trail. At the base of the trail, this sign awaits:

The first time we arrived at this point, my mother said, “Now is the time that we turn back.” My siblings and I complained, but both my parents remained firm and said that we were too young to take it. At the time, I was upset, but now I totally agree with my parents’ decision. This time, I noticed this sign:

Finally, on July 18, 2008, we were all old enough to convince our parents to go. Here is a word of advise to people who plan on taking this trail in the future, make sure you wake up at 6:30 in the morning to start the West Rim Trail, so that you can make it onto Angels Landing before the sun gets really hot. Angels Landing does not have any shade on it, but it does have metal chains to help you climb up the trail. If you go too late in the day these metal chains become smoldering hot and forces you to make the decision between taking your chances walking across a one-foot trail, 1,000 feet above the ground, without hanging onto anything or grabbing on the chains while they burn and blister the palms of your hands.

The trail begins by climbing up this set of rocks:
Some of the chains were broken while we were there.

Then the trail dips downward onto the thinnest part of the trail before going back up into what’s known as “The Saddle.”

There are some fallen trees that block the pathway on the “upward” part of The Saddle. Those are difficult to maneuver over. Then, there is a giant tree that we chilled out at before continuing to the summit. From the summit, the trolley (that carries Zion visitors to the different trails) looks so tiny!

Here are some different views from the summit of Angels Landing.

A cool side story is that when my mother last hiked Angels Landing, she did it with her family and friend in the summer of 1979. When she was up there, she carved her name in the giant rock that makes up the summit. When we got up there in the summer of 2008, it was still there. Can you see the “Lori R” in the picture?

So, that was my experience hiking Angels Landing. I highly recommend this trail to teens and adults. It is such an exhilarating experience. It’s great for the true EXTREME ADVINTURERS out there.

Until next time!

1 comment:

  1. Great pics, great memories. Can't wait to get back and do it again! It is exhilarating.