So far on this trip we have done physically challenging hikes, hikes that had stunning views, hikes to glaciers, but the Angels Landing hike in Zion National Park was the first one we did that made my legs buckle a few times from fear.
Sam had done this hike when he was a teenager and told me we had to do it because of the stunning views of Zion. However, he did not tell me much about the hike. As the shuttle was dropping us off at the trail head the driver said that Angels Landing was the most strenuous hike in the park and that seven people had fallen to their death on it. I looked at Sam like I was going to kill him, he just laughed and said we would be fine. Famous last words……
Going up was not that bad, there were switchbacks that had about a thousand foot elevation gain, but since I was in much better shape than I was a few months ago I was fine. It was when we got to the final 500 feet and last mile that I looked at Sam and said “You have to be kidding me” and I might have thrown in a few bad words as well.
I saw a long ridge with thousand foot drops on either side that went almost straight up. It had chains on some parts (so apparently you could hold on and not plunge to your death), but some parts did not have chains, it was horrifying to someone scared of heights. Just looking at it gave me vertigo.
Heading back down was actually not as bad as going up. I am not sure why. On the way up I got vertigo so bad a few times I felt my legs feel like they were going to give out from under me. A few times I was frozen in place, unable to walk for a couple of minutes. However, I was really happy I pushed through and finished the hike. Pushing myself outside of my comfort zone was something I was looking forward to on this trip, and this hike definitely did that for me.
Overall, it was a great hike with spectacular views all the way up (if you were brave enough to turn your head and look) and I was glad that we did it. Sam is a great influence on me. He pushes me outside of my comfort zone and does not doubt that I can do anything. When someone believes in you like that, you start to believe in yourself the same way. He is turning me into quite the hiking badass. =)