Angels Landing

When I was planning our time in Zion, I had hoped we would be able to hike to Observation Point to view Zion Canyon. The main trail was closed due to storm damage, but there was a different trailhead that started outside the park that would still allow us to get there. Unfortunately, with all of the rain, the road to the trailhead was inaccessible due to deep mud.

Even though it was still raining, we decided on Monday night that we would try Angels Landing and get as far as we could. I spent a lot of time reading about the trial before we went (which is why I was hoping for Observation Point instead) and I knew it was dangerous and often overcrowded. I was at MAXIMUM ANXIETY about it. We woke up early on Tuesday morning and were on the trailhead by 7. Our bus probably had about 30 people on it at that time, and the trail was already busy when we got started.

Sami woke up with a cold and was not feeling great, so we took several breaks on our way up. It was still cloudy, but the rain had moved on and it was gorgeous.

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We worked our way up Walter’s Wiggles to Scout’s Landing which is the point that you start the truly treacherous part of the hike.

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We took a break at the landing, then decided that we would climb as long as we were comfortable, but turn around if we felt iffy.IMG 3562

Just looking at the ridge made me feel sick. It took us about an hour and a half to get to Scout’s Landing, and the trail guide said it was about a half mile to the top. You climb along this narrow ridge with some chains to help guide you.

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After about 15 minutes, Sami said she was feeling kind of weak and dizzy from being sick, and she smartly decided that she did not want to go ahead. After much discussion, I decided to keep going. It had not occurred to me that I would need to use my entire body to get up this thing. I also think it was closer to a mile than a half mile. I was surprised at the number of young children going up it and how many of them were going alone (while their parents hung back). I cannot even imagine. I was not sure I should be up there.

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I took my time going up and waited for sections to clear before going forward. There were several spots where you had to inch around people to get by them, and I was not into that. You are seriously on the edge of a 1,000 foot cliff. I saw so many people doing things that seemed absolutely nuts to me. One guy was even RUNNING. WHY.

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About 3/4 of the way up, it started raining again, so I took a break on a large ledge with some other hikers. I initially decided I would call it a day and head back down, but the rain passed and since I was so close, I kept going. I was recently listening to a story about people dying on Everest because so many of them decide to keep going because they are so close despite being exhausted/out of oxygen/bad weather. While listening I wondered why anyone would think it was worth it, yet here i was going forward on slick rocks and wet chains! Ugh.

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Every time I thought I was at the top, I went over a ridge and found that there was more to climb. I thought I was going to have a heart attack at several points. I knew it would be steep and challenging, but I was not expecting so much actual climbing and pulling myself up.IMG 3575IMG 3612

Thankfully, the top had more space to walk, but it was still sketchy.IMG 3613

It took me about an hour to very slowly make my way to the top and I spent about 15 minutes just laying there willing my body not to give out. I could not believe how many people were climbing it in totally stupid shoes (those Nikes with the slick white bottoms or SLIP ONS). I enjoyed my sandwich and some spectacular views, and tried to ignore everyone who was giving me even more anxiety.

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I began my slow descent, but there were a ton more people on the trail by this point.

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I tried to wait for breaks to go down, but it was difficult with the crowd. I am surprised that this trail doesn’t have permits because the ranger said it was a slow day in the park and there were still so many people. It felt incredibly dangerous and I was happy to get out of there. The views were beautiful, but I will never do this trail again. Not for me.

It was so terrifying and so sketchy. I was much relieved to be back to Sami and head down. We stopped at a few shuttle stops in the valley to see some of the viewpoints when it was not raining, then headed to town to shower.

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We left the park mid-afternoon and made our way south to the Grand Canyon. I went to Zion once as a little kid and the only thing I remember is doing cheerleading routines on a trail to an overlook, so it was awesome to be back. I cannot wait to return!

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