Doubts. Terrible things, they are. The longer I stood and looked at that peak, the more dubious I became. Finally, I gave in and turned around. I couldn't do it. Then a feeling of relief passed over me. It's okay. At least I had gotten this far.
The descent back down that first little peak was challenging. Going up you didn't really notice the height or steepness of the path. But coming down, that is all you could see. You had to look down in order to see where you were going. In several spots I sat down on my rear end and scooted over and down the rock. It wasn't pretty, but it got the job done! I didn't feel quite so bad when I saw other people doing the same thing!
Once safely down on the other side, I found a place to sit and eat my lunch, along with several other folks. We chatted. They too were the ones who couldn't go on. They were waiting for their spouse to return from the top of Angels Landing. They weren't ashamed, perhaps a little embarrassed though. Four out of the five people waiting were men. Waiting for their wives to finish the climb.
Other people came and went. Some only went a little ways then came back. Watching the people was fascinating. All shapes and sizes. All degrees of physical fitness. You couldn't tell by looking at someone whether they could do it or not. And you were amazed by some of those that did make it. The more I watched, the more I thought “I could do this.”
But I sat there and listened to the people talking. The excitement in the voices of those who had gone all the way. A bit of disappointment in those who hadn't, but acceptance of that fact also.
There was a group of five women who came up from Scout's Lookout. They sat down and rested for a few minutes and joined in our conversation. One lady, in her mid-30s, was back for a second climb. She had come with her daughters last year and they had all made the climb successfully. The daughters were 8, 11, and 16 years of age.
Another group of four women – two teenagers, a middle aged woman, and an older lady – came up the trail. When the older woman saw the trail over that peak she said “Oh, my!” One of the teenage girls giggled and said “Granny, we love you. You don't really have to go.” And Granny stomped her feet like a little child and exclaimed “Oh no, I'm going!” and without another word, they were on their way.
After an hour or so, I made my way down the trail and back to the campground. I talked with my neighbors, Maryann and Rob, who had done the climb to Angels Landing the previous day. The more I talked with them, the more convinced I became that I could actually do it. Maryann said she had second thoughts about the climb when she saw the trail, but then she looked at the people returning and figured if they could do it, so could she.
The next day was an “off” day for me. My legs were hurting a little so I took it easy. But the thought of Angels Landing kept running through my mind all day long.
To be continued... Angels Landing :: The Finale