Two miles after leaving the trailhead, way down in the valley, you arrive at Scout's Lookout. You've already climbed 1,060 feet, but you know that the “worst” is yet to come. Watching other hikers scale this first portion of the ascent to Angels Landing, you get this sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach.
You notice a few people sitting in front of that big rock. You approach them and ask the question “Did you do it?” No. They went a short ways up but turned back. The trail is too steep. It's scary. I sat there with them for a few minutes, then decided to go on. At the least, I had to try it. Lots of other people have done it. There are chains for safety. Yee gods, chains!
Yes, chains. Thank God! Just grab hold and pull yourself up, someone says. Yeah, right. But I do. And I did. You don't even notice how steep it is or how far down it would be if you slip and fall. Well, not much, anyway. You try not to think about it.
You concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other and holding on to that chain as if your life depends on it, because it does. But before you know it you've gotten over the first major obstacle.
Then you see this! And that sinking feeling comes back a hundred-fold. The trail goes up the edge, up the spine of that peak! Another 440 feet in height, in less than half a mile.
The beginning of the end. Doesn't look so bad, but it scared the begeebers out of me!
The view of Lower Zion Canyon is magnificent. I was told it was much nicer from atop Angels Landing though.
I talked to a few people as they came down from the top. “It's not so bad,” they said. “Just take it slow and easy and you'll be okay.” Another said “I'm 73 and I made it, so can you.” “You've already gotten over the worst part.”
But I wasn't so sure. The longer I stayed and looked at it the queasier I got. I wanted to do it, I really did. But doubts can be troubling.
To be continued... Angels Landing :: Interlude