Friday, April 1, 2011

In Zion is a Place called... Angels Landing...

I'll post pictures here... but... let me say it now... they Don't get it done. They just can't convey the feeling you have... if your eyes are open... when you're on that trail. They're just only a little snapshot of the whole deal...

... and I suppose... have patience... all the pics may take a while to load. :)

A picture can't give you that wiggly feeling in your liver... when you're hangin' on a chain... above a 1200 foot KERSPLATT!!! fall off... and your foot slips an inch on the sandy rock! :o)

Down at the bottom, from the parking lot in The Grotto... before you even start up the trail, you get a nice view of your objective... Angels Landing...

*Angels Landing... in the Morning Light*
No worries yet... and you set off... The first part of the trail is a bridge over the Virgin River... opaque with the spring runoff this time of year... and then up a slowly rising trail... as she swells and grows above you...

*Angels Landing getting closer... and... Bigger!*
Right about here... the trail bends left and you start climbing faster... the trail starts tilting up... To climb the face of the rock... the switchbacks start...

*Starting up to the Top... Angels Landing or Bust!*
Climbing up here in the cool of the late morning, you still, usually, break a sweat if you're pushing at all... a kid raced past us... huffin' an' puffin'... testing himself I suppose... I met him again, later on. He was coming off the top... as I was still clambering my way up.

There's one section... that runs straight across the bald rock face... Someone had to drill and blast the "Channel"... to hang a trail in... so you can walk... where it used to be solid rock...

*Trail blasted out of the rock*
Now, you get a short respite... The trail flattens out a lot where it turns up through a narrow passage through the mountain... to get to the back door of Angels Landing... almost a slot canyon... not quite...

... and here... you get to the place known as Walters Wiggles... Named I guess for the fella that laid 'em out... 22 thigh burning switchbacks...

*Walters Wiggles Looking up in the Shady Canyon*


*Walters Wiggles... Looking down*
Yeah... looking back down... wheezing like a steam train... but... you're at the top... Right?

Well... almost... the First, top. In a way... there's three... this one is known as the Scout Lookout... and is the spot the majority of people seem to call, good enough...

*At Scout Lookout*
That narrow, spine of rock behind me?... that's the trail... mmmmmmmm.... Suh-wheet!... Right?

The first section is the roughest... The sandstone slopes off into... the far away... and far below... Beyond...

*The Way is Narrow...*


*And the Way is Steep!*
You hang on to those chains... if your feet go out... it's OK... ya got them chains! :) so you just keep your eyes on the trail... and keep going up... and up... and up...

Me... I've never been comfortable with height... but... I don't like things that scare me neither... so I usually, just make a run at 'em...

After that first, slippery section past Scout Lookout, is a small flat spot... where many call it the end... I did last trip... but then, you just start in on the next ascent...

'Course... It don't help none... when they give ya things to read along the way...

*That sign says; "Keep out Dangerous Edge... 1200' DROP!*
Keep out? uh... I thought you guys built this trail!? :) Though... I'm not sure Trail is the right word... maybe just the only way you can get from here to there...


You don't look left... you don't look right... at least not while you're moving. :) just keep going up... you pass a few who can't go up... and are turning back... I came across two with that Look on their faces, who just stopped and said; "Nope, I'm not going on" and turned back... but eventually... if you didn't let go of the chains...  :o) ... you get there... You top out on Angels Landing...and become one of those lil' specs that those down in the canyon can see occasionally... movin' around up on top.

*Angels Landing.... Got There!*
*View back toward Springdale from atop Angels Landing*

*The Big Bend, from atop Angels Landing*
and just to prove that I didn't just have somebody carry my camera up there and pop some pics from the top... here's the Ol' Geezer... on the top...

*Sitting on top of Angels Landing... with the Falls of Weeping Rock... waaaaaay down below*
Yup... there's only one place you can take that pic of my ugly mug... and it ain't at the golden arches!

You sit up there for a while... just soakin' it in... pictures don't do it justice... they're out of context... they don't have that Place... around them... You can't feel the wind in your face. The sweet smell of Free air... and the adrenaline pumping. :)

But... then... all good things must come to an end... and you turn around and look... OOPS...

*The Trail up... is the Only Way Down off Angels Landing!*
Hadn't thought about that, did you? Yup... ya gotta get back down... and the first Step... kinda grabs you...

*Step off into... Nothing? :o) *
I was clambering down... jumping from rock to rock in places (with my hand on the chain!)... at this point... feeling pretty cocky... One "Old" gal still coming up, looked at me kinda odd... shook her head a lil bit... so I told her; "Well... I'm ugly enough to be a goat!"

Her response? "Well... you're acting like one!" :o)

You know what?... You never feel quite as alive... as when you're standing on the edge of Not being... Some call it foolish... some agree... some just don't understand... aw well... that's just life, ain't it?

Yeah... Angels Landing is a Special Place... and some climbing up to it... STILL don't get it... I saw several... Climb up on the knob at the top... nod their heads... just like National Lampoon Vacation..."Yep! That's the Grand Canyon" ... and then turn around and head straight back down... "Gotta hurry... Gotta make that hike to Hidden Canyon before dark!" ... just rackin' up the miles... and not seeing a gol durn thing...

I sat there for a while... just soaking it in... before I started back... to those waiting at Scout Lookout... for those of us that had gone on to the Summit of Angels Landing...

*Looking Back... Toward Angels Landing

Along the way, I stopped often... to look back at the way I'd gone... knowing... I May Never Come This Way Again...

and... obviously... I did make it back down... with no broken bones... no bruises... no sparks or smoke or nothin'. :) just a really good feeling inside...

*Looking at the View, from Scout Lookout*
So... there it is... The way up... which is also... the way back down... Two days later, I can still feel the climb in my old legs :) ... uh... and that stove up ol' spine... but... I'm still one of the ones that made it...

Thousands upon thousands, have made the climb... but... millions upon millions can't and won't... so... for a crippled up old vet... I feel pretty darn good! :)

and now... we've moved on to the National Monument that runs out over much of Utah, south from Escalante, where we're boondocked once again... on BLM ground... out by our lonesome...

*View from my desk on the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument*
In Wide Country... with a Wide View...
Brian

Return to the main site of goin' RV Boondocking or Visit my Sister website Motorcycle Touring on Freedom Road

10 comments:

Teri said...

When I was in Zion in 09, did a lot of the hikes, but not that one. I guess it would be one way to get over some fears of "I can't do that". Can't imagine that first step on the way down and holding onto the chain and passing others. Zion is a special mystical place.

Anonymous said...

Wow. You have WAY more MOJO than I do. Heidi has my everlasting respect to do that climb with you.

Other than that, I think you both are seriously crazy!!! (says the afraid of heights weenie).

chuckandayn

Brian said...

uh... don't mean to rain on her parade... but... she uh... waited at the Scout Lookout... not her cup of tea either...

... I went on alone... :)

Brian said...

and Teri... yes Ma'am... I think, if you can conquer the "Mind Game" that such a climb is... it can carry over into a lot of other things... lots of other "Fears" can become pretty trivial things...

D. Ford said...

Your photos are simply amazing. I plan to ride through Zion on my way to Sturgis this summer. I sure hope the weather is as for me as it was for you. I'd like to get some nice photos like you did.

Brian said...

D.F. I feel guilty now! first two days it was raining so I didn't even unload the bike... in the summer you'll have to ride a tram up into the park.... but its an awful pretty place!!

Glenda Laine said...

Wow, Brian. You photos are awesome. . .& so are you for making the climb. A true inspiration to all us 'older-feeling' folks. This is on my bucket list fur sure!

~~ Glenda ~~

Gaelyn said...

Right On! I haven't tried that one yet. Maybe saving the best for last. Actually looks tougher than a Grand Canyon rim to rim. Excellent images, although never as good as the real. Ah, and the Escalante. How I miss it all. Not too much longer, I hope.

Diana said...

Wow, you got some great scary pictures. When I went up I was hanging on to the chains too tight to get my camera out. Great job!

Janna and Mike said...

Brian, did Heidi make that gut wrenching hike with you??? Yikes, don't think I can do that one!