Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Hike We Like - "Angels Landing"

In 2008 Mary and I hiked the famous "Angels Landing (for the second time) located in Zion National Park, in Southwest Utah. (Utah) We returned in 2009 and hiked it again with our very fit daughter, Sarah. She flew in from San Francisco just to spend some loving and laughing time with Mommy and Daddy.

This series of photographs is meant to entice you, not frighten you. This is an absolutely thrilling route, but do not attempt the last half-mile if you fear heights. Along this narrow trail, some sections are only 24" - 36" wide. Seriously, I just checked my Journal. The vertical drops from here are 800 feet on one side, and 1200 feet on the other side.

I will try not to talk (write) too much as you enjoy the views of the Angels Landing Trail. (For you other Writers and/or Editor types: in all the resources I checked, there is no apostrophe on either side of the s)

This is only a 5-mile, round-trip hike, but it is strenuous and, as they say, rigorous!

Okay, got your water bottles or "CamelBack"? Here we go. Hang on to the chains!

Prepare to have your breath taken away!

Sarah and Mary grab some light shade in a shallow cave.

Sarah finds alternate exit.

Looking up at the ridge that we will soon be climbing.

Early portion of the chain trail, ascending the ridge.

Sarah imitates the falcon that just flew over.

That's the road, the river, and shuttle buses at the bottom.

Closer to the top, but we're not there yet.

My two favorite people in the world.

A view back at the ridgeline we just hiked.

Trace the trail along the ridge.

Looking down on the highly perched Peregrine Falcon.

Sarah gives her "Thank you God for a wonderful day" pose. She sings it aloud with her wonderful voice.

Climbing the rocks and roots with a chain assist.

I told you the trail was narrow.

That's the Virgin River well below us, circling a pinnacle named "The Organ".

Plenty of room on this platform, even for my long feet.

Havenga good time at the top. We have landed.

A shuttle bus below with 50 people aboard.

Sarah, Mary, Rich

An easy part of the trail with natural "steps".

Zion Canyon.

Lunch break on the landing. Angel feeds husband sardines and crackers.

Perched on the peak.

Mary heads back down, but waits for photographer husband. Here I come.

Mary descends "Walter's Wiggles", 21 zigs and zags.

Reward for our hot feet: a refreshing dip in the cool current of the Virgin River, back on the floor of Zion Canyon.

Here's my angel cooling her feet. I'm ready to jump in the river with her.

Trail Details:

1. Within Zion National Park, take the free shuttle service to the Grotto Picnic Area.
2. Walk across the bridge over the Virgin River to the Trailhead.
3. Follow the West Rim Trail.
4. Go through the cool, shady, "Refrigerator Canyon".
5. Climb up the zig-zagging "Walter's Wiggles".
6. Above "Scout's Lookout" is where it gets serious.
7. Be aware of anyone in your party with Acrophobia.
8. Elevation gain: 1,520 feet.
9. Trail type: Out and Back.
10. The perch at the top on "Angels Landing" holds 360* views of Zion Canyon.
11. Difficulty: Strenuous.
12. Distance: 5 miles, roundtrip. Sounds short, but it is rigorous.
13. Hiking Time: 5 hours, round trip, average.
14. Add more time for photographs.
15. Add 1/2 hour at the top to take it all in, and to revel in your accomplishments.

After 40 years of traveling the West, Zion has always been in our top three all-time favorite national parks. And they have several more trails to choose from.

Over the decades, we've hiked many trails throughout this beautiful country, but "Angels Landing" still ranks Number One.

If you are still wondering where to go this summer, we can "highly" recommend:

Landing with the Angels!