Sunday, June 06, 2010

Angel's Landing in Zion National Park

I totally should go to bed right now; however, I'm totally jazzed about hiking. It all started when I hiked Angel's Landing in Zion National Park a couple weeks ago. The trail was all paved except for the last half mile. I loved that half mile because we hiked on rock with cliffs on both sides. Much of the trail had chains connected to poles that we can hold on to. Some of the rock was carved out so we can have an easier time stepping. I thought it was so cool because of the gorgeous views. I was literally climbing on rock instead of hiking on a dirt or paved trail. There were many choke points where we had to wait and let people go down because the ledges were so narrow. The narrowest part of the trail is three feet across with at 800 drop on one side and 1,200 feet on the other. However, I didn't notice it when climbing up or down. I wasn't paying that much attention to the views when climbing up because there was a big line behind me. Plus, Katy and Jin Sun was ahead of Mo Lee and I. I love the top of the fin because we saw the whole length of the canyon. When eating, a chipmunk climbed on my backpack which was right next to my leg when I was eating. I was really surprised because I've never seen behavior from a wild rodent before. I guess that many of the hikers like to feed the rodents. However, one can receive a 100 dollar fine if the rangers catch them. I saw a man feeding a squirrel when we were walking towards the narrows.

When I climbed down the half mile, I took my time and looked off different ledges. I wanted to get a view this time. The rest of the way down killed my feet. I had to hurry down because I really, really needed to go number 2. So, I developed a blister on each of my big toes and one really big on on my right pinky toe. That blister was the biggest I've ever seen in my life because it was a little bigger than my whole nail on my middle finger. At first, I had to help Mo Lee along because she was shaky from the half mile. She said that was the scariest thing that she has done in her life. So, we hooked arms. Half the way down, I helped her keep her balance. Then, she helped me push myself because my feet were starting to really hurt. The whole hike consisted of 1,500 feet. I really want to take my family on that hike.

I thought that I did pretty well because we made really good time up and down the trail. I was impressed and was happy that BJJ is working on my cardio because I didn't huff and puff that bad. After the hike, we took the bus all the way to the end of the canyon. I really wanted to go home because of my feet. However, Katy wanted to see the trail head of the narrows. We walked all the way until the trail dumped off into the river. It's too early in the year to hike that because of the water. All the snow has to be melted off the plateau first. Katy was really disappointed because that was one of the other hikes she wanted to do. When walking, I really felt like a cripple because of my blister on my pinky and my left thigh was hurting whenever I walked up hill. So, Mo Lee and Katy walked in front of me while I was always trying to keep up. On my way back, I took my time and didn't care if Katy took off without me. She wanted to get back to Ji Sun because she was waiting for us.

For some reason, people chicken out when hiking Angel's landing. I know that there has been a few deaths from it. However, the hike is pretty safe. I felt safe and secure on my way up and down. I knew that if I held onto the chain, I wouldn't fall off the ledge. The areas that didn't have any chains to hold on to were wide enough. I don't think I would have been able to climb that rock fin without the chains because they were totally necessary in many points of the climb. I found a website called Joe's Guide to Zion National Park that reviewed different hikes including Angel's Landing. Look at the the professional quality photos in his review. The pictures can help you understand what I experienced. I found another website that has pictures of the hike. However, they aren't nearly as good. I would put up pictures of my own; however, I don't have a camera yet. Hopefully, I can get a really good one for my birthday this summer. I don't want to get a crappy digital camera.

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