A recent chain of events (a record-breaking polar vortex which led to a four-day school cancellation which led to a reorganization of the photo cupboard) brought to light a long-forgotten photo album of our first Southwest road trip. Turns out the husband and I (but mostly the husband – you’ll see his massive camera in several photos in this series) took more and better photos back then than we did on a similar road trip last summer, and I thought I would share some of them with you in a series entitled “A Photo Journey.” I hope you enjoy them, and even more, I hope they inspire you to travel.
We arrived for our short stay at Zion National Park in southwest Utah with one goal in mind: Summiting Angels’ Landing. I’m here to convince you that it should be your goal, too.
Though it’s only 5.4 miles round trip, it’s not an easy hike. Zion’s literature describes it as “strenuous,” and it’s not just physical exertion that will have you nodding your head in agreement. Anxiety may escalate as you work your way up the rocky outcropping.
The park pamphlet cautions people to avoid this hike if they are with young children or have a fear of heights. Then it shows a little cartoon of a stick person falling. Yes, this can be a dangerous hike. People have fallen to their deaths.
Still, risky though it may be, there are many reasons you should consider hiking Angels’ Landing.
Reason #1: You can skip your morning run, or burpee set, or whatever it is you do to torture yourself into a healthful state. This hike is your day’s exercise.
Reason #2: You will be surrounded by massive rock walls. This will give you a sense of perspective. You will be filled with a feeling of wonder. You will have deep thoughts.
Reason #3: You will have a chance to take some great pictures.
Reason #4: You will get to hike up a fun feature called Walter’s Wiggles. Who wouldn’t want that?
Reason #5: You can challenge yourself and conquer your fears.
Reason #6: You will earn hard-won bragging rights.
Reason #7: You will be awestruck by the views. (But don’t lose focus – that’s a 1500-ft drop!)
There. I’ve given you seven good reasons hike Angels’ Landing. So unless you’re a small child, suffer from vertigo, or have an extreme aversion to zigzags, get out to Zion and do this hike, you badass.
Bonus experience: After you hike down, you can soak your aching, sweaty, odoriferous feet in the North Fork Virgin River, which is right there in front of you.
Bonus scenery: When you depart Zion after your amazing hiking feat and head toward Bryce Canyon National Park, you will pass Checkerboard Mesa. If it gives you an urge to pull out your checkerboard and trounce your travel partner, so be it. I hope you win.
Posts in the A Photo Journey series:
- Hot Air Ballooning in Albuquerque
- Climbing Angels’ Landing in Utah
- Arches National Park
- Bryce Canyon National Park
- Death Valley National Park