Zion National Park is freakin awesome. This place looks like the set of Jurassic Park. Did they film that movie in here? It seriously looks like dinosaur land. And it sort of is; reading about the rock formations taught us that some of the layers of rock contain dinosaur footprints. So dinosaurs really did roam this land, and it shows.
We loved Zion. Got our cute campsite right by the dumpsters and bathrooms (convenient! we said). Explored the park doing some easy hikes the first afternoon, because the second day was reserved for Angels Landing, the death march that Jon has been talking about since we left NYC.
Angels Landing is a 6 mile round trip hike that takes between 4-6 hours to complete. Its listed as “challenging” in the park brochure, mainly due to the extreme drop offs on either side of the hiking trail, which climbs 1,500 feet in elevation. The final .7 miles of the hike is a narrow path (2 feet wide at narrowest point) with vertical drops on either side. A metal chain lines the path for petrified amateur hikers to cling to.
Since 2004, only 6 people have fallen to their deaths from this hike. That sounded like pretty good odds to me that we’d be fine, but numbers and rationality don’t always acquiesce my obsessive imagination and honed worrying skills. The night before the hike, I imagined both of our fateful, fatal steps and picked the outfit I wanted my body to be found in at the bottom of the canyon.
On the day of the hike, we drank a ton of water and agreed we’d either do the hike together or not at all. Jon was calm as usual and seemed unphased by our impending doom. I made him eat a healthy breakfast AND lunch, and for once he agreed. Was this a bad sign? Maybe he was scared after all.
Once we started the hike, I felt a little less anxious. Then we got to the actual beginning of the craziness. We were already high up in the mountains and had worked up a good sweat getting there. But now stretched ahead of us was .7 miles of what looked like a 75 degree, knife-edged cliff. I looked up at this monster and realized my knees were quite literally shaking. I’m such a cliché.
I could go on about the details of this hike, but let’s just say we freakin did it. I was terrified the whole way up and I think I might’ve had a little fun on the way down. I was really scared, and I did it anyways. I wanted to turn back more than once, but I didn’t. And once we were back on solid ground, I’ve never felt more of a personal sense of accomplishment. Zion, we will see you again one day!