Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Zion National Park Angels Landing Hike

Being on East Coast time, I was up way early.  Early enough in fact, to drive over to the Park, get the best parking spot, and be one of four (all) females on the shuttle.

My plan was to hike up the West Rim Trail and then take the trail over to Angels  Landing.

It was a bit cold, probably in the 40's. I was happy to have capris, my Pata-gucci down sweater, gloves and headbands to wear, but as I climbed I took the jacket off.

 The trail winds up.  It is entirely not technical, concreted over in many areas.

 After about one mile, you start up a section of 21 very short switchbacks, called Walter's Wiggles. Walter's Wiggles was named after the first superintendent of Zion who helped engineer the steep zigzagging section.

Then you get to where the trail to Angel's Landing begins.

 The best way to explain this is you scramble up a rock face, holding on for dear life onto these wonderful heavy duty chains.  Did I mention the exposure?
 With my little short legs, it was similar to my climb up Mt St Catherine's in Grenada, where I had to fit my knee into a well worn toe hold, then rise up and get my foot into it.
 I got up to a certain spot, probably about 1/3 of t he way into the hike, where the "trail" came to a very tight ridge, where I could look doooown on either side. Total exposure.  I stood here, holding onto a tree, for a bit. I thought I had other hikers behind me, as I could hear voices.

I looked up at the sketchy route, and decided I had used up enough energy on this hike.  (I was sweating and had a very high level of adrenalin going on!!)  I have a race in two days, and I don't need to expend up all my energy on this  hike.  So I turned around, entirely fine with my decision.

I found it harder descending than ascending.  I did most of this on four points.
 There was nobody on this route at all.  But I have seen pics and vidios, and  I can see how crowded this route could become.  I was happy to not to have to pass or have others pass around me.

I then headed up the West Rim Trail for a short hike up that way.

 The weather was really nice in the morning, a bit cold, probably in the low 50's.  Warm in the sun, but cold in the shade and if the wind hit you.

See the pink and blue?  These are hikers going up Angels Landing.

I then headed back to the  Zion Lodge for Second Breakfast, as it was about 10 am and I believe I earned those two bacon-egg-cheese biscuits!

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