Angels Landing-Zion
Friday, August 14, 2015
By Francine Duffy
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Zion National Park has a special place in my heart!  I have gotten the chance to visit the park three times in the last four years, and I have enjoyed each and every time experiencing different parts of the park.  Each time we visited, my husband would tell me that one day we will hike up Angels Landing.  I always said I would never do it….I honestly never thought I could make it!  I would look at it from the canyon floor, telling myself that it seems impossible to reach the top!

Some of the reasons that deterred me from hiking Angels Landing…It is a strenuous and steep hike, with numerous narrow sections and unprotected drop-offs. It stands 1488 feet above the Virgin River at its base.  The sign at the beginning of the trail says “not for anyone who is out of shape or has a fear of heights”….  The trail is somewhat notorious because of the final section, which climbs 450 feet up a thin sloping ridge with only chains, railings, and stairs to assist you.  The distance (round trip) is 5 miles/4 hours.  Did I mention I am not a fan of anything uphill ;) BUT Angels Landing is one of the most famous hikes in the world!!

We began the hike at noon on a very overcast day ;)   As Patrick and I began the West Rim Trail switchbacks we were quickly rethinking our decision…Lol.  The first 2 miles were a steady uphill trek.  We were relieved to reach refrigerator canyon for a little break of the uphill struggle and a its much cooler climate. Squiggle the Wiggles was the most challenging for me as we ascend 21 sharp zigzags to reach Scout Lookout.  This lookout is where many people stop, as its the saddle at the junction of the Angels Landing Trail and the West Rim Trail.  The best feature of the hike was now within reach, yet the most frightening to imagine hiking, as you have a better view of the thin sloping ridge with chains to help you up!  The last half mile of the hike is the most challenging..physically and mentally and also the most rewarding!!  Each set you made had to be strategic, making me more aware of my physical and mental strength.  There was not one moment that I told myself I wasn’t going to make it!  I am so happy I let “fear” take a back seat in my life ;) because the views were spectacular and an exhilarating experience I will always cherish!! As Frederic Fisher said “only an angel can land on it” so I was that much closer to heaven!!

I made a goal almost 3 months ago to become healthier physically and mentally to take on the challenge of Angels Landing.  I didn’t think I was going to be completing my goal so  quickly, but the opportunity arose and I couldn’t say no again…I wasn’t sure I would accomplish my goal this trip, but I was going to do my best.  I stayed away from any information that was going to keep me from completing my goal.  I couldn’t let my mind create fear and excuses on why I shouldn’t accomplish my goal.  Not only did I kill it by completing the hike, and never complaining ;) I encouraged my husband to complete it as well :) 


Just a few things I learned from my experience ;) 

~It is an exhilarating feeling to feel alive!  

~It’s great to feel my body and its strength after all of my hard work!  

~I don’t know what I can accomplish if I don’t try!! 



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