Hiking Angles Landing

I’m sitting in my warm comfy bed with the electric blanket on high & a hot cup of Earl Grey tea, sweetened with agave.

It’s that time of year when my body starts thinking about emerging from winter, where it requires more rest, and I start thinking about new adventures ahead.

I can’t help but reminisce hiking Angles Landing in Zion National Park with my friend Stephanie last spring. It was definitely a #doepicshit experience.

Hiking up switchbacks to get to Angles Landing. March, 2018

I always thought I was terrified of heights, but it was something I really wanted to overcome, so clearly hiking 5,790 feet up on a narrow, rocky path, with only a chain to hold on to, where people have lost their lives, was the only logical way to overcome it. Clearly.

There was no way I would have made it without those chains

When we started out it was on the warm side. I remember thinking it was going to be a hot one. Keep in mind I live on the coast- at sea level, where it’s 50’s-60’s year round. So 70’s was warm for me. I knew from the very beginning this was going to be the most challenging hike I’d ever attempted. And spoiler alert, it was!

You can see the top of AL from the first part of the trail

The hike was strenuous with lot of switchbacks, but there were a lot of places to pull over to catch your breath & take in the beautiful scenery. It is truly unlike anything I’d ever seen.

Taking a break from hiking up the switchbacks

We stopped at Walters Wiggles to hydrate & have a snack. If we’re being real, I was not in shape, so thankfully Stephanie was super kind & patient to go at my turtle pace.

After some much needed calories & water, we made our way up a 967 switchbacks to Scout’s Lookout. Maybe not that many, but it felt like it.

Scout’s Lookout
Stephanie being so dang cute

When we arrived, it was a huge confidence boost, as the top of AL was only another half mile. A steep & slow half mile, but I could see it and knew I had it in me to make it. Also at this point I felt a little dizzy, I think due to the elevation (I live at sea level) and a little dehydration. So I forced water & watermelon Nuun down and got really stoked to hike the “spine” to the top.

The “spine” of Angles Landing

But first we had to sorta crawl up the side of a mountain. There was some fine red sand which made it slippery, but chains were there to hold on to. There is no way I would have made the hike without them.

Trying not to fall into Refrigerator Canyon & die
Can you spot the bus & car?

Well turns out, I’m not terrified with heights at all, only sheer drops and I didn’t have any issues with that hiking this trail. It was one of the biggest mental boosts ever! On the flip side, as we hiked higher & higher, my dizziness continued to worsen, but I had this wild red head to keep me calm.

We made it to the pine tree, circled below and that’s where we took a break to catch our breath and hopefully calm the dizziness. Only to have it worsen & then nausea set in. Gahhhh my body was definitely not cooperating, so we decided to spend a little extra time there to rest & take in the views, then we started to head back down.

While I was super bummed we didn’t make it to the very top, I am so proud of my body & mind for allowing me to make it that far. When we first set out, the plan was to get to Scout’s Lookout and make the decision to continue from there, especially since I thought I was afraid of heights. Stephanie has no fear of anything. That woman even moved a snake off the trail with a tree branch for me during another hike ha! So I felt bad for her.

The hike down was a bit of a blur because I was so dizzy but thankfully I always carry Zofran and that helped a lot. I slipped and fell on my butt coming down Walters Wiggles, laughed and continued on. Stephanie is into crystals & beads, so she gave me her beaded necklace with lavender essential oil, to wear to calm my mind & body down a bit. I can’t be sure it was the necklace or the Zofran or the declining elevation, but it worked. The closer we got to the bottom, the better I felt.

After that hike, I felt so accomplished. Like holy crap, I just ran a half marathon, accomplished. Like it was the best feeling ever. The closest I’d come to a runners high in years.

I think we ended up with just under 5 miles round trip

I don’t have any regrets listening to my body and turning around when we did, but there will definitely be a day for redemption. I will hike all the way to the top and see all Zion in all of it’s glory from the very tippy top.


Side note:

In 2016-17 when I was really sick for months and couldn’t get out of bed, I promised myself that if & when I regained my health, I would never take it for granted. Kinda cliche, but it’s honestly the truth.

I’m telling you about my illness just to give you context, I’m not asking for a pity party, but to put this climb in perspective. I know that I’m a work in progress and I just want to be more than I was yesterday.

Well, we made it through and I have no words for how thankful I am. Thankful for Chinese Medicine, thankful for trusting my body could and actually would recover, thankful for the support of my husband & friends and so many others who didn’t give up on me.

I truly know that if you have your health, you are so freaking rich.

What are your fears and/or phobias?

Mine are snakes & anything that has to do with puking. Can’t.Deal.

Have you ever been to Zion?

One comment

  1. Wow, J — that is so awesome! So proud of you. What an adventure. I have not been to Zion but now I think we need to add it to our list. Rick and I are trekking to Machu Picchu this fall so I certainly need to get into “hiking” shape. So smart to listen to your body. Discretion is the better part of valor, right?


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