Zion National Park

Zion National Park is the most beautiful place I have ever been. It took my breath away literally and figuratively. We chose one of the most strenuous trails—Angel’s Landing—on one of the hottest days. Countless switchbacks on the way up to Scout Lookout forced me to stop and pause for air and water, and to drink in that incredible view. The challenging conditions made reaching the peak all the more satisfying. 

Angel’s Landing is a five mile trail that beings with a series of steep switchbacks (with a 1488 foot gain in elevation!) and ends with a narrow single-file steep cliff-like walk with chains to hold on to, a 1200 foot drop on one side and 800 foot drop on the other. We were all pretty positive about doing the trail but secretly each of us had reservations and none believed that we would actually complete it. The funny thing is that once we got going I didn’t really feel afraid. While actually on this section of the trail I was so focussed on putting one foot in front of the other, maintaining the all important three points of contact (which according to Rich guarantees you will not fall) and manoeuvring around the tide of people coming back down the trail (it’s a single file system with two lanes of traffic…not ideal at points!) that I didn’t have any brain space left for fear. When we paused to admire the view, take photos or look out over the edge I began to feel a little freaked out but all in all my own bravery kind of took me by surprise. 

We hung out on the final landing for a little while , recorded some videos for our families and took a ton of photographs. It’s hard to capture just how high up we were, it was hard to even comprehend it when we were there! I’ll never forget this day, it was hot and scary and such a challenge. 

This is the view from Scout’s Lookout—the trail to Angel’s Landing is just ahead, up over the first orange-y peak and then onto the green one in the centre of the frame. It doesn’t look too impressive in this shot but believe me…it was insane.

These little chipmunks were running around everywhere. They are clearly used to hanging out around humans because they scrambled right up to us while we were eating our lunch, awaiting errant crumbs no doubt. 

This is the top of the landing. It was a busy day and the trail was packed. Hiking in America is a very different experience than hiking in Ireland. People tend to keep to themselves and it’s rare for people to greet each other or exchange pleasantries as they pass. It’s kind of sad considering how we were all experiencing this incredible thing together, but not really together. I’ve come to appreciate just how special the community spirit we have back home is. 

That was a pretty scary moment. The shuttle buses look like little ants they’re so far below. 

This photo makes my heart explode. This year has been the highest and the boldest and the hardest and the most full. Moments like this kind of push it over the edge. 

Look at this adventurer. I love him and how he convinces me I can do these insane things. Yay for more adventures and roadtrips and everything in between. To do this all together is such a treat. 

How is this real life? Seriously?! This world is awe inspiring. 

When we got to the bottom of the trail we waded into the river to cool off. It’s hard to comprehend that this now narrow, shallow river was once large enough to carve the enormous valley. 

There are so many trails and vistas left to explore, I hope we can make it back to Zion again sometime. If you have the chance to visit Zion, go. You could never regret it.