on June 29, 2002
"This isn't so bad!" were the first real words out of mouth on my hike up Angel's Landing. The hike up Angel's Landing began as a lazy meander up a series of switch backs. It didn't seem like the trail was really going to gain 1500 feet in 2.5 miles. My illusion faded quickly as the trail entered a narrow side canyon where sunlight only penetrates at the height of day. Walls of rock grow higher around you with each step you take. Soon the question comes to mind, "How are we going to get over those?" A bend is rounded and the answer presents itself as a long groan from your hiking partners. Years ago a series of switch backs were built into the cliff and given the name Walter's Wiggles. This wiggleing up a canyon wall has given many hikers burning calves and an expanded swearing vocabulary. Whew, you made it to the top, right? Only the worst part to go. If there is ice on the trail or you are scared of heights, turn back now before it is two late. The sprint to the end is a series of narrow ledges and long falls. Survival seems unimaginable. As you descend down through a neck it is easy to notice that the ground falls away 1000 feet on each side making it tough to concentrate. As the trail narrows there is a chain to hold onto when two feet aren't quite enough support. You clutch the chain tightly as toy cars follow a ribbon of road below you. Your life flashes before your eyes. You promise to make the world's wrongs right if only you could live until tomorrow. You look around, your body relaxes, air rushes into your mouth as you take your first breath in a long while. Finally, the top! Peregrin Falcons tend to there hatchlings in the cliff face. A vulture floats lazily on an updraft 200 feet below you. The canyon spreads itself in front of you in an overwhelming vista. You are on an 1500 foot island in the center of a 2500 foot canyon. You are the King of the world, that is until the hike down humbles you back to reality.
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