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October 18, 2010 / Steve

Day 288 – Don’t Look Down

For the most part, I have never known a fear of heights or even a fear of dangerous things that scare most people. I have always been a thrill seeker, but have found my limit and experienced true knee-buckling fear on what would more accurately be described as a ledge than a trail. For instance, take notice of the chain they’ve drilled into the mountain so you have “something” to prevent falling the thousand or so feet to the valley floor if you slip. And yes, that drop off you see in the picture goes almost all the way down.

When I read the sign at the trailhead, I didn’t really take it seriously:

“Falls from cliffs on this trail have resulted in death. Stay on the trail and away from the cliff edge. This trail is not recommended for those with a fear of heights.”

… in fact it felt a little like a challenge.

Most of the trail was just very steep switchback, but near the top, where the slot canyons are, things got a little dicey. This out-and-back trail climbs nearly a thousand feet over the one mile to the end, so it is actually a pretty short hike and we thought “how bad could it be”. I will just say it was way beyond any expectations.

There were two sections of some of the most insanely scary hiking trail I’ve ever been on. The one pictured here was the shortest but scariest section because it was wet sandstone slanted out away from the mountain, making a slip very likely if you’re not being careful. Anyway, we conquered the trail, fried nerves and all. It was a great experience, but Susan may not tell this story the same. 🙂 Honestly, when I saw the scary sections, I did not think she would do it. It was when she said “ok, let’s just go for it – go, go go…” – that’s when I got scared. 🙂

Comparing the two places
After being in Bryce Canyon, we didn’t know how much better it could get, but nothing could prepare you for the enormous majesty of what awaits you in Zion National Park if you’ve never been there. A totally different experience, Zion is on a completely different scale; much bigger and grander in scale than Bryce and just as breath-taking in its own way. Which is better? That’s impossible to say – both very different and wonderful in their own way. Zion has a very organized, easy system of getting around the park though and a larger variety of places to stay, restaurants, etc.

I have almost finished sorting through all the pictures from the trip and will be posting links for those soon, so for those of you interested in seeing more of Bryce and Zion, stay tuned….

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6 Comments

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  1. Beth / Oct 19 2010 10:31 AM

    We went to these parks as a family in August. HOT!!! I know exactly what trail you were on and refused to do it especially with the kids (15 & 11) who really wanted the challenge. Did you walk up the river? I would have to say that Zion was my favorite. The kids loved climbing all over the rocks at Arches in Moab the best.

    • Steve / Oct 19 2010 1:12 PM

      I can’t imagine trying to take kids on that trail, and I’m glad you didn’t try.

      Funny you mentioned walking up the river. We did do that and it was probably my favorite part!

  2. dave / Oct 19 2010 8:53 PM

    You have got to be kidding me!! The picture is amazing. My palms just got sweaty looking at this trail. I think I’m even a little dizzy too. Not a chance in the world I would do this.

    • Steve / Oct 19 2010 9:28 PM

      I’m not sure whether having done it would make it easier the next time or more difficult, but I can still remember being able to feel my heartbeat in my throat.

  3. Julie Kanitz / Oct 20 2010 9:21 PM

    CRAZY!!! oh my… so thrilled for the two of you but really??? 🙂 Glad you have photos because I will never be on this ledge. Is there a chance someone could be coming toward you on this trail?

    • Steve / Oct 20 2010 9:27 PM

      Oh yeah, that happened. We were half way through when a group of 3 hikers came around the bend. They were a little more confident so they offered to take the outside and we didn’t hesitate to let them.

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