Captain Hughes realized the time: 6:59am. “Get up! We have overslept!” he announces. “Move it, move it, move it!” PB and Js in hand, a cloud of dust in our wake, we roar out of the campsite towards Bryce for hike #2. A chance email from Jim sends Dudley into a paroxysm of doubt regarding our day’s outing: “Jim says we have done the best Bryce hike already. Move it, move it, move it!” Tires squeal, u-turns are made. We are now heading towards Zion. Laura is allowed to mail some postcards, but only if she can do it while the van is still moving.
Although there are 100 miles of hiking in Zion, we only have two real options, according to Jim: the Narrows, which requires water shoes (which we don’t have), or Angel’s Landing, in which ‘fatalities have occurred’ says the info-voice on the shuttle bus. We shouldn’t do it if we don’t have the proper shoes, Laura says. We choose to roll the dice with Angel’s Landing.
Angel’s Landing was named by a minister who thought the location perfect for an angel’s resting spot, as it is 1500 feet above the valley floor. Angels are lucky: they have wings. We mortals must cling to the embedded guide-chains as we climb hand over hand upward along the narrow ledge. Although only 2.5 miles one way, it’s an unrelenting incline. The incline is not the problem. The problems are the sheer drop-offs and the exposed ledges that hikers have to navigate. This is no ordinary national park stroll. It’s scary. Laura bailed out 3/4 of the way up; too scary. Dudley kept going and was rewarded with an angel’s view of Zion’s Canyon.
It was a blistering 85 degrees, which sounds reasonable as a summer temp for most of the country, but for us Coastsiders, we were wilting and crabby. “Move it, move it, move it! Into the van! Let’s head for the hills!” barked The Captain.
And so we did.
We write to you from an equestrian camp near Pine Valley, Utah. It’s an oasis of cool in the midst of the surrounding desert. (An equestrian camp allows human campers to bring their equine friends; there is a paddock at each campsite. We have many equine neighbors tonight.)
We had a fascinating conversation with the camp host regarding the whereabouts of Flight 370 that went missing. Apparently, the plane was lifted onto another planet, and the occupants are living a similar life as they had on earth. It’s unimportant whether you believe or not, she told us. What’s important is that the plane will never be found. We are left to wonder what the next adventure brings for all involved.
Same with us: Tomorrow we head for California, past the Valley of Fire, through Las Vegas, and across Death Valley. We will almost certainly head for the hills.