Angel’s Landing

Angels Landing-21

Angel’s Landing boasts 1,300+ foot drops on each side of the 1/2 mile spine leading to the top.

I crouched on the uneven, rocky terrain with a death grip on a chain bolted into the rocks.  Unable to move, I stared at the shoelaces on my hiking boots.  Fear cloaked me as I envisioned the 1,300+ foot drop on each side of the narrow, half mile spine leading to the top of Angel’s Landing, in Zion National Park.  “Let’s go back”, Greg encouraged, “It’s okay, we’ve gone far enough.”  Flooded with relief, I low-crawled back to safer ground, not a bit embarrassed by my grounds-eye view of boots trekking past me in the other direction! That was 25 years ago.  “Someday,” I promised, “I will finish that hike!”

Fast forward to the present.  Standing at the trail head,  I stared up at the 5,785 foot high peak.

A Place "Only An Angel Could Land On"

A Place “Only An Angel Could Land On”

What made me think I could conquer my nemesis at the wise age of 60 when I failed as an energetic 35 year old?  Dismissing the thought quickly, I turned to Greg for inspiration. “So, if I make it to the top, you’ll buy me an Angel’s Landing T-shirt, right?”   With his promise, we followed our boots up the path.

Angels Landing-4  Angels Landing-6

Angel’s Landing received its name from early explorers who described the flat peak as a place “only an Angel could land on”.  The name conjures up visions of fluffy white clouds, majestic views and soft landings.  In reality, it tests one’s grit with the fear of heights and hard landings.

Angels Landing-5

Rated as “strenuous”, the trail ascends 1,500 feet in 2.5 miles through a series of switchbacks but it’s signature feature, the treacherous last half mile, begins where the paved path ends.  A narrow, rocky fin, with chains and footholds in some sections, stretches high above the valley floor boasting sheer drops on both sides.  As we completed the last 21 switchbacks, I felt surprisingly calm.  “Maybe the wisdom that comes with age hasn’t kicked in yet,” I mused.

Angels Landing-7         Looking Down at the Last Set of Switchbacks

When we reached Scout’s Landing, the “go, no-go” point, Greg eyed me eyeing the long 1/2 mile ahead.  I smiled. To my delight, the chains on the ridge were now handrail height. No low-crawling for me this time!

Angels Landing-10


We stepped gingerly onto the ridge, climbed up rock faces, stood in crevices allowing descending hikers to pass by on skinny ledges, and…..

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…. made it to the top!

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Dizzying, panoramic views surrounded us.

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I learned two things in that moment.  First, unconquered fear has a way of growing enormously over the years but shrinks sharply when challenged.  Secondly, the terrifying views I so carefully avoided on the way up were impossible to ignore on the way down.

Angels Landing-22 Angels Landing-15

With my souvenir T-shirt in hand, I realized this was simply one more way to celebrate 60!

Categories: On the RoadTags: , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. That is a great story and way to go on conquering that fear!
    You have added yet another place that I now MUST visit. Love the pictures!


  2. Good for you. That is a great accomplishment at any age. It is a very beautiful area, and a spectacular hike.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yay for you!!! I had no doubt when I started reading this that you would finish..amazing woman that you are. I love your adventures!!!


  4. Nice Pictures Wagstaffs!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great pix & description of your challenge. I have done some climbing on trails but I
    definitely have acknowledged that I have what is called vertigo….soooo, no edge of a
    trail for me. I want railings before I look over the side of cliffs. 😎
    Corinne J Bulygo

    Liked by 1 person

  6. you’re my hero! living vicariously through your adventures.


  7. Wow! You two are amazing! Rosannie I don’t think I could conquer that! My fear of heights paralyzes me! The views are gorgeous though! Nice photos Greg!


  8. This is one of my top favorite hikes. Congrats on conquering it!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. You both are so dang awesome. Maybe it’s my age but I couldn’t do that climb. Love you guys and your adventures! Penny

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I would like to ask about your rv… we’re looking and trying to decide what make/model and what features are important. we seem to gravitate to class a, 29-31 ft, gas. any suggestions?


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Rosanne Wagstaff

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