Climbing, Challenging, Centering & Soaring ~ Making Peace With Fear at Angels Landing, Zion
Saturday was our last day in Zion National Park and we decided to end our time there with a bang by taking on Angels Landing.
This is one of the most famous and thrilling hikes not just in Zion, but in the national park system.
It is a stunning 5.4 mile roundtrip trail with views from the top of the Virgin River and Zion Canyon below. Doesn’t sound like much, but it rises 1500 feet steeply and quite rapidly in the 2.7 miles, which for some can be quite strenuous in and of itself.
Then the last half mile is the truly gut-wrenching part, which is not for the faint of heart.
Many will just stop at the top, where you can still enjoy wonderful views, without trekking the half mile of more challenging trail that has anchored support chains to assist you up and around the fin where you have 1000 plus foot drops on both sides of you.
To give you an idea on timing for this if you decide to do take it on as well at some point, we hiked up the switchbacks in 45 minutes to the top before the last half mile of craziness. And we hiked back down in 45 minutes after we finished the chained area.
And that is just the energy I called upon in order to accomplish this hike, as normally it would be terribly fearful, perhaps to the point of paralyzed fear at times, and maybe not something I’d have wanted to even try.
The interesting thing is that my fear isn’t consistent. I have no fear of paragliding, sky diving, or flying…I go on big roller coasters and all. I love high altitudes and my desire is to live in high altitude and alpine areas.
I feel it boils down to self trust and feeling grounded and fully Earthbound. I’m very comfortable with flying and lightness…so for me, it has been a process to come fully into my body and ground and integrate the physical and spiritual. Something that is really balancing out more and more now for me and especially with all of the Nature time we’ve been spending and integrating the energies.
So synchronously, every single day of the three days we were in Zion, we saw the Bighorn Sheep twice a day, which is incredible. They embody the energy of that steadfast goat/Capricorn that I have within me to embrace.
Interestingly also, at the ancient ruins in Page Springs where we stayed outside of Sedona, I had received a vision of a white Mountain Goat alongside an ancient Indian – the Rocky Mountain Goat of the alpines that is a sure-footed climber on cliffs and ice.
So I know the spirit of the goat has been with me, especially with all of the hiking and climbing we have been doing, but also because it symbolizes the energy of my new path in life.
Oddly, this day I had felt called to braid my hair, which made me feel like a Native Indian – we kept calling me Pocahontas and Sacagawea – and also seemed to connect me with my ancient roots for integrating further Earth connection to keep me grounded and call up my strengths.
I was determined to face it and so I did a lot of Reiki energy work, not only protecting myself, but strengthening myself and with intent to embody the sure-footedness of the Mountain Goat. I called upon the white Rocky Mountain Goat and the Bighorn Sheep to be with me and then worked with the fear as I have done with the skiing and the mountain biking.
I not only steadily and consistently went up the switchbacks without need to stop for a break (which has become normal now for me), but when we reached the top where the people not continuing further on to the chained steep last half mile, I was given a choice.
When we saw the amount of people trying to make their way to the top and asked how long it took some coming down, we were contemplating if it was worth going up.
Maybe since Dave already did it, he said to me that we could just as well hike the other side and see nice views without wading through that last part, or we could just do it.
He left it up to me.
That was perfect, as I got to make the empowering choice. And I said, “Let’s do it. I didn’t come up all this way and prepare myself for nothing.”
So we did.
And along the way there were a few people that did become paralyzed with fear and couldn’t move, and needed supportive help back down even from only having gone a tiny way.
I understood their fear and felt the best thing I could do for the collective pool of energy would be to work through the energy myself in order to help shift things.
And so I stayed completely focused, present, and in the moment. Once again, blocking out everything except what was only right in front of me, taking one step at a time. I didn’t focus on the drops to both of my sides, didn’t let anything around me into my experience.
But I also allowed myself to enjoy and praise myself for each part.
I didn’t try to rush. I didn’t have to stop. I kept steady, focused, centered, consistent, and present. Every step counting. Calculating the rocks in front of me and the best way my feet would securely support myself.
And yes, when there were chains, I indeed held on. But the chains were also needed to climb up and pull with your arm strength, as you pushed off with your legs. Full body workout indeed.
I really enjoyed that and got into the climbing, which took me out of thinking about the edge of the cliff I was hanging off of, or what was below.
The other thing I really appreciated was the fact that there were many others around – which also was interesting to us that so many did brave this area.
Many I’m sure had no issue with it at all. Others were likely similar to me.
There weren’t any children, as that isn’t recommended and they really can’t do it. There were mostly a younger and mid-aged group of people.
And what I loved was humanity again shining through, as everyone was working together like a team.
There wasn’t anyone to stop those coming down and up from pushing their way through.
There wasn’t anyone to coordinate anything.
A helping hand was always outstretched to help everyone, especially in areas where you had to go around people waiting up against the stones and you were cradling the edge of the cliff to get around. There were also helping hands up and down if needed and just extended even if you didn’t. People would said you can hold on or grab on to me….no one knowing each other or afraid to be close.
So much camaraderie…so much care for one another.
That was really a gift to experience, besides the personal triumphs I was experiencing.
I won’t say I wasn’t scared, as I was, but I felt confident in my ability to do it and that I knew my process.
And I did do it. And was quite proud of myself.
Even Dave said he had fears at times with the shear drop offs and seeing people so close to at any moment falling off with one wrong move, or that others could fall off due to someone’s wrong move.
He said he remembered it being challenging, but not quite like this.
Yet, he had less fears than I to work through, so he took tons of photos of me, while I was too focused to take photos until we were at the top and once we were heading down.
I’m grateful he did, as I’ll always have these to show myself of what I’ve accomplished.
To some it may be nothing, as we all have different fears, but to me it was huge and I am very proud of myself for working through and overcoming it.
I did become that Mountain Goat and embraced my inner Capricorn a big step more on that day.
And when we reached the top to take in the view, it was as if the Angels were shining down upon us, as this amazing rainbow light was all around us when I shot this photo from our place of accomplishment – where we were soaring in our integrated embodiment of human and spirit merged and in synergy.
The photos Dave took don’t really even show how steep the edges are and how challenging parts of this really are, but they give you an idea.
I do remember on our way up that this tiny butterflies were flying around us. Ones like I’ve never seen before. They had three white wings and one yellow wing. Incredible! All of them were like this. And even a Swallowtail once made an appearance before we headed off on the last challenging half mile.
I definitely felt the support and know that we were being watched over and supported.
And on our way out of the park another gift.
We had seen many Bighorn Sheep, as mentioned, twice a day.
And so it was that that is what took place.
The Bighorn Sheep were right at the edge of the road coming down off the rocks right when we were coming through. So we stopped the car and took it all in. Some of them crossing in front and behind us and then we got out and some right next to us on the other side of the road.
Posted on March 28, 2016, in Uncategorized and tagged Angels Landing, bighorn sheep, capricorn, climbing, courage, fear, hiking, mountain goat, thrilling hikes, Zion National Park. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.