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Natural Awakenings Charlotte

Happy Landing

May 30, 2023 10:39AM ● By Shannon Mc Kenzie

Last month for spring break, one of the places my family went was Zion National Park, in Utah. Months earlier, I applied for a permit for the Angels Landing hike. I’d read online that you could only do the hike if you had a permit, a sure indicator of an amazing experience. I think the permits are awarded by lottery, and I rarely win such things, so I didn’t expect we’d be able to do it. Amazingly, we won. I knew there was an element of danger involved, because when we went to Zion in 2019, a hiker fell to their death while we were there—and our family had decided not to do it then. This time, though, I thought the kids were old enough, and I knew we wouldn’t take risks to get a good picture. So, I didn’t think much more about it until we arrived. 

Most of the hike was strenuous, but not scary. I could see how someone could fall from a switchback, but the path was so wide that it was easy to keep distance from the edge. I wondered what the big deal was. Then we got to what I thought was the end, Scout Landing—and I saw narrow rocks going farther up, with chains to hold on to, and my knees kind of buckled. I thought it might be a short way to the top, but the trail just kept going, with a sheer drop-off on both sides. I was scared. My son was concerned. My daughter was oblivious, didn’t use the chains most of the time, and jumped from rock to rock. We saw several Condors, got to the top, I hardly took any pictures (the wind was really blowing), and we turned around to go down rather quickly. It was a relief to get to the bottom. 

A friend just showed me an Instagram post that listed Angels Landing as the most dangerous hike in the U.S. I’m so glad we did it, and so glad I didn’t know what we were in for ahead of time. Some of my most memorable adventures have happened that way. And now we have a great story. 

Wishing you a happy Father’s Day and a summer of great stories, 



p.s. picture is the kids at the top – no selfies.

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