I pulled out my book, ready to indulge my love for Europe but my eyes couldn’t stay on the page. The scenery before me was intoxicating. As I gazed at the red, orange and pink spires reaching into a vibrant blue sky, I was overwhelmed. The sound of water dancing over the rocks and the bursts of green emerging from the trees made me giddy. A flash of yellow, possibly a gold finch, darted across the water. Then once again my eyes were drawn toward the heavens, toward the peeks reaching 4,800 feet into the air.
My family had left me nestled in the landscape. A camp chair, water, snacks and amusements were at my side ready to sustain and entertain me for the next three hours.
They were hiking up the one trail I had forbidden, Angel’s Landing.
Prior to this family vacation I watched enough YouTube videos of the Angel’s Landing hike that I had declared it off limits.
I should have known. Stating anything off-limits is a challenge to do just the opposite.
I thought that my husband, two daughters and son were only going as high as Scout’s Landing, a trail that includes 22 switchbacks with an elevation gain of 1,000 feet. Silly Mom! My husband and daughters did stop at that point, then they sat back and waited an hour while my son completed the entire hike. I like finding out after the fact. Otherwise my relaxing time waiting would have been fraught with anxiety. Young men are required to conquer mountains and I should have known better.
I struggle even watching the video. Hikers reach their destination along a ridge of uneven rock. At the most narrow point it is only 28 inches wide with a 1,000 foot drop on each side. This hike is not for the faint of heart, anyone with height issues or anyone with a lick of common sense.
Jared was on his adventure, but I too was on my own adventure. I was sitting in my glorious spot at the Angel’s Landing trailhead watching countless people begin their ascent to the clouds. I wondered how many would make it all the way and what drove so many to attempt this climb.
The day before this, I hiked a two mile journey to the beginning of The Narrows. The Narrows is another popular hike at the park. You hike IN the river through a narrow gorge. I hiked as far as the trail went on dry ground.
As I hiked I noticed too many people, much more fit than myself, trudging quickly past me. I however stopped to take photos of the wild columbine clinging to the canyon walls. I stopped to gaze at the water that couldn’t decide if it wanted to be blue or green. I followed the path of the water that trickled down the wall and I determined that I would see all that I could see on this journey.
Maybe I’m not a true hiker but I wanted more than the accomplishment of reaching the end of the trail and returning.
I knew that chances are slim that I will return again to Zion. I am 57 and there are so many other places yet to see. When I visit somewhere, I try to enjoy all that it has to offer for I know that, “I will not pass this way again.”
The last time I visited Zion, Bryce Canyon and the Grand Canyon was 21 years ago. My boys were too young to attempt the hiking trails, so we enjoyed the view and determined to return when they were just a bit older. It didn’t happen. My oldest two sons are married and were unable to join us on this trip. I have learned to seize the moment for our plans to return do not always come to pass. I am still waiting to return to Hawaii after a college trip 38 years ago.
The trail can quickly take us through the canyon, but I want to soak in everything about the canyon, including the people I am hiking with.
Life can take us quickly to the end, but I want to soak in each moment. I want to truly live.
I want to make time for adventure but I am determined to notice and enjoy the details and the moments along the way.
During one of our days in Bryce Canyon my family took another hike too strenuous for me. This time they hiked down into the canyon. I hung out in my trusty chair for three hours on the ridge of the canyon watching hikers so intent on hiking they barely stopped to notice the magnificent view.
I have decided that I need more adventure in my life. I am convinced that most everyone needs more adventure in their lives. However I have come to realize that there are different levels of adventure. There is Jared’s level which includes tackling (in his words) “terrifying” mountain climbs. Then there is the adventure of just trying something new, trying something out of the ordinary.
Summer is just ahead. Make a commitment to yourself that you will have at least one adventure, BUT it is imperative that as you boldly tackle your adventure, you must enjoy the process. Don’t climb the mountain and not enjoy the views.
I love hearing from each of you. Feel free to share an adventure you’ve had, are currently having or plan to have.
Here’s a toast to life and adventure. “May you live all the days of your life.” -Jonathan Swift
All photography by ANNA SPENCE
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I’m working on an exciting give-away. This one has a touch of adventure. Be sure to find out next week how you can win this unique prize. HINT – Glamping!
Don’t pass up my new book, Spring Pleasures – 50 Simple Pleasures for Winter-weary Souls. Each idea and pleasure was chosen and written to help the reader find life and pleasure in the simple events that we can easily overlook. After a winter that seemed to drag on forever, this book will help you enjoy spring more than ever! https://www.debbiespence.com/product/spring-pleasures/