angels landing | day 3 | 718 miles

friday july 3rd, 2015 | 1 hr ahead

Today was the first day without long-distance car travel, so if you’re monitoring the mileage, you’ll notice, we traveled only 7 more miles. This is a road trip, and we only went 7 miles? Yes, but it was 7 miles on foot with an elevation increase of 2,000 ft in triple digit weather, so please, calm yourself. We ascended Zion’s most popular attraction: Angel’s Landing, named so because the rock formation at the top of this hike looks like a place where angels might touch down on the earth. It literally did.

Don’t think that just because angels supposedly touch down here, the hike is a walk in the park; it’s not — well, I guess it is, literally, but by no means in a semantic sense. The hike is only 5.4 miles round trip, but it’s rated “strenuous” because of the last half a mile. Six people have died on this hike, and it’s pretty easy to understand why. Although it starts off surprisingly easy, the climb quickly turns into several switchbacks that take you up the face of the most prominent red rock in zion. This madness persists but with much reward; the whole hike has gorgeous views of the valley, only peeks at what is to come at the summit.

The last half mile, though, was apparently, a traverse on an incredibly narrow ridge, sometimes 2 ft across with an 800 foot cliff on one side and another 1000 foot cliff on the other…pick your poison. You could see angels landing from where we were staying, so you could see how intense the journey was going to be.

To be honest, I was pretty nervous about this hike; I’m scared of heights. But I will always remember something this guy named Jeb Corliss said in an interview. Jeb is a crazy base jumper who has like thousands of jumps under his name. He was answering the question about whether he gets scared before a jump, and he said something like:

“Of course I get scared, but you learn to love the fear; to control it… ‘I will not let the fear of something that is completely and absolutely inevitable prevent me from living my dreams and doing the things I love.’”

So, we embarked.

The ascent was great. It actually wasn’t too terrible at all. Here are some photos:


The second part of our day was a guided tram tour through the valley. It was kind of relaxing, and my grandpa got to join us, so it was nice.

I hate Thai food — sorry Sun. In fact, that’s pretty much the only kind of ethnic food that I don’t enjoy, so of course it would happen that the dinner place George found in Springdale — the town just outside of zion — was thai.

More than anything, I’ve just found Thai food to be incredibly confusing. The seemingly random assortment of complex flavors do not coalesce well in my mouth. It certainly doesn’t help that I don’t like coconut or lemon grass. Anyway, we decided to go here tonight, so we did, and the confusing combinations of flavors that typically come with traditional thai food are fairly representative of the experience. To put it in one phrase, this restaurant was a pan-asiatic new agey mom and pop shop.

Fortunately, my grandpa and George were wrong that there would be no more good food after Vegas. This food was more than good, it was great.

Today was a day of triumphs, of facing things that could have stood in my way but didn’t, and ultimately, I think that’s a very inspiring human characteristic. We are capable of much more than we ever imagine, so don’t sell yourself short. Set the bar high and reach it. Otherwise, you may never appreciate the world and all it has to offer. Hey if nothing else will convince you to do some things you don’t think you’ll like, I wouldn’t have gotten this picture if I wasn’t open to eating thai food from Springdale, Utah:

the original lady killer


Originally published on from sea to shining sea by Aaron Yih on Medium.com. For more travel blog posts, go to travel section of my blog. Find more up to date info on my Instagram and video-based content on my Youtube.

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