Walter’s Wiggles (74)

  
Today, we hiked my favorite hike: Angel’s Landing. I hiked this trail with my family about ten years ago, and I couldn’t wait to do it again with Chris.

Accordingly,  when the alarm went off at 4:15AM, for once, I was the first one to get up and start packing up camp. The reason for the early wake up was so that we could sneak through a no-cyclists-allowed tunnel to get to the Zion Visitor Center, and so that we could try to catch the first shuttle to the trailhead at 6AM.

We made our way down to the tunnel in the chilly morning air, almost hitting a few nonchalant deer in the process.

We couldn’t see much more than the silhouettes of the mountains against the starry night sky, but that was enough to intuit the grandiose, perennial nature of our surroundings.

Without a car in sight, we successfully navigated the dark, narrow tunnel.

  
We didn’t quite make the first shuttle, but were pleased to make the second one at 6:15AM.
When calculating the time needed for a hike, Chris’ brother, Casey, once informed me that the average hiker travels at 3MPH, while Smiths travel at 4MPH. Indeed, as I half ran beside Chris’ long strides, we were soon passing hikers from the 6AM shuttle.

  
  
The trail ascends quickly, gaining 1500 feet in 2.4 miles. Chris had seen a spot on the trail map called Walter’s Wiggles, and each time the trail turned, he asked if we were in Walter’s Wiggles yet. When we finally reached this fun series of compact switchbacks, we ran into a fellow who asked if this was our first time hiking Angel’s Landing. When he learned that it was a first for Chris, he stated, “You will never forget this day.”

  
When we reached the ridge to the top that drops off 1000 feet on both sides, prefaced by a sign telling of six deaths since 2004, I could hardly contain my excitement.

   
    
    
 When we reached the top with its glorious views of the park, I asked Chris if he was underwhelmed, since I had hyped the hike up so much. I was happy to hear that he was not!
  
We sat down for a snack and were soon surrounded by five or six darting chipmunks, and one squirrel.

   
 It was very busy on the way down, and we were glad to have beat the crowds.

  
We had some snacks at the visitor center before riding to Hurricane. Someday, we will have to come back to Zion to do The Narrows!

Our plan is to ride at night for a while now to avoid the extreme heat of this region. Indeed, we researched temperatures for tomorrow’s ride and discovered that in Mesquite, temperatures will hover around 110F this week. Thus, we got a hotel for the night. We were both exhausted, so we ordered food and fell asleep around 5PM.

Trip stats, to date (Day 74)

Mt. Carmel, UT to Hurricane, UT

Daily mileage: 37.1mi ;  Trip total to date: 4,366.7mi
Daily riding time: 2hr 42min;  Trip total time: 378hr 22min
Daily ascent: 600 ft;  Trip total ascent: 217,858 ft
Flat tires: Rachel – 3; Chris – 3


6 thoughts on “Walter’s Wiggles (74)”

  1. I concur with Casey’s assessment- having hiked with all the Smith sibs at once I have been known to say “I’ll meet you at the top!”

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