He hiked to the top of Angels Landing at Zion National Park even though he's afraid of heights.
We got to the park on Tuesday morning and parked "Clifford the Big Red Dog" amongst a sea of beautiful Corvettes.
The sign at the beginning of the trail is daunting:
The beginning isn't too bad. Lots of long switchbacks in the sun. I huffed and puffed and Gary waited for me in the little patches of shade that seemed to come at just the right time.
Once we got through that section, there was a nice section that was fairly level and had lots of shade.
Then we came out into the sun again and climbed higher and higher. Here's a shot at the bottom of "Walter's Wiggles," a section of short switchbacks.
|Here's Gary at the bottom.|
|And here's a shot looking back from near the top.|
We watched people climbing the rocky surface and then grabbing a chain to help them as they climbed.
Gary decided to go for it and made his way up to the chain.
We challenged ourselves with the trail that included sections of reassuring chain and short sections without any chain. We had to scramble up and down rocks. Sometimes we had to wait while someone came down because the trail was basically single file most of the way.
At the top it was wider, but tilted. We made our way out to the end.
Happy people took pictures and enjoyed the view.
We had someone take our picture at the top. We did it!
We enjoyed a snack and watched the bold chipmunks scurry around our feet and packs.
Now we just had to make our way down. I think that was almost scarier, because I saw more of the dropoffs, but Gary said it didn't bother him too much.
It took us four hours, but we had an amazing experience. I am so proud of Gary for not letting his fear of heights hold him back. He kept going in spite of his fears.
All of us can learn from this. We don't have to let our fears hold us back. If we push on in spite of our fears, we may be rewarded with something awesome.
Now, we have to be smart about this. If we are terrified, we may need some help or some time before we're ready to face our fears.
We were following two women toward the beginning of the chain section. One woman was coaching the other on how to climb the rocks or get down from a high spot. Her friend did fine for a while, but eventually she got to a spot where she could go no further. She was almost crying and they decided to turn around. She was so scared she couldn't even step away from the chain to let us get by. I had to reach around her and grab the chain. Gary had to let go for a few seconds while they went by.
Gary also said that he could handle his fear of heights on his own, but he was more scared if he was worried about someone else. At the beginning of the chain section I didn't hold on to the chain exactly (it was close, but I tried just holding on to the rock), but that freaked Gary out when I told him.
He didn't want to have to worry about me falling to my death while he was facing his fear of heights. So I held on to the chain (gratefully).
Maybe you don't have a fear of heights, but something else scares you. Remember that it may be worth it to press on in spite of those fears. You just may experience something amazing!
"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10 NIV)
Is your fear of something holding you back? How can focusing on God help you to face those fears and press on?