Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Does this mean I am anorexic?

Typically when someone hikes 12 miles on just a can of spaghetti, it is a sign of an eating disorder, but I think I am in the clear because it was not by choice.

I began my morning with a brisk 3 mile hike through the Hoodoos of Bryce Canyon, ornately carved pillars of stone, created by erosion, which decorate the walls of the Amphitheatre, as this part of the canyon is known. After hiking to the bottom of the canyon and back up, I was on my way to Zion national park.

Now Zion is a beautiful park, and one of its claims to fame is that it is the 2nd most popular spot for big wall climbing in the US, after Yosemite National Park. I could easily see why as I stood at the edge of the canyon overlook, another 2 mile hike round trip.

From the canyon rim, I took a long scenic drive to the visitors center which involved passing through a mile of tunnel, and descending half a dozen steep switch backs. Upon arriving at the visitors’ center, I found an elderly lady who had fallen backwards in her wheel chair. Because of her neuropathy and pain meds I was unable to clear her spine, so I just stood their while others helped keep her comfortable until the EMTs arrived.

From there I hopped onto a free shuttle and made my way to the river walk, a 2 mile round trip hike through a narrow canyon which housed a rare, desert swamp. The water seeping from the sandstone walls of the canyon combined with the water from the Virgin River helped to form this rare ecosystem which included cattails, algae, frogs, and wild grapes. At the end of the hike, the canyon continues into an area known as the narrows, where you can hike up the river for quite a ways. I stopped after 100 yards.

From the canyon, I took a bus ride to Angels’ Landing, a 5 mile hike which ascends almost 1500 feet from the valley floor to the peak of Angels’ Landing. This is one of the greatest hikes that I have ever done, as I am sure you can see from the pictures. For someone who is scared of heights, climbing those chains was quite a challenge.

When I finally arrived at the top of the stone tower, I was struck by the beauty that surrounded me. G-d created all of this and he also saw fit to make me. I started to think about my worries about fund raising, which have still not gone away, but then my thoughts shifted. I started to think about all of the awesome experiences that the L-rd has given me. I thought about all the people he has placed in my life, and all of the opportunities that he has given me. Why would G-d bless his child so much and then not provide for him? He wouldn’t is the answer.

On my way back to the visitors’ center, I made one last stop for a quick 1 mile hike to Emerald Pond. After that I finally made it back to the visitors’ center, where I devoured two well deserved cups of shells and cheese, and a small can of baked beans. My mileage for the day totaled 12 miles when you subtract out the times that I rounded up the distance of a given hike.

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