I had a wonderful time during the last week of December, that started with a surprise visit from an old army buddy of Joshs and ended in the best hike I’ve been on yet (apologizing in advance for all of the pictures with this blog).
On the first day of Chad and Holly’s visit, we started off with a hike at the French Man Hills. This hike about 5 miles from our house and only takes 10-15 minutes to get to the top depending on your pace. At the top, it has a beautiful view of the Las Vegas valley, especially at night. We began our hike at 8:30 a.m. We picked this hike because Chad & Holly said they wanted a good view of the city. Ironically, it was the first cloudy day Vegas has had in a few weeks. After the hike we ate at the Timbers Restaurant, one of our favorite eats, and then headed out to Red Rock Canyon. One of the nice things about Vegas hiking is if you don’t like the view at one spot, head out to another and you will get a totally different view.
Once we got out to Red Rock, we pulled off at the first stop (where I took my parents). We took a small hike there and then headed to another area. We pulled off at the second stop and took a pretty good hike up to shark rock. The shark rock isn’t actually named that, I call it that because at the time of my first hike with Josh, we both saw a rock and pointed out that it looked like it was shaped like a shark…I know…a riveting story haha! The hike up to shark rock is a pretty good climb and has a wonderful view of Red Rock Canyon…..so worth the hike.
Next, we drove around the canyon and pulled off at another spot called White Head. This is a trail that is about 6 miles long. Less than half way through the hike we decided to go straight up with mountain. This was a bit more challenging due to the ever changing terrain, with dirt and vegetation on the trail, which makes it more slippery. Once we got almost to the top that was as far as I was going. Y’all when I tell you I am afraid of heights I am not joking. Vegas hiking is much different than it is back home in Indiana…obviously. I have always loved hiking but Iam so used to flat trails, and hiking out here, especially with Josh is much different (he challenges me haha). We were almost to the top when I started to panic, we were so high. Thankfully, Holly was there and she didn’t want to go up any more either. We told Josh & Chad to go on up and we would meet them back at the car. Holly and I made our way down to the car and had an enjoyable hike. While waiting on the boys to come down the other side of the mountain we decided the way down we found was easier and they confirmed it and would have been much safer too. Non the less we enjoyed our hike and will have to remember that for next time.
Later that evening we took them out to little Mexico, which is nothing but desert land where people go to shoot guns (ya, you can do that here) or to just hang out and have fires. We decided to have a fire and let them see the Las Vegas lights. Hanging out & getting to know new friends was so much fun. The next day they wanted us to go to the Hoover Dam and The Grand Canyon with them. We decided we would take a rain check because we were exhausted. Later that night, Josh and I met up with them in Fremont (old Vegas) to experience the night life. We visited a few bars and danced the night away!
Thursday we drove to Zion National Park, which is about 3 hours away. We lost an hour with the time change from Nevada to Utah and the traffic was heavy due to it being almost New Years weekend. So, it took us about an hour to get into the park.
We hiked up to Angels Landing (which is the hardest hike in Zion). We didn’t start until 4 p.m., and the sun starts to set around 4:45 p.m. in the mountains. With doubtful girlfriends and gung-ho army boys we started our way to the top. The hike is at about a 40 degree hike minimum all the way up. So, if you want a killer leg work out you got it!
This hike is hard but the views are beautiful. The trail pretty much zig zags all the way up because it is steep. After about two hours into our hike and almost to the top we saw a sign that said .5 miles to the top. Now, I had already thought we were pretty close to the edge and boy oh boy was I wrong. At that moment I had an amazing view clouded with nothing but fear!! We were standing on a plateau of the mountain and to continue to the next part of the hike you used chains and poles put into the side so you could hold yourself from falling to your death. I’M NOT KIDDING…LITERALLY TO YOUR DEATH! If you misstep your life is over as you know it. I promise you…I am not being overly dramatic. I told you before I am DEATHLY afraid of heights and as I am standing here staring at this chain going up the side and I decide it’s now or never and if I stand here any longer I am going to talk myself out of this.
So, I started this terrifying hike up, making Josh come right behind me. To give you guys an idea of how this worked, it went up and then would plateau and then go up again and that repeated for a while. I made it up 3 plateaus and went into instant panic mode because if you looked down you saw your death. So, as I am starting to freak out Josh asked me if I can make it up and the more important question will I be able to make it down? I was trying to be brave but I am now realizing that on the way down I will inevitably have to look down and I DID NOT THINK THIS THROUGH UNTIL THIS VERY MOMENT. Annnnddddd, here comes the panic attack. I am sitting on a plateau on the side of a mountain with one of the most beautiful views I have ever seen, with the sun setting and I start hyperventilating….Josh made me breath into my jacket (no brown bag available) I was freaking out so badly. After I calmed down a little bit, I realized that I didn’t want to take this adventure away from Josh’s experience, so I told him I wanted him to go to the top.
Feeling secure where I was, I told him to go and I would just wait for him. I sat there for about 5 minutes trying to enjoy the view and calm myself down. Before long it started getting really really dark and I still had to make my way down a steep downhill climb. Annndddddd here… again… come the water works and lack of air coming into my lungs. With so many things running through my mind the loudest was GET DOWN NOW! I was so full of fear trying to figure out how to accomplish this task. Just then a wonderful couple coming down the mountain offered to help me. I was so thankful! Once they helped me get down to the first plateau I thought it was best to wait for Josh so he didn’t think that I fell down the mountain.
(See the chains going up the side of the mountain)
Josh made his way back down to where I was waiting and checked to see if was okay. I was still terrified, but he calmed me down (he has a gift of helping me through panic attacks). I am glad I didn’t go all the way to the top as Josh told me that it only got worse the further you went, he said there was a part he didn’t even want to do. Once it got completely dark, we all enjoyed the view of the canyon with the moon and stars lighting everything up. It was freezing being up that high, but it was definitely worth the view. It was cool to watch the cars driving through the canyon below with their headlights on, they looked like little toy cars.
With the moon being half full – the hike down was a different type of adventure lighting up the trail (on some parts we had to use our flash lights). The silence in the Canyon was mesmerizing as well. The closer you got to the bottom the more you could hear the river. There was not one part of this hike that wasn’t worth it. Hiking up during the sun light and down by the moon couldn’t have been more perfect (minus the panic attacks haha).
(The lights are cars driving through the canyon)
I know words will never describe the feeling this gave me and how beautiful it is here, but I urge you to put this adventure on your bucket list. It is something words will never be able to describe and pictures will never do it justice. A day I will remember for the rest of my life.
So thankful to be able to have this adventure with Chad & Holly!
Here’s to a life of spontaneity,