Tuesday, February 25, 2020

The Mighty Five | Southern Utah Hiking Trip

Out of all of our adventures we had planned for our two-month traveling stint in 2019, this hiking trip was the one I was the least excited about. I was actually quite afraid of it. I'm most scared of two things: snakes and heights. And I was positive that we would have run-ins with both of these fears several times throughout the week. But I'm happy to report that there were only tears one time and that was because of a scary, slippery heights situation and I didn't see a single creature that I didn't want to see. It probably helped that I was constantly (and I literally mean CONSTANTLY) praying in my mind and heart that I wouldn't see any nasty animals. #blessed

So while this trip was one I honestly dreaded, it ended up being the one that surprised me the most. I LOVED IT and I was shocked that I enjoyed it so much! I've decided that I need to get rid of some of my limiting beliefs like "I don't like hiking" and "I'm a bad cook" because I've actually enjoyed both of those things a lot in the last year.

Some reasons why this trip was as great as it was:

+ The company we had was top notch as was the weather.

+ We stayed in good, warm, dry places with beds and flushable toilets and hot showers. That was my one requirement if I was to be a good sport and accompany Parker on a trip like this haha. While I love camping, I figured that would be a little much for my first legit hiking trip. Lol, we'll work up to that someday....maybe!

+ We ate some great food and watched all the Harry Potter movies in the evenings to unwind.

+ I don't know if I've ever gotten such good sleep because I was so blasted worn out at the end of the day from walking what seemed like 500 miles ;).

+ While I tend to enjoy the scenery found in areas like Glacier National Park with all the pine trees and the Rockies a little more, I can't deny that Southern Utah is so pretty in its own way and we saw some beautiful sights!

+ I knew my limits going into the trip and I wasn't going to do anything I didn't feel comfortable with. Parker knew not to push me too far and he was so sweet and helpful when I did feel a little afraid.

+ And I just felt good! So many endorphins from all of the exercise and I was so proud of myself for conquering some of my fears and actually enjoying the result!

Onto the photos! And don't forget to watch the video at the end because that's my favorite part!

 I decided slot canyons are my favorite hikes. No heights and it was really fun to scramble! ^^

Parker helping me with said scrambling lol
 That is actual fear on my face haha. I don't know why standing up on that rock like that freaked me out so much!
This day ^ we were hiking in Arches National Park and decided for some reason to do the 'primitive trail' to make one gigantic loop through the park. This didn't seem like a dumb decision at the time but oh boy did I regret it after... kind of. Because we had taken this route, Parker was able to save someone's life so that was good. But it scared the crap out of me in the process. 

The primitive trail is just that, primitive. It's not a well-marked trail at all.. just had some cairns and arrows here and there to help you stay on course. There's no railings or stairs carved into the trail or anything either which, after our experience, I should seriously write a strongly worded letter to someone about this. 


So we came upon this large curved rock part of the trail and as we were climbing on top of it we saw that it's a really, really steep slope on the other side and we had to somehow get down there to continue on. I started to get really nervous because I don't like steep. This is sandstone, might I add, so very slippery if you don't have proper hiking shoes and prior to this trip I did not consider myself a hiker so I never knew I needed hiking shoes. Our friends had hiking shoes and made it down no problem. To get down this slope, you basically have to face the slope with your toes on the teeniest tiniest "ledge" and lean into the mountain and slowly inch your way diagonally down on this ledge to the flat part at the bottom. I wish I'd taken a photo so you could understand what I mean because it's hard to explain it. Parker started to go down ahead of me so he could help me out because I was scared. I started to make my way to where Parker was but began to shake out of fear so I decided to climb back up to the flat part at the top and take a moment before I tried again. 

Meanwhile, there was an older couple (who had absolutely NO BUSINESS being on the primitive trail) that were waiting to make their way down the slope as well. Parker offered to help them since he was going to have to wait for me anyway so the old man started to make his way toward Parker. Rather than turn into face the mountain, he put his heels on the "ledge" and leaned back. Suddenly his entire body started to shake a ton as he realized he was stuck and he started to slide down the slope. Nick was at the bottom and had positioned himself below the man in case he was to slide/fall all the way down so he could somewhat break his fall. And luckily Parker was still in a position to help so he managed to grab the man by one arm and held him there until the man had somewhat regained his footing. At this point, I'm at the top just SOBBING. I had turned around and cried into my hands when the man started to slip because I didn't want to watch someone die and possibly take my spouse with them. I stood at the top violently crying thinking about everything that could have gone wrong: this man could have fallen and seriously hurt himself, if not died. Parker could have been taken down with him and also been hurt. I would have to do the same part of the trail in order to get down off that blasted rock! 

Finally, the man and his wife got down with Parker's help and continued moving along and out of our way so it was my turn. I couldn't see because of my tears and sweat, I couldn't breathe because of my crying, my whole body was shaking. But Parker basically moved my feet for me and held them against the mountain so I wouldn't slip at all and we slowly but surely made it down to safety and lived to tell the tale. As awful as it was to experience that fiasco, we were overall grateful to be in the right place at the right time to help that couple make it safely down the slope. 

Luckily that was the only issue we had the entire trip so overall it was a smashing success and so much fun!

 I spy Parker!

This song is appropriate! While we didn't actually walk 500 miles it sure as heck felt like it. Especially the last day. All of us had sore muscles and sore joints and our bodies were seriously exhausted. Good thing Parker and I had a relaxing cruise up next on our agenda!

Thanks Nick, Devin, Carson, & Taelyn for joining us on this trip! We love you guys and can't wait for our next adventure together!

xoxo, Chelan

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