Angels Landing and The Commons

David Barto - Sunday, December 31, 2017


Angels Landing


Zion National Park


     Today is December 31st, it is alas the end of the year and it seemed a shame not to ask all of our “friends” on Facebook not to join on helping to build The Commons. Thus, today from 10:00 until 4:00 we have opened up Campobello for anyone that wants to stop by and make an end of the year donation, buy a brick and while here, have a cup of hot tea, hot chocolate, a homemade cookie and sit a spell and chat. The girls and I will be working on a component of our Lego town center project so folks can even sit down and put a few Legos together. We have already had a dear friend last night stop by and left a check for a brick. Folks seem to really like the bricks, so we are doing our utmost to be available. But this story isn’t about bricks it’s about hiking up Angels Landing……

      Zion National Park in Utah is one of Leanne and mines favorite National Parks in the southwestern United States, all though Capital Reef, after this August is running a tight second. You drive into the great canyon along the Virgin River, past the Zion Lodge, Lady Mountain, The Great White Throne, Castle Dome and Mt. Majestic and to the left is a parking lot for the Angels Landing Trailhead. Leanne and I hiked it the first time 11 years ago this Christmas Day and was she four months pregnant with Aurelia. It is not an easy 5 mile, round trip, as it has a 1488 foot elevation change. The first part of the trial is easy as it follows the river, then you hike up through Refrigerator Canyon, to Walter’s Wiggles, which is a series of 21 switch backs that allow you to gain elevation rapidly, and painfully. This slog puts you on the top of the ridge and you continue on out to Scout’s Overlook. This to be honest is where my hike ended that day, and the last two times we have been back. The last shot of the hike takes you up to Angels Landing and it follows across a saddle, which is only about 12 feet wide with 1200 foot drops on each side up a steep wall they call the “hog’s back” up to the point. From that point. which juts out into the valley of the canyon from I am told one has the most beautiful views from all directions. So Blonde has been to the top three times, two times pregnant and has scrambled up the rocks, holding on to chains, and being the tough one in our marriage while I enjoyed the relative safety of and lovely views from Scouts Overlook.

      The Commons is a good bit like this hike in Zion. It seemed pretty easy buying a bunch of flat land with near perfect access to roads, the Green Way, beautiful views of the mountains, all in all you couldn’t beat it. Then came the architects and the engineers and our pathway got steeper as we climbed the canyon wall. Do know what they don’t warn you about in all the little hiking books? They don’t tell you about all the black flies in Refrigerator Canyon and along the Wiggles. Those bloody little things bite, and they bite hard and they leave you rather itchy and frustrated and peeved. No one warned us that flat land could be soft land and that we would have to invest as much as we have in dirt work but push through we have. So now we have completed Phase One, we have made it to Scouts Landing and the view is lovely. I have stated before that if this is as far as we go I would have felt we had accomplished a lot. But we are not finished with the hike. I have a fear of being exposed, I fear heights so I stayed back, I sat and watched and visited with a Boy Scout group while Leanne plowed forward.

     It was Leanne that has her picture taken up on the top of Angels Landing, she is the one that has seen the beautiful views, because she faced her fears, invested more in inner strength and strove for the end goal. Investing more in The Commons is a big thing to do, and it’s a big thing for me to ask you good folks to do, but we are so near the top of this hike, we are so very close and we have come so far. I have already told my daughters that this fall I will take them to the top of Angels Landing, I will figure out a way to get over my fears, and lead two little girls on up to the mountain top. I know folks are fatigued, tired, fly bitten by dirt contractors, but look at how good the view is from where we sit here in safety and imagine what it would be like if we just went a little further.

     So come on out to Campobello at 5220 Asher Lane, Ooltewah, TN 37363 from 10:00 to 4:00 and buy a brick or make an end of the year donation to The Commons and help us finish this hike.