Dan and Doing What Scares Him – KGUA radio free write #39

For the March 8, 2021 KGUA radio Morning Writer’s Hour, we are asked to free write based on an article in Outside magazine about Doing the Thing That Scares You The Most. 

Certainly, I have a fear of small planes and helicopters. Who wouldn’t?  It’s the crashing that scares me.

Bears.  Something about being pawed and clawed to death by Smoky the Bear just doesn’t sit right with me.

Growling, unleashed dogs scare me too.  Bite me once, shame on you.  Bite me twice, shame on me.

Traveling outside of the US and Canada is not on my to-do list.  I read just enough to be scared.

Hannah surveys the climb ahead

Confrontation?  Lord no.  Dealing with the aggressive and loud leaves me looking for the nearest exit.

But what I am most scared of is climbing Angel’s Landing with our young grandsons, Owen and Max.

Do you know about this hike in Zion National Park in southern Utah?  To reach the perch at Angel’s Landing, over the last half mile, hikers must hold on to thick, mountainside chains with the valley floor fifteen hundred feet below.  After twice backing down from summiting Angel’s Landing, six years ago Hannah and I hung on for dear life as we slowly made our way to the tiny landing area.

But take Owen and Max?  No way.  That responsibility scares me. 

Now here’s a compromise.  What if I would be their Sherpa to guide the boys and their parents (who have already successfully made this climb) along to the mountaintop.   Ultimate responsibility would fall on their parents.   Oooo, that’s an unfortunate verb. Still, that sounds like a plan.  Zion National Park, here we come.

Words – 233

Images of our climbs to Angel’s Landing (2015 & 2016)

The trail begins to Angel’s Landing
The easy part

First encounter with the chains

Chains up close and personal
The Holy Grail
Atop looking down the Virgin River Valley
Proof that we made it


Don’t look down!

Holding on tight

10 thoughts on “Dan and Doing What Scares Him – KGUA radio free write #39

  1. How old are the boys now? Do other kids their age ascend that trail? What happens when the line slows? Do people leapfrog one another? That would (gulp) necessitate letting go of the chain! Sobering. I’m picturing the Chilkoot Pass during the Klondike Gold Rush. Anyway, as one who had to crawl across part of Katahdin’s Knife Edge on his hands and knees due to abject terror, I salute your bravery!

    • Maybe we are ready for the Precipice Trail at Acadia National Park, my friend? Knife’s Edge in Katahdin? Next lifetime. The boys are 8 and 6. Not often do such age kids hike the trail? I believe a young lady of ten was on the trail. In fact, the boys’ uncle did it when he was eight! Line slowing? An issue from April to October? Massive crowding at Zion then. Hardly worth going. Hannah and I have hiked there in late February/first week of March. No problem then. We did have some ice on the trail to Angel’s Landing, but it was not an impediment. I’m guessing at busy times there is some leap frogging by males of a certain age. Hence first week of March is the time to go!

  2. Hey Dan,

    You guys are much braver than I.
    Don’t think I’d be interested in trying to climb anything like Angel’s Landing.

    You might be aware of this link that I just came across:

    2 hikers die in apparent 100-foot fall from icy cliff, officials say (msn.com)
    2 hikers die in apparent 100-foot fall from icy cliff, officials say
    The bodies of two hikers who died in an apparent 100-foot fall from an icy mountain cliff in Maine’s Acadia National Park were recovered after an air and ground search.

    Be careful…stay safe!!


    Meyer Photography
    1302 Snowberry Drive
    Williamstown, NJ 08094


  3. We did see about these deaths in Acadia National Park by ice climbing folks. There is a sign at the start of Angel’s Landing that 6 or 7 people have died in the last ten years. We are led to believe it is millennials taking foolish risks on the mountainsides as well as one who died hang gliding off the peak! Who knows how old we’ll be when the boys are ready to climb to the summit!

  4. I don’t think I would try that climb. Anything that gives me an adrenaline rush or presents the possibility of death is now out of bounds. In younger years enjoyed the knife edge at Kahtahdin and Beehive at Acadia but not now.
    Two years ago went to the saddle on Picachio Peak and after that had handholds and cable so enjoyed the view from the saddle and turned around and went down!!

  5. Picacho Peak is the hike I wouldn’t do again. We didn’t bring gloves and perilously slid down the cable for, at the time, 20+ feet. Not a good time. Katahdin is beyond as well as it’s a ten hour hike. We know max out at three hours. Have you hiked the Seven Falls Trail in Sabino Canyon? Loved it. 60F today. Prime pickleball weather. Look forward to your return.

  6. Yes on Sabino Canyon 2 years ago. Only hiking this year has been on Casa Grande Mountain.
    Very close by and a good workout if you go to the top.
    Glad you are finally getting some decent weather for PB. We sure look forward to joining up with you two.

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