I stood looking over the edge of the cliff. The view of the valley floor, 1500 feet below was absolutely breathtaking. And although I don't have an extreme fear of heights, I have to admit that there were some butterflies dancing in my stomach.
I was standing on top of Angel’s Landing. The highest peak in Zion's National Park in Southern Utah.
I have a brother that lives in St. George and a number of years ago (quite a number actually, back when I was a typical, arrogant, dumb teenager as you will see) while visiting him and his family we decided to hike to the top of the enormous cliff.
The hike is 5 miles long round trip, and there is a 1500 foot elevation change.
We knew it was going to be a full moon so we decide it would be cool to go up in the evening, watch the moon rise, and then hike down by the light of the moon (this is discouraged by park officials but it was totally worth it).
The hike is visually stunning from start to finish, but there are a number of spots, and towards the end most of the spots, in which there is a very real possibility of falling off the cliff.
And I don’t mean just slip and slide down the mountain a little ways until you catch yourself. I mean fall off this thing and you could almost starve to death before you even hit the ground.
So as a safety precaution they have driven big steel stakes into the mountain and stretched large chains from stake to stake so people have something to hold on to as they are hiking in the treacherous parts.
Well, one of the people that was hiking with us and I decided that we didn’t need any stinking hand rails and that we were going to ascend and descend without using the chains.
So we set off in the evening and took our time going up the mountain. Enjoying the scenery as we went. We got to the top and spent an hour or so just staring in awe at the height and the majesty of the peak we were standing on, the peaks all around us, and the distant valley below.
Finally the moon started to rise over one of the surrounding peaks. We sat and watched for about 15 minutes as it slowly progressed from a tiny sliver of light to what seemed to be a bigger and brighter than normal glowing ball in the sky. It was amazing.
Then we started our trek down the mountain. We got a few hundred feet down the trail and someone realized that we couldn’t see the moon anymore. So we waited there on the trial a few minutes and were able to watch the moon rise again!
I got to see two moon rises in one night!
It was one of the coolest experiences I have had even to this day.
Tomorrow I will tell you the rest of the story about how my younger brother, at least on that day, was much wiser than I, and what any of this has to do with your tomato plants.