Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Angels Landing Utah

What do you see when you look at this photo?

Coming? Going? Scared? Happy? Relief? Other?

My husband, Curtis and I were excited to finally reach the summit of Angels Landing where people gathered for lunch and photo ops of the awesome view. About to high five and celebrate we quickly learned we weren't at the top, but on what is known in hiking as false summit where many stopped and wouldn't continue to the real summit while others just returned from there. "There" being the knife edge where I am pointing in the photo, the real summit, another 450 feet up, which translated was roughly another half-hour to the top of Angels Landing in Zion Park Utah

Trust me, it was a decent hike and just as satisfying to have stopped here. I mean look at the view! 
Well, it didn't take long, I decided to persevere to the top. I refused to say I was so close, but ... 

Together we climbed the last leg of the hike. The knife edge. I couldn't tell if the view was more breathtaking and exhilarating then the false summit or it just felt that way because I accomplished it. 
Summit of Angels Landing Utah 2009
Tammy Sue and Curtis

Summit of Angels Landing Utah 2009

If you only knew how victorious I felt at this moment.

Twenty minutes prior to the false summit I actually threw a temper tantrum in the middle of the trail, stomped my feet and cried. In all my years hiking, I'd never reacted like this. I did a stupid thing. Broke in new hiking shoes. I had horrible blisters with sand grinding in each step. Much pain and mad for being so stupid,I didn't think I could continue.

I told Curtis to go without me, but then through tears, gritted my teeth, set my jaw and continued. The pain turned numb. Within minutes we arrived at that false summit. Imagine the relief I felt before learning it was false. When we discovered the knife edge was still ahead, my numb blisters only fueled me.
Climbing back down Angels Landing
knife edge Utah 2009
Descending down the knife edge, holding chain tight. Curtis wasn't happy with my pose.

So what did you see when you first saw the photo of the false summit?

One thing life teaches me, things aren't always as they appear. I know, not an original thought, but my experiences remind me:
  • I rarely know what I'm seeing when people watching.
  • Often I don't know what I'm seeing with myself until I come through the other end.

Neither of us were 100% on this hike:
  • The pain in Curtis' leg became a hip replacement four months later.
  • Three weeks prior to this hike, I had surgery that left my body swollen like a tick ready to explode. My torso swollen and bruised where I couldn't roll out of bed.
  • Oh, and for the first time in my life I was laid off and unemployed. My sense of value and self-esteem were low.
The best part of this hike? After ascending the summit of Angels Landing, I realized at that moment it was three weeks post-surgery and my last official day on the books with the company who'd just laid me off. Suddenly I felt rather victorious.

During this climb I'd conquered all kinds of inner giants and false summits and felt more alive than I had in months!

Not all false summits are in the form of a mountain. What kind of false summits have you conquered? 

Barefoot'n-it with Barefoot Willey
Hiking the next day at Calfs Creek, Utah. 
Duct tape to protect my blisters.

"...because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance." Jame 1:3


Linda Loegel said...

Great job, Tammy Sue!!

Tammy Sue Willey said...

Thank you Mom!

Anonymous said...

What I saw was you were not at the top. That you were pointing higher.
Knowing the Angel that you are I knew there was a story to tell. I knew when I met you god had a plan for you in my life. With Live, BAnn

Anonymous said...

I learned much about you today! (although the stubbornness I knew all along. It came in handy)


Tammy Sue Willey said...

And He has a plan for you in my life, too!
Love you BAnn

Tammy Sue Willey said...

LOL. It sure did come in handy. Now I'm learning to turn that stubbornness into faith. Or can that be one in the same? I'll find out.

Anonymous said...

Totally blown away with all that you are doing/accomplishing now in your are such an inspiration :)
Thank you!! I will continue to view your blog, first one for me!! I am so glad you reached out to me with an email to say Hello and to let me know how your are doing. Loved seeing you at last church event also. Keep in touch, I will do the same. Best to you both!! Lv Donna K
P.S. Taking you to lunch to celebrate your "first" book and for you to sign my copy :)) Keep me posted on progress!