My next stop would be the main stop of the trip, the reason I am on this trip at all and that was to get to Salt Lake City and hang out with my cousin. My cousin has lived in Salt Lake for about 8 years and for 7 years and 11 months I’ve been saying I would come out. Bobby would tease me by texting amazing images of sunsets and sunrises. I finally decided to make my dream a reality but taking this amazing trip and getting out to Utah with multiple stops along the way.
To give you a brief history on Bobby and I, we’ve been cousins for 30 years but we didn’t see much of each other past the ages of 8 or 9. You know how things go sometimes when families seem to spend less and less time together. Almost 10 years ago a tragedy within our family brought us together again. It was as if I was meeting him for the first time all over again and all I can say is everything finally seemed right in the world. I finally found the person in my family who’s personality reflects mine- outgoing, funny, adventurous and a little off the radar. We immediately bonded as adults and grew to be closer than ever. Unfortunately soon after, Bobby moved to Utah so I only get to see him about once a year.
The night I arrived we were literally like 2 ten year old girls on a sleepover. We couldn’t stop talking and although we were both exhausted, there was so much to catch up on that we chatted away till about 4 in the morning, happy to be sleeping under the same roof 🙂
The next day, Bobby told me that he wanted to take me to his favorite place in the entire world, but that’s all I knew. We hopped in the car and drove for 4.5 hours. I had no idea where we were going or what we were doing but knowing Bobby I knew it would be amazing. We arrived that night and although I could see the town name, I couldn’t see much more. In the morning when I woke up I walked out of our hotel and saw this:
I was stunned, grateful, amazed and breathless (literally and figuratively). We were in Zion National Park in the desert of Utah. Bobby informed me that tonight we would be doing a hike to the top of a mountain called Angels landing to see the sunset. To call Bobby and outdoorsmen would be an understatement. Bobby has done and experienced things that most people will never even come close to doing their entire lifetime. He is an avid ice and rock climber, runner and just about anything else that involves serious super human powers. So to say I was anxious about doing this hike with him would be an understatement.
I watched the hours pass knowing that soon enough I would be a the bottom of a 5 mile hike up a mountain that people from all over the world come to hike. We packed my camera, a few beers and some snacks to enjoy once we reached the top. And when I say we packed, I mean I packed and Bobby carried. So we started and things were pretty good, “I can do this,” I thought. Well thats because the first half mile or so was relatively flat and simply got us to the bottom of this god forsaken mountain.
The incline began and although it was tough my inner athlete came out and I pushed along with a break here and there. What I wasn’t counting on and didn’t take into enough consideration was my avid and very intense fear of heights. All of a sudden I looked to my right, realized how high we are and my body went into full panic mode. If you’ve never experienced a panic attack, be thankful and if you have then you might have a bit of an understanding of what happened next. It was as if the little robots that run my body and mind decided to go into overdrive and I could hear that red sirens going off, shut down mode. I literally grabbed onto the mountain and wouldn’t let go and started to cry. I could NOT do this. Every single inch of my body was panicking, my mind and heart racing, my vision blurry and my balance was non-existent. I was furious- I wanted to kick this mountains ass and surely the opposite was happening. And you know who stood there and told me I was amazing and let’s call it a day and enjoy beers at the bottom- my rockstar cousin Bobby.
See even though he is a super human adventurer he understands that we all have our own limits. I asked him to let me try to walk, he stood by my side and I almost collapsed in fear. Tearing up again flashbacks of this exact feeling on a cliff jump about 5 years ago start racing through my mind. I was going cliff jumping with friends and when it was my turn this exact thing happened and I eventually had to crawl my way down the cliff and I’ve never forgotten how disappointed I was in myself that day and any time I think about it. I said to him- “Let me try one more time and that will be it.” He agreed, I put my head down, focused on my tiny feet, my shallow breathing and repeated the word PUSH through in my head. Bobby went with it and for the next 45 minutes told me that I was crushing it. You know how they say your body and mind can be capable of doing things you never imagined- well this was living proof for me. I walked and I didn’t stop. I hiked the rest of the entire mountain and when I got to the very top, this is what laid in front of me. (That tiny spec is my cousin).
I might be a good photographer but this photo, or any photo for that matter could never truly tell the story of what that view looked like to me. It looked like heaven. I looked like endless possibilities. It looked like strength. And most importantly t looked like family.
Bobby and I did this together and I would never be the same. We sat on the top of the mountain enjoyed a much deserved beer, wiped off my tears and listened to the nothingness of the mountain. It was the sound of silence and it reminded me of how big this world truly is. It reminded me that this is a world where you can either move with the adventures you are handed or you can work against them. This mountain wasn’t going to move to make this hike any easier on me. It didn’t care if I was scared or if I was afraid of heights. It stood there solid in it’s foundation and it was up to me if I wanted to defeat it. No one else. And as I took in her beauty and looked around me, with no sound it at all I heard her say “you’re welcome.”
Zion, I am forever grateful. Thank you.