This is the second installment in a series that will undoubtedly run for at least 100 episodes by the time I'm done . . . Read the First Installment here.
I believe it was fall; I was about twelve. My parents decided to take us down to Zion’s National Park. We loved hiking and being outdoors, and I had never been, so this was an exciting opportunity. On the second day we decided to conquer Angels Landing which is a 10 mile roundtrip hike; no small feat for a twelve year old, but I was ready. I had my new hiking boots, my bota bag, and my tank top.
We took the tacky but necessary pictures of ourselves lying dead-like on the switchbacks as if we’d fallen from a higher level. We took pictures of ourselves conquering the various sub-summits along the way. We got to the chain-assist area and carefully made our way up the precarious path. Eventually we had summitted the dangerous path to the narrow walkway known as Angel’s Landing. It was gorgeous. I could see for miles and miles. I could also see the half-mile straight drop to certain death if one were to take a misstep, so I was cautious.
After about a half hour of taking pictures as a family, eating our lunch, and relaxing in the October sun, I started looking for things that I could photograph.
There he was, a lone squirrel munching on some lunch of his own. As quiet as I could I snuck toward him, trying not to scare him away. I was going to get the perfect picture. I took one step, and a second, and a third, when suddenly a hand grabbed my collar. I had been looking through my viewfinder, and had not noticed that the squirrel was actually on a ledge on the far side of a three-foot crevasse over which I had stepped, and my right foot was now hanging with nothing below. My sister had seen me, and grabbed me just in time. 3 nanoseconds later and my blood would have changed the sandstone below from a deep orange to a dark red.