"I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands." Psalm 63:2-4
As Sarah and I hopped on our first shuttle towards our first hike, a prerecorded history of Zion came on the PA system informing us about the canyon we were about to explore. The first lesson was how this magnificent place was named. Like most parts of Utah, Zion was named by early Mormon settlers. When they arrived, they took a look around and called this place Zion...an ancient Hebrew word meaning "sanctuary" or "place of refuge." You could easily see why...
In the above Psalm, David cries out for God. He praised God's love and promised to worship Him...David desired nothing more than God!!! What you don't know, is that David is hiding from his enemies in the barren wilderness of Judah. He was all by himself...completely lonely...no food...no water...surviving with nothing more but his trust in God. Most people's "sanctuary" or "refuge" in this case would have been to find allies, family, or a Golden Corral. But David...his sanctuary...his refuge...his "Zion" is God. David never surrendered his hope, because his refuge is found in God. He understood God's character and promise to never leave him...so even in David's worst times, he still lifted up his hands to the One who can only satisfy our deepest longings!
Funny enough, I was being taught a personal lesson as well...I often go to places like Zion to find...well, "Zion." To find refuge from this world. These outdoor adventures of mine serve as mini sanctuaries in themselves...offering me a time to reflect on God without interruption. But really, this is not what God desires for me. He wants me to be more like David. To find God's refuge in my everyday wilderness called life. The wilderness of being a husband, a father, a friend...the wilderness of personal finance, work, and church. The wilderness of what many of us call "real life." When I go out on adventures into the wilderness ...truth is, I'm just taking a break from the real "wilderness" God has called me to be in. It's time I lift up my hands, praise Him, because I know His love is better than life...because I too have seen His sanctuary!!!!
Who: Sarah (the trooper) and Ugly (me)
When: 7/14/12 (Day we arrived after driving overnight...I slept an hour)
Length: 5 miles
Elevation Gain: 1488 ft
Time: 3 Hours 17 minutes roundtrip
Technical: Class 1 until the cables. Then it's Class 3 protected by the Cables. So does that downgrade the climb? I dunno. Either way, I grade it Class Awesome hike!
So here we go...the next 1/2 mile up is going up the fin on these chains or cables. They are placed solidly and they really do give you a sense of security. However, it's a false sense...because these drop offs are long and a sure way to meet your maker in a hurry. Sarah struggled at first on the cables...she was not very comfortable with the exposure. After making her way through the first set of cables, she slowly warmed up and began to build more confidence.
After going up 1/4 of a mile on the first set of cables...you get a better view of the remaining route and North facing walls of Angel's Landing. The route gets steeper, and yes...the route becomes a bit more uncomfortable...