As my good friend Brian would say even if you climb half a dome, you still get a whole snow cone…
Today is Sunday, and today I will tell you about my Half Dome “adventure”… had I written this three days ago it might have named it my Half Dome torture ;). As I previously mentioned, I had the opportunity last week Tuesday to hike Half Dome with Natalie and her brothers, Wes and Joel. On Monday morning at 7am Natalie snatched 4 permits for the hike and we began our adventure into Yosemite. We spent the afternoon on the valley floor doing some easy hikes to Yosemite Falls and Mirror Lake (which really was more of a meadow). We set up camp and for dinner we ate chicken pasta salad and Grandma Turner’s “better than wedding cake” chocolate chip cookies. The evening was spent playing cribbage and sitting by a fire before hitting the sack early, since we had an even earlier wake up call the next morning and a mountain of a hike awaiting us…
At 4:30 the alarm went of, and by 5:30 we were packed up and headed towards the trail. We were loaded up with water, clif bars, granola, capri suns, and some cold pizza for the top of the hike. Now I know that I have been working out quite a bit more in the past few months considering I am training again, but nothing had prepared my legs for the 18 mile round trip and 4,800 feet (~1500m) elevation gain and decent. For my Hawaii friends imagine a 4 hour hike up to the bottom of Koko head, only to realize after you climb Koko head you are now at the base of Half Dome, staring at cables you are not sure will hold you as you ascend up the 400 foot rock face. It took me a good 20 minutes to convince myself that I had not come this far to chicken out and not to go up those cables! Plus, I would miss the opportunity to do a handstand on the top! And what would I have to write about if I saw and opportunity and didn’t respond! So up we went… And it was worth it! I won’t lie and say I wasn’t terrified, but when we reached the top the view was amazing! I thought “I am so grateful God had given me the ability to stand on top of this mountain and look over His incredible creation! I am overwhelmed with the sheer size of everything! It is such a vast space, yet covered in so much detail, it really is breath-taking!”
After a bit of time on the top we decided it was time to turn around and do it all backwards. The first part of the descent was awesome. It was refreshing to be using a new set of muscles and I was mentally recharged from conquering the fear and reaching the summit. However after 3 hours of downhill, my quads and calves were shaking, and the excitement of the final ascent had been swept away. I had nothing left in the reserves. Funny thing: when I am extremely tired and worn out, everything becomes hilarious. Seriously… like pee-your-pants, I can’t stop laughing, hilarious. And at the top of Vernal Falls with only a couple of miles to go, I was there. I was so spent that I looked to the trail below and started cracking up. Though, in amongst the laughter I definitely shed a few tears. Now how do you like that for crazy? But after a minute or two I pulled myself together and finished out the hike.
Now if you had asked me when we got back to the car if I would ever do that I hike again, my truthful answer would have been ABSOLUTELY NOT. But time/recovery, even if only a few days, makes your mind believe it really wasn’t that bad. And after reading a blog about hiking two peaks (Cloud’s Rest and Half Dome) in one day, I believe I have found myself a new challenge!
It’s good to be home and processing through the mental and physical battle that was Half Dome, and I am sure there will be more to come on the matter, but I have to say that God is taking this opportunity to work on some deeper issues in my commitment and walk with Him. Sometimes we are so blind and stubborn that God uses physical exhaustion to stop us and bring us back to our knees. I am just so thankful He doesn’t give up on me!
Here are a few photos from the trip: