Though I went to Yosemite about a month ago, I thought I would share about my adventures there.
Early on this summer or maybe even during spring term, I was invited to go with my boyfriend’s family to Yosemite National Park. I had never been, so naturally I was thrilled by the invite and took them up on the offer! As the weekend dawned nearer, I discovered that we were going to celebrate a family member’s birthday and we were doing so by going on an all day hike to ‘half-dome.’ So unknowingly I thought, “I’m in shape! I can hike all day because everyone knows that a hike is just a walk in nature.” And I expressed my enthusiasm towards this opportunity.
Ah! How young and naive I was then!
As the trip neared I decided to google Yosemite and find out a little more about where I was going. What I discovered was that half-dome was considered ‘the hardest amateur hike out there’ and that I should ‘train for months’ before undertaking this endeavor. But the most disheartening discovery was that a man had died a mere three weeks before on the very rocks we were hoping to climb.
Learning all this 4 days prior to our trip did not help my psyche but I was determined to not be defeated.
We drove from Eugene to Sacramento, stayed the night and then continued to Yosemite the next morning. We then spent the remainder of our time eating and sleeping to prep for our 16 mile, 4,800 foot assent, adventure we were undertaking the following morning. The day of, we rose at 4:30 or so and were on the road by 5:30 headed towards the base of half-dome. The 8 mile hike up was KILLER. I was dying and literally thought I was not strong enough to continue but somehow I did. I was feeling alright about everything until we emerged from the trees and started up the ‘sub-dome’ directly below the final destination point. This is when my fear of heights kicked in. The granite had no steps, no cables and no trees to help keep me from loosing my balance and falling to my death about a mile below. And when we summitted the sub-dome, the dreaded cable ladder jutted straight up in front of us.
I WAS TERRIFIED. And with my boyfriend’s entire extended family I might add.
In hopes of preventing a full fledged panic attack, I was given no time to absorb what we were about to undertake and pushed to start immediately on the final assent. I was so scared my legs were shaking and I would not go to the next step until my boyfriend was on my current one. I was so determined my feet were going to slip, I put way too much weight on my arms. (Resulting in 7 blisters on my hands despite the fact I had gloves on). With my boyfriends support and reassurance I actually made it to the top. Though I was happy to have made it, and did not feel safe until I had made it down to the base of half-dome.
Eight miles later, we were back to the car–sunburnt, dehydrated, exhausted but successful.
What did I learn from this trip? That I am capable of doing much more than I realize. Had I been on my own, I would never have completed the hike, but with the support of Connor and his family I was able to do so. Right now my future looms at me like half-dome did after we came over the sub-dome. It is an intimidating, overwhelming path to something great. I do not yet know what is at the top and the hardest part is getting started. Though I might want to give up and just enjoy what the base has to offer, I know that, ultimately, I will be happier if I push myself beyond my comfort zone and reach goals that are harder to obtain. I also know that I have amazing people in my life and it is their help and guidance that will allow me to succeed. I may have a few rough spots or blisters along the way, but the view at the top will (hopefully) be worth it.
ps. The picture at the top was taken from our hike that day.