Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Me vs. the Mountain
Two years ago, I climbed Half Dome with my friends, Molly and Christian. The hike, which is about 15 miles and climbs about 5000 feet, typically takes 8-12 hours. We did it in 7. After finishing the hike, we decided that, while it was a tough hike, it was definitely doable and we didn't think it was the monstrous hike that many people made it out to be. This summer, my niece Alyssa said she wanted to climb Half Dome, so Jared and I said we would take her. We decided on a date (July 12th) and decided we would drive up the night before, camp, and get up early in the morning to start the hike. As the big day neared, my nephew Gary decided he wanted to go, too, and we said that was fine. So, after work on Friday, we drove up to Groveland (20 miles from the entrance to Yosemite Park) and set up camp. We got up very early the next morning, drove into Yosemite, and began the long hike to the top of Half Dome. I thought it would be much like the first time I hiked it. I was wrong. This time around, that mountain KICKED. MY. BUTT. Maybe it was the air quality (really horrible with the smoke from all the fires in California). Maybe I'm just not in as good of shape as I was two years ago. Or, more depressing, maybe I'm getting old. Whatever the reason, that mountain really showed me who was boss. Fine. I take back my arrogant, cocky attitude about Half Dome. It is a beast! We had a great time, though, and now Alyssa has done it. And, in her words, she doesn't need to do it again! On the way into the park that morning, Alyssa was talking about how we were going to party when we got back to our campsite that night. We could play games and talk and stay up late, etc, etc. When we got back to the campsite, we all took a quick shower and then went to bed. We were exhausted! As hard as it was, though, it was so fun to be there with Alyssa and Gary and watch them persevere and push themselves to their limits. As hard as it was, it was awesome! And, even though that mountain totally beat me down, I lived to tell the tale!
Me and Jared en route to the top Alyssa and Jared attacking the granite steps. This is where Jared had to lie to Alyssa to keep her going. He kept telling her they were almost to the top and eventually they made it! That is bad air quality, people! Gary finishing the cables in spite of his fear of heights. Well done, Gar-dog! The four of us enjoying the view from the top Me and Jared at the top of Half Dome Alyssa replenishing her fluids. Don't worry - we purified it! We came, we hiked, we survived!