My face hurts from smiling all day. It was that good!
As I started up the trail by headlamp to Half Dome, it occurred to me, crap I am going to be climbing the cables in the dark. Half Dome’s famous 400 feet of cable system up the rock face is steep, requires upper and lower body strength, and the courage to depend on the wire cables to keep you alive. That is when my smile started.
Just as I reached the bottom of the cables a group of friendly college students from San Francisco hiked up. I was thankful. Someone would be there if something happened. I quickly selected a pair of gloves left for climbers at the foot of the cables. I used thick leather garden gloves that worked well. Tip: take all rings off BEFORE you climb. I didn’t. I then started the ascent in the dark and the only one on the cables. It was a once in a lifetime experience. Years ago I climbed during the day along with many other people on the cables. I felt it was chaos.
The trip up required a lot of arm strength due to the rock made slick by years of hiker use. This took me aback. I now realize it was hard because I could go as fast as I wanted and I did. It was fun. I even turned my headlamp off and let the moonlight lead my way. I reached the top in time to explore, eat, drink, and relax before the show began. And boy did it.
After basking in sensory overload, I descended the cables solo and quickly. It was likened to a zip line at kid’s camp. That is the best I can describe the feeling. Since I was heading off the trail today, I could not think of a better way to finish this journey.
I decided to take the Mist Trail down to Yosemite Valley, largely because it is steep, narrow, and crowded. This year due to drought conditions the Mist on the Mist Trail is non-existent. As I descended, crowds of vacationers filled the trail all smelling of delicious lotions, soap, and hair products reminding me of my dirty state. I smiled. I earned it.
As I reached the bridge at Vernal Falls crossing, I was welcomed with the best sight ever, Dan, my husband crossing the bridge. BIGGER SMILE.
We spent the rest of the day riding the Yosemite Shuttle, sight seeing, eating, walking in the rain, taking more photos, enjoying the delight of people visiting the park, and of course finishing with the day with the sunset from Glacier Point.
Thank you everyone for following and cheering me along this summer through changes, challenges, and exhilaration. It has been a growing and learning time. Just think…it is now time not only to go back to work, but also to get planning the next adventure. EVEN BIGGER SMILE!