Many MANY years ago, I hiked to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite with my friends Robin, Albert and Barry.
I figured I’d never be in better shape than I was then so I might as well complete the 18+ miles round trip hike and see the views from the top.
Me and my companions slept in and so we didn’t get a start up Half Dome until around 11 am.
Oh, was that LATE to start!
I remember as we made our way down the trail a mounted Park Ranger stopped her horse long enough to poke fun at us, “Nothing like an early start up Half Dome.”
Or some such nonsense.
Albert was not having any of her smart assery.
He mocked her for the next few miles.
Somewhere along the way, we lost Robin.
Her shoes weren’t gripping the terrain as well as they should have so she stopped at a rest area and read a book while the three of us kept on.
It was A LOT OF HIKING.
In retrospect, we DEFINITELY fell into the category of PEOPLE WHO HIKE HALF DOME TOTALLY UNPREPARED FOR IT.
It took damn near forever, but around 3 pm, we managed to reach the base of Half Dome.
If you’ve never been to Half Dome, THIS is what you see when you reach the base:
A rickety little “staircase” attached to the rock face, with periodic wood beams attached like stairs so you can rest securely on the rock.
One side of the ladder is people going up, the other side is people going down.
So don’t go thinking that you get the WHOLE ladder to yourself, now.
Albert blasted ahead, eager to get to the top.
I’m not sure I would have made it up to the top at all if it hadn’t been for Barry who kept cheering me on and encouraging me to keep setting one foot ahead of the other.
Finally, Barry and I crested the ridge and arrived at the top of Half Dome.
This is us at the top:
The adventure didn’t end there.
By now, we were starving, having gone through our food and water, so we hightailed it back to Robin at the rest area and continued our climb down the mountain.
By the time we reached the valley floor, Albert’s knees had given out on him.
Even though it was a full moon, very little light reached us beneath the tall sequoias.
Fortunately, I brought one little rickety flashlight to guide us.
And EVENTUALLY we made it back to our car, back to our camp, and back to our lives.
It was QUITE the adventure and I’m so glad I did it.
I’m also infinitely thankful for Barry’s support getting up Half Dome.
Yes, we should’ve brought more food and water.
Yes, we were silly youngsters oblivious of the commitment it took to hike Half Dome.
But WE DID IT!