Hiking Half Dome in Yosemite

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 labored.

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.

Oh no.

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!

The Swedish Invasion

The Swede still MIGHT be coming to California for the holiday break.

He’ll be bringing his daughter and I’ve come up with all sorts of ideas for things we can do when they are here.

There’s JUST SO MUCH GOING ON in the Bay Area.

One thing I overlooked that would actually make a fabulous day trip is Yosemite Valley.

It’s open in the winter, barring any sudden winter storms, and I think they’d love to see the waterfalls, mountains, and wildlife there.

All for a $35 vehicle pass.

I put together a wine trail in Sonoma/Napa that features ALL SWEDISH WINERIES, which I think The Swede would like (but his daughter might find terribly boring).

There’s also a wine trail in my neck of the woods, along Pierce Road in Saratoga/Cupertino:

  • Mountain Winery
  • Kathryn Kennedy Winery
  • Sarahills Vineyards
  • House Family Vineyards
  • Ridge Vineyards
  • Savannah-Chanelle Winery

I think one day of wine tasting will be quite sufficient so The Swede will have to choose his favorite (my guess is he’ll want to try the Swedish wineries).

In order to make his daughter happy and not bored with us wine-tasting adults, I also looked into some sporting events we could attend.

The San Jose Sharks are playing the Anaheim Ducks and the Golden State Warriors are playing the Portland Trailblazers.

Who knows if Swedes like basketball, but they DO LIKE THEIR HOCKEY.

There’s TONS of stuff to get up to in the city and one event I found which would be titillating is “A Very Misfit Cabaret Holiday Special” – part musical theater, part burlesque show.

Kid appropriate?

Maybe, maybe not.

Judging from The Swede’s candy bowl in his living room, I know he’s a big fan of candy so CANDYTOPIA might be a good place to visit in the city, with stops at The Buena Vista Café for hot Irish Coffee, a ride on a cable car, and perhaps even a trip to Alcatraz to top off a day of activities.

There’s also a lovely preserve called Point Lobos, and on the trip down there to go for a hike we could hit all my favorite places – Vivolo’s Chowder House, Phil’s Fish Market, Lover’s Point, and maybe even take in a little whale watching.

I’ve literally got 4 pages FILLED with ideas for what we can do when The Swedish Invasion happens and if you want, check out CALIFORNIA.

 

P.S.  I did find naked yoga for couples, but I’m GUESSING The Swede will not be into that. . .

‘Tis the season for WEDDINGS!

You might think, given my staunch support of my single status, that I wouldn’t be into weddings, but in fact I LOVE GOING TO WEDDINGS!

There’s nothing much better than watching a couple celebrate their love with all their loved ones around them.

I cry.

K&B’s wedding was no exception.

The groom got choked up and I INSTANTLY started to cry.

Thankfully I got a packet of tissues from another wedding guest, so I was prepared for the WATERWORKS.

My dear friend Michelle officiated the wedding and she did an amazing job of knitting together the story of the lovely couple with their appreciation of the family and friends who attended their wedding.

Personally, I was THRILLED to just be out of the Bay Area, breathing the fresh air of Yosemite.

It also helped that I was on painkillers and muscle relaxants for my injured neck so not only was it a beautiful wedding, I was also high as a kite for it.

I was blissfully happy and that’s the EXACT state that you should be in for a wedding!

And GOD BLESS THE BRIDE for NOT throwing the bouquet.

There were two – count them TWO – single women at the wedding.

Me and a lovely guest who flew in all the way from Boston.

I actually turned to the other single woman and said, “So, I’ll arm wrestle you for the bouquet. . .”

She looked aghast.

“You can have it,” she replied.

“I’m joking,” I told her. “Last thing I want is a bridal bouquet.”

What an awkward moment that would have been, no?

What’s on tap…

I’ve been thinking about my next set of activities to take on.

Besides needing to scour Groupon for specials, I’ve come up with the following list:

  • Eat at Manresa
  • See Niagara Falls and get wet
  • See Bruce Springsteen
  • Go to a U2 concert
  • Take a tour of Alcatraz
  • Take a tour of the Winchester Mystery House (I’ve never been)
  • Fly a single engine Cessna again
  • Go to the Korean Spa, again
  • Great White Shark dive
  • Eat at a Burmese restaurant
  • Go to Supper Club in SF
  • See a transvestite show
  • Go to  strip club
  • Drive down Highway 1
  • Drive up Highway 1
  • Go to a book reading
  • Go to an art museum
  • Learn to surf
  • Fly in an acrobatic plane doing stunts
  • Camp in Yosemite
  • Go wine tasting in Napa/Paso Robles
  • Go to the Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz
  • Enjoy an Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista
  • Take sailing lessons
  • Learn to brew beer at Workshop SF
  • Get a new tattoo

And that’s a pretty good start for me.  I think I’ll start with driving up and down Highway 1.  I love to stop along the way at any place that suits my fancy – like the Olema Farm House in Olema or the Hog Island Oyster Company in Marshall, or Nepenthe in Big Sur.  So much to see and experience.  Time to get cracking!