Half Dome, Yosemite

More traveling, more time away from CA and the trails. Most of it was beach/vacation time but good to get back on a hike. I was thinking of something around home low-key or some scenic spot that wasn’t too far. SLB had other ideas. For my one-year anniversary as a Golden Stater, she insisted we go climb Half Dome. So we did. On my trek across the country last year, I had stopped for a couple of days at the Grand Canyon and even did a pretty good hike down in the canyon. I was awed by the canyon, the walls, the views, the massive feel of it all. It actually lived up to the hype. But to hear other folks out here talk, Yosemite is what I really should have seen. Majestic waterfalls, towering cliffs, amazing vistas. Check, check and check. Not having hiked in more than a month, I wasn’t feeling quite as fit as I could have been. But seeing the sun rise (sort of, through the clouds) at 6:20 a.m. on Saturday deep in the Yosemite Valley gave me a boost. So we parked, hopped on the shuttle bus to the trailhead only to have the shuttle bus driver note that there were thunderstorms expected that day and that anybody planning to climb Half Dome should think again. With that positive reinforcement, we headed up the Mist Trail by some of the most impressive waterfalls I had ever seen. Sure, they weren’t as full-forced as they’ve probably been in other years and seasons, but I was impressed. It was as if a jet engine was parked next to us as we ascended the initial parts.

This was SLB’s fifth time heading to the cables, but my first so I was soaking it all in, grinning and nodding like a fool, I’m sure, but really, this was stunning in every sense.

Five hours in, we reached the bottom of the cables. Too bad there were a zillion other people there. So after waiting in line for an hour, we reached the cables, found some sweaty, used gloves from the pile and headed up. Other than the stop-and-go along the cables as slow people (move!) gummed up the works, it was a good workout. Of course it was raining about two mountains over and large clouds had filled the sky, so people were scurrying down about as fast as they were going up. But the guy in front of us in line assured us that it wouldn’t rain, and I liked his confidence so we enjoyed our time at the top, and then headed down.

Not an easy climb down — the cables weren’t bad, but the zillion rock stairs along the way were what really slowed us (OK, me) down, but we made back to the ground and the parking lot by 7 p.m. Just in time for a too-long drive home. Next time, we’re staying for a couple of days. Definitely worth going back to. More than once. Can’t wait.