Preparing to climb Half Dome with Shinazy
Oh, would my mom disapprove of me having holes in my socks.
I remember my mom hanging laundry and inspecting my clothes for anything requiring repair: a missing button, a detached hem, a hole in a sock. Because my appearance was important to her, I always left the house wearing well cared-for clothes.
Given my upbringing, where clothes represented more than cloth covering skin, it would be inconceivable to see what I wear to go for a run or hike. This morning several of us met at my place to discuss our next adventure. We were off to hike in the coastal mountains above the town of Pescadero. My home is a shoe-free zone, so everyone leaves their shoes at my front door.
As we congregated in my living room, chatting about our upcoming trek, Sandy remarked, “Oh, I’m so glad someone else has holes in their socks.”
Our eyes dropped in unison to observe our assemblage of shoeless feet. It was true – each of our feet was enveloped in what could only be described – at best – as ‘well-ventilated’ socks. It was in that moment we realized: these weren’t mere remnants of well-worn pieces of cotton-poly and silk-wool blends. They were the results of actions and efforts, of steps and journeys taken, of goals actualized and achieved. These socks were the indisputable evidence attesting to the activism of their owners. They belonged to a group of Bitchin’ Ol’ Boomer Babes who started walking together a year ago.
This year we decide, tick tock, we better attend to our Bucket Lists.
But alas, as it usually is when attempting feats of greatness, our spirits were willing, but our flesh … needed some help!
Between the three of us, we encompassed the full range of inactive, aging babes. I was recovering from a back injury. Sandy had been inactive since finishing the Gold Coast Marathon 2 years before. And, 3 years ago, Bobbi walked 2 miles.
To accomplish our goal – without hurting ourselves in the process – we needed to “train”… the kind of put-one-foot-in-front-of-the-other-over-and-over-again type of training, sustained with perseverance, determination, and an occasional massage at the local day spa.
Our plan was simple: Go longer and longer distances, adding steps and hills to emulate the Yosemite Valley terrain. We scheduled walks on flat ground along the bay, then the undulating path at Sawyer Camp Trail, next up and down the mountains near the coast. We did 1 mile, then 2, 3 . . . 8, 9 . . . 14 . . . 18.
Our walking began in late fall through local neighborhoods, admiring the Christmas decorations as we trudged past, dashing through mud and laughing all the way. We forged ahead during the record-breaking rainfall during a stormy Northern California winter. We saw the fog lift and felt the sun shine. Watched banana slugs mosey along on the trail and listened to the tap-tap-tap of woodpeckers on trees.
We held Half Dome Climb strategy meetings on what became Taco Tuesdays. Searched the web for descriptions and pictures of the climb. Read books. Watched videos. As the months-to-train became weeks-to-train became days-to-train, we fixed our eyes on the Half Dome webcam hoping to see the snow melt.
On the day we were to climb Half Dome the snow was still on the ground, which meant no cables. No cables equaled no climbing. Yet, we went to Yosemite anyway and climbed to the base of the dome. We named this adventure our “Reconnaissance Trip.”
Returning home, we realized, during our many months of training we became physically stronger and mentally confident, embarking on each hike with holes in our socks.
I think Mom would approve.
photos courtesy CraigSunter_Click64 and Bobbi Rankin