Bobbi Rankin at Half Dome
Half Dome became a reality to me this summer. That awemanousness (my new word) of a mountain is indescribable. Or I could say a mastodon of a mountain. That giant rock that sits among the clouds 8’000 feet above sea level and 4’000 feet above the Yosemite Valley floor, the distance I climbed. This hike was on my bucket list and the reality is I can now cross it off.
This was nothing I had ever experienced before. The training was necessary to make this climb and have the feel of fulfillment and not the anguish of defeat. I say that because being prepared elevates the anxiety, fear and problems that can occur if you aren’t in shape for this “ mother of all hikes”. And that’s the reality of this hike.
We started early and got back late. We had plenty of energy bars and electrolytes to drink. The energy needed for this hike is the most important ingredient along with physical training.
Nature at its best is how many describe Yosemite. The wonder and majesty of the granite mountains are breath taking. The trail to Half Dome is sprinkled throughout with winding tree covered trails, many stairs that are chipped into the granite and beautiful waterfalls. The Merced River pushes it roaring waters over the cliffs at Vernal and Nevada Falls – such a sight to behold.
When I finally arrived at the base of Sub Dome I’m not sure I’m ready for this untethered climb of over 800 granite cut stairs. As I have come to realize, not much is said about the Sub Dome. I now know it is harder to climb than the cables of the Half Dome. I climb the Sub and get to the base of Half Dome. I pause to take in the enormity of this next phase of the trip and reflect on how far I have come. As I look around, I realize that this vast wilderness is there for my pleasure, I respect that and I’m grateful for the experience so far.
What lay ahead is my goal. Where I’ve come from, is my journey. Along with me on this journey was Rick, or more fondly referred to as “Mr. Half Dome”. This trip was his 32 in ten years and I felt the privilege of him sharing the stories and folk lore of the trail, the mountain and giving me the grand tour.
The cables were the next adventure waiting for me to grab hold of. And grab I did climbing almost straight up 800 feet to the top. I felt the reality of my journey the minute my feet touched the top of the Dome. At the top, I’d come 4’000 feet to be part of and experience something that was so much bigger than I could have imagined when I had looked up at it from the Valley floor. There I was eye to eye with the tops of the neighboring mountains taking in that mystical, majestic and spiritual moment. One I’ll never forget.
In my world this was a reality that was so tangible and mystical that it took my breath away. In my world this was the hike legends are made of. In my world I am preparing to do this again next summer.
The reality is…I can.
photo by Mr. Half Dome
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