Roadtrip, Days 3 and 4!
Day 3 of the lovely roadtrip began with the arrival at Yosemite!! Got there in the early morning and then worked on getting the lay of the land and a backcountry pass to stay at the base of the climb at Half-Dome. I apologize in advance for the un-pro iPhone photos, but I put away the good cameras for two reasons: first, I wanted to focus on what I was about to do and reallllly feel like I was prepared for it, and second, everything I brought I had to carry 7 miles to the base of the climb, and to the top of Half-Dome on my back, and then the 7 miles out (so weight matters a lot!!). So. Day 3 started like this in a camp toilet with my coffee (TMI, maybe?) because I was just so nervous! I mean, come on. Climbing Yosemite is the biggest thing I had ever considered doing... anyway.
Then, the long hike past Vernal falls and Nevada falls to the climber's trail around Liberty Cap, where it became mostly bushwacking (absurd!).
YES, that's how big the pinecones were. and that's not even the biggest one I found. Made the awful discovery that there was no water at the base of the climb (which is probably why most people do the hike in the same day instead of stay the night), so 3 liters of water had to last that night and the entire next day. yeesh.
Day 4 was the climb. 4 am wakeup, and the sun was just coming up when we started climbing:
After the second pitch, I was belaying and I turned around to look at the valley behind me, just to take in the view, because I had been so focused on the wall.... and I literally gasped. The sun was projecting the mammoth shadow of what we were climbing onto the rock wall across the valley, and here's the terrible quality photo of that moment that really made me see Half-Dome the way I do now for the first time:
right? I wanted that moment to last forever. the climb was 8 pitches and then ANOTHER 6-8 pitches of ropeless friction climbing... it felt like the top was NEVER going to happen. Literally. So you can take this cable trail up the shallowest side of Half-Dome and so there's loads of people at the top that hiked up that side, and I gotta tell you, I've never been so happy to see human beings than when I got to the top of Half-Dome (because it felt never ending!). a few from the top, including me at day 4 of not showering, yum.
i think this might be the greatest achievement of my life thus far; i just was pushing myself mentally and physically. and then.... i was POOPED. splurging happened on the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite (you seriously need to look it up), where I ordered room service for the first time EVER just to eat a hamburger because I was so hungry. earliest bed time for me EVER that night.