This past month has been, in many ways, a ride in a rickety rickshaw down memory lane. Seen some old friends, revisited some old haunts and hang-outs, and rediscovered the exquisite pleasure that is moving back in with your parents. Mind you, I’m damn appreciative of the opportunity to see them again for such a duration – before the plans to move to Japan, Boston made regular family events as irregular as an octagenarian’s bowel movements – but thank god it’s only for a month.
Back to the old friends bit. Spent a couple days in Yosemite this week, hiking Half Dome and generally frolicking in the forest as any good Northern Californian. New photos are up in the gallery for your perusal, of course.
Heading back to a place where I spent three summers brought back good memories. Hiking, camping, enjoying the fresh air and the lack of people was an internal recharge that I had long been needing.
The hike to the top of Half Dome, at 8,842 ft., was just as strenuous and challenging as I remembered it; maybe even a bit moreso because of the 50-plus pound pack I was lugging around. The only downside to the trip was a slight case of dehydration I got after we ran out of water on the way down from the top, and the excursion-ending blisters that Katie developed on her toes.
The thrill of hiking to the top of Half Dome is that unlike other hikes in Yosemite that are steep, narrow or somehow treacherous, Half Dome forces you to ditch your framepack, put on a pair of gloves for protection against the steel cables, and hold on for dear life.
(The top of Half Dome is 4,800 ft. above the Yosemite Valley Floor, for those who care.)
Whereas most hiking is about endurance and preparation, and the eight-mile shlep up to the top is largely about that, Half Dome is also nothing but you and the rock. When it comes down to it, there’s nothing more beautiful than that.