A couple of weeks ago Chaz, Desiree, Desiree’s sister Crystal and myself headed out to Yosemite to attempt to tackle Half Dome. I had done my preparation. Read up on others hikes. What to bring, what not to bring. What to expect. None of it mattered. It was TOUGH! The hike up is steep, very steep. If you are not in shape it makes it that much tougher. Since I dedicate the majority of my time to being a dad and husband that does not leave much time for getting in shape.
El Capitan and The Three Sisters.
We had a plan. Wake up at 3:30am power down some cinnamon Life cereal and head out towards the park. We were staying in Oakhurst and had planned on a hour trip into the park. Little did we know that they would be doing road work on the 41 at four in the morning. The hour trip turned into two hours and had shot my plans for catching some nice light later in the hike. I was a little sour because of the setback, but we persevered.
Headed up the trail at almost exactly six in the morning. A couple of potty breaks later and we were headed up the beginning of the Mist trail. The scenery was alluring the entire way up and down. Which was a good thing. Otherwise I would not have made it a mile. The first portion of the trail was not bad. It was steep but paved. You cross the first bridge and head towards the Mist portion of the trail. Vernal falls is the culprit behind the mist. When someone suggests you bring a poncho on a hike, you really should listen. I thought I knew better. Why bring a poncho it is just mist right? Wrong! Hiking this portion of the trail was like taking a shower with the most powerful shower head imaginable. We got soaked. Chaz and I both had our SLR’s out and they got soaked. This section of the trail was comprised mainly of stairs varying in height from 12″ to 18″ and wet! I was dying. I could also feel the start of a few small blisters at this point. Vernal Falls was amazing.
Desiree posing in front of our goal.
Vernal Falls Peek a Boo.
Beginning of the Mist Trail.
Looking down from the top of Vernal Falls onto the Mist Trail.
Noticed this rock and made me sad to be away from E, as I was away during our 20 year anniversary.
At the top of the falls I decided to check out my heels. Sure enough already had a blister on my right foot and could feel one on the left but it had not surfaced yet. The right heel had already broke open. We are only like two miles in at this point! Six more to the top! I put some second skin on my heels laced back up and we headed off. Next set of falls was Nevada falls. From the bottom not quite as pretty as Vernal but stunning none the less. Again this section was more granite stairs. My muscles were fine, my lungs…..not fine. They were burning. Over my years riding, hiking, or playing sports this is the norm for me. I have to work through the initial burn and then I am good. That did not happen until around mile six! From the two mile to the top mark I was feeling good. At the top of Nevada falls I did another check of my heels and they were worse. Decisions decisions, power through or turn back. I decided to keep going. Another application of second skin with a outer cover of moleskin and we were off. Well almost Chaz was feeling our poor decision to chow down some deep fried ravioli from Dicheekos (Yes blatant mispelling) and had to try and get them out before we started the five miles to the top.
The look of fried ravioli regret.
Desiree heading up Nevada Falls.
The next couple of miles were pleasant. Through Litttle Yosemite Camp ground, terrain was nice. Mostly flat with a little up and down. Was a nice break on my heals. I was doing my best to keep hydrated and it was showing, many potty breaks! After the campground you start heading back up hill, this time through the woods. It was gorgeous. Steep in some portions but no stairs! This was much easier on my already blistered heels. About a 1/4 mile from the Grand Staircase Chaz and I pulled over to take it all in. You could see Half Dome and the people on the cables. While we were stopped I heard “Dude be careful with the bong”. I turn around and this guy has an enormous green glass bong. I turn around and say “bong?” To which the reply was “Yeah dude three footer, giggle giggle”. I could not believe it. Apparently his goal was to make it to the top and get high, higher than he had ever been!
Way too happy with two miles still to go.
Spring Gold, my best guess.
Break before heading to the Grand Staircase.
Now the last few hurdles. The Grand Staircase, walk up a steep granite slab, and the cables. The stairs put the almighty hurt on me. Chaz was soldiering on. My heels were on fire and I was afraid to see the damage. After making it to the top of the staircase I sat briefly. Upon standing and pushing off to start up the granite I felt a tear on my left heel. I knew it was not good. Walked over to a nice spot to sit down and told Chaz to go on ahead, I really needed to assess the situation. Upon inspection my heels were cooked! Left heel had a massive blister that covered the entire heel and was headed under my foot. Right heel had big open blister. Another application of second skin and moleskin and I was on my way. I wanted to make it to the top but the furthest I made it was to the Sub Dome and the base of the cables. The pain was bad and I made the decision it was in my heels best interest to not attempt the steep cable portion and risk further damage. I decided to head back down.
Lonely at the Top.
Chaz heading up the Grand Staircase.
Amazing troop of Amish ladies.
Half Dome and the Cables.
What a view.
My Snoopy good luck talisman, Thank you Chris!
On my way back down I ran into Desiree and her sister. We decided to all head back down and wait for Chaz. Luckily he made it and took some photos and video at the top.
When Chaz met back up we started the long trek back down. It was lovely, downhill was putting zero pressure on my heels I flew down to the first restroom. The Brown’s had a date at the Superbowl and I did not want them to be late! We decided to take the longer John Muir route down. An extra mile and a half but the downhill was supposed to be better than going back down the stairs of the Nevada and Vernal Falls.
Top of Nevada Falls.
Liberty Cap and Nevada Falls.
On the John Muir Trail.
After passing the Nevada falls I felt new blisters forming now on my toes! I really thought I had broken in my boots but to my chagrin I had not. Chaz and I were both hurting on the way down. He had barely taken any breaks and made it to the top so he was hurting. We stuck it out made it back to the car where I gleefully kicked my boots off and we headed to the hotel room.
In all a very fun trip. Thank you very much Chaz and Desiree with putting up with my crude sense of humor and for being the chauffeur! Very much looking forward to the next adventure.