Summer Hiking

Summer Hiking
Mt. Constitution

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The hike of a lifetime

Karen said to me before we went to bed on Monday night, "we are going on the hike of a lifetime tomorrow, we'd better get to sleep."  She visited with our friend Margie who suggested that we take a shuttle bus to Glacier Point and then hike the Panorama Trail, about 8 miles back to the valley floor.  Karen fussed about the shuttle for days because we were scheduled to ride the 10 AM shuttle and she was not sure we'd make it to our destination before dark.  Gratefully, we learned there was an earlier shuttle and we were able to change our reservations.  We left Yosemite Lodge around 8:30 and arrived at Glacier Point an hour later.  The views were stunning and we walked around, took pictures and videos, and just marveled at God's amazing creation.  Even that took awhile and I think it was almost 10:30 when we began our hike.

Words truly cannot describe this incredible view of Half Dome, Clouds Rest, and many others

We still look good because we've just been sightseeing, not hiking yet.
The blue spot in the middle of the picture is the pool at Curry Village.  Notice all the tents!
We studied this view a long time, realizing we would be hiking to Nevada Falls, barely water visible to the right of Half Dome and directly below Half Dome, Vernal Falls, appears to be just a trickle.
We'd probably hiked down from Glacier Point about 1500' at this view of Half Dome.
The rocky descent from Nevada Falls, nothing but rocks to walk on.

Karen never stopped smiling all day.  

Karen's picture of Vernal Falls.  The section of the trail is called Mist Falls because hikers get drenched by the falls in the spring and early summer.  

The evening sun on Half Dome, just above this rocky stair step.  I think we were at this place around 5:30 and still had two miles to go!  My feet had just about had it at this point, but then I'd look around and see that family from Israel with the four children and I'd say to myself, "if a 5 year old can make it to Happy Isles (the bottom of the hill) so can you."

It was almost dark when we got to the bottom.  We met a man who looked like he might not make it.  He told us he was 57 years old, had been training to hike Half Dome for three months and he'd never do it again.  "I ran out of water and all physical energy."  He needed to tell us his story even though he could barely breathe.  "My brother's done that hike dozens of times and I felt up to the challenge, but I'll never do it again."  We did wait for our shuttle bus in the dark and by the time we got back to Curry Village the cafeteria was closed so we had pizza and beer!  The magic of the day did not diminish with my tired, aching feet.  My feet accomplished a greater feat of hiking 8.5 miles, with a 3200' change in elevation.  Most of the time I experienced nature as John Muir wrote, “Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves."
Steve Lyman, a Lewiston native,  painted this picture of Vernal Falls and named the wilderness phenomenon, "Dance of Water and Light."  I remembered that Steve Lyman died while hiking in Yosemite in April, 1996.  It was his 41st trip to the park.  After my trip I snagged Duane's copy of Into the Wilderness, a coffee table book of Steve's art and photography.  Mark Mardon, wrote this about Steve, "perhaps the simplest way the artist can explain his high spirits is to recognize his intense attraction to mountains and all the living things that abound in them, much like John Muir, his spiritual mentor."  

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