Yosemite National Park Stories and Tips

Harrowing Hike Up Halfdome

We were up the next morning by 8 am for our momentous hike up Halfdome. After a hearty breakfast of ham and eggs we locked our camping gear in the trunk and drove to the base as close as we could get. From the base, the trail goes along a stream which widens and moves less quickly. It's a flat walk and more peaceful and relaxing than any other piece of the trail. It's mostly in the shade and the air is filled with the typical pine forest smell which also happens to be one of my favorite outdoor smells. But just as other good things end, the flat nice piece of trail eventually leaves the stream behind and starts going uphill towards the ultimate goal. I was hoping but not expecting that the my wife would want to attempt to go to the very top of Halfdome despite the fact that we were planning to leave that night. So, I was happy that she felt so good and was ready to complete the adventure by mastering the mother of all domes. And steeper and steeper it got.

After not too much time we left the tree line behind and were out in the open with the peak towering above us. Your legs get a fairly good workout, and I knew we'd be paying for it the next day. We first had to climb half a mile of a strong incline into which steps have been carved. Step by step we got closer to the top. Once on top of the stair part, the view is terrific. Only one more piece left, the final half mile to the top which is along ropes and also the steepest part of the whole trail. To me that is a terrific view too, to others it might not be terrif-ic but terrif-ying. We were raring to continue though, just 15 more minutes and we would get rewarded for our efforts.

I was blazing the trail. My wife took a slower pace and I stopped often to let her keep pace. I kept asking her if she wanted to stop and head back down, but of course she wanted to see the views from the top. So in only minutes we were on top of Halfdome; it felt like being on top of the world. A good satisfactory feeling flowed throughout your body warming you from the inside out. We were out of breath for two reasons, the rapid climb but equally because the beauty around us was breathtaking.

All sorts a positive feelings came up inside me. A wild mix of emotions. They included also proudness since I was proud that my wife made it to the top. With only two other people on the top, we had the fantastic scenery all to ourselves. The sun dipped everything into full colors, the sierras in the background were snow covered and the view reached tens and tens of miles. A good spot to take a deep breath and give a heart-felt "aahhh". Also a nice spot for a little snack and more pictures. Laying down at the edge you can look down a vertical wall which falls for hundreds of yards into Yosemite Valley. The reward for the five hour journey (including all breaks) was an emotional high, appreciation of a thrilling scenery, and memories that we'll hopefully cherish for some time to come. Plenty of ROI (return on investment) if you ask me.

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