It's only been a couple of weeks since I was in Yosemite but already it feels like a lifetime ago. And it's funny, I remember texting with Sarah when we returned to camp at the end of our third and final day- she asked me, "Would you do this again?" And I said to her, "Um, no. Probably not." Ha! Isn't that interesting that that was my first reaction? It kind of surprises me, but after I had time to process (on the 6-mile hike back later that day), that knee-jerk no changed as I realized the reason for it- that whole weekend might have been the hardest physical things I've ever done. I had just come off of running 13.1 miles a few weeks back, but to be honest that wasn't ever really physically challenging- it was tough at times but I never wanted to walk or stop felt like I couldn't do it. But to hike 18 miles in 32 hours, most of them uphill...with that pack? Man, there were definitely some challenging parts (see the video here!).
And you know, it would have been so much easier to just say how magical this was (it was) and how much I learned from the experience (I did) and what I got from it (a lot), but I think a major part of the beauty of this whole adventure for me was the uncomfortable parts. Let's be real, I'm not uncomfortable a lot. I would probably like to think that I'm someone who pushes myself out of my comfort zone frequently, but even when I do, it's still a comfortable distance outside. Never really, really out of it. I think there have been times in my life when I convinced myself I was all the way out, but this experience only highlighted that no, I was still pretty comfortable. But this, this was as out there as I've ever been. I'm not a camper, yet I slept in a one-person tent. I'm not a backpacker, yet I carried that dang heavy pack for days. And I'm not trying to make this seem like some insane thing that was grueling and blood sweat and tears tough, but for me, it was just such a mixture of new and challenging that it truly shook me up.
The actual climb up Half Dome was definitely hard. But once we made it to the top, holy shit/wow/oh my god. WHAT A VIEW! WHAT AN EXPERIENCE! I knew the second we got to the top and I took it in- this is why we did it. I'm not scared of heights, but that climb up those cables fucked with my head- the gloves I had on weren't doing me any favors and it was freaking me out how slippery my grip was. But I did it, I got to the top still alive and it was one of the most beautiful views I've ever experienced. So so amazing. Really, put this on your list...
Because there were so many permits needed we decided to go with a guide, and Alana organized a trip with Adventure Out and then all we had to do was sign up. Our tour guide Josh was great- so knowledgable and made the entire experience super fun. It was so great for a trip like this because we would have needed a permit to camp in the two spots we did, climb up Half Dome, etc...so this made it incredibly simple. Seriously check them out if you're in the market for a fun trip- they have a lot of options and are well worth it.
I'll be back in one final post talking more about the details of the trip as well (a run down of each day) as what I brought in my pack, at the request of many IG comments! Can't wait to share. Until then, here are some photos from our adventure (mostly from me but some from our friend Chris hiking with us too). Enjoy!