Friday, June 25, 2010

The Epic of Half Dome

"There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them."
-Bruce Lee

After my Dad and I said goodbye to the Mammoth fishing crew we got ready for the next part of our vacation: Climbing Half Dome!

Monday: We slept in a little bit, grabbed coffe at the Looney Bean, and took the beautiful drive up the 395 and turned west onto the Tioga Pass Road. We made our first stop of the day at the Whoa Nelly Deli and had breakfast overlooking Mono Lake. I decided to have smoked trout for breakfast because I got skunked on the fishing trip. We drove on up and over the pass, into Tuolumne meadows and finally down into Yosemite Valley. We checked in at our tent cabin at Curry Village and spent the day looking at waterfalls, meadows, deer and riding the free shuttle bus around the valley. We had dinner at the Camp Curry buffet and turned in early in anticipation of climbing half dome.

I was up at 4:00 am and eager to begin our climb. I waited until 5:00 am to get my Dad up and we began our hike at 5:30 am by walking out of camp curry and adding an extra mile to get to the Happy Isles trailhead. As we began our walk we noticed that many other hikers of all ages and sizes were up with us and on the way to hike half dome. It is interesting that people complain about "crowds" on the trail when in reality it is an amazing thing that so many people are up early pushing their bodies to the limit. The hike goes along a paved road for about one mile until you reach a spectacular view of the falls and than we veered off on to the John Muir trail for another 1.5 miles. We reached the top of the trail and saw our Aussie friend form the night before, Shane. He was doing the hike solo and in true Aussie fashion he was in excellent spirits. Along we walked through little Yosemite valley, up the swithcbacks and than on to the subdome. After a brief rest we were ready to tackle the cables and this is where Bob used his patented death grip himself to the top. We enjoyed our time up on top of the world, took a rest, and than began our descent back down. The return trip is always long and hard as you have used up so much energy to get to the top of the dome. We took our time and stopped along the river to rest and get water. Our day ended at 7:30 pm when we got off the trail and were able to get the shuttle bus (thank God) back to camp curry. I got my Dad a couple of gatorades, some ice-cream and got myself some beer. It was an epic day that we will never forget! My Dad has set the bar very high for me by summiting half dome at 62!

After a great night of sleep we woke up and headed over to the Ahwahnee hotel for breakfast. We drove up to glacier point to look at the spectacular view of the valley and than drove on home. It was a fantastic trip!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fishing Trip

We had a great trip up to Mammoth for the first "guy's fishing trip." I can't tell you that we caught a lot of fish but we sure had a lot of laughs. The crew was Jeff, Mike, Dennis, Joe, Kevin, Zach, Bob, Garrett and Matt. All of us stayed in the Riley house so it made things real cozy. Kevin really enjoyed his time fishing and learning all about the bait and how to cast. A couple of highlights from the trip:

1) If you are eager or in a hurry to go fishing, stop by Brocks in Bishop. They are world famous for their speedy service.

2) Dennis and Mike going off-trail to summit Mammoth rock and look at the old mine.

3) Fishing at Lake Mary on Saturday in a beautiful alpine setting.

4) Walking a mile to the gorge in what has been described as a "post nuclear" setting.

5) Telling Kevin and Zach that I am the King of the Raft.

6) Playing Mike's new favorite Sinatra tune, Chicago.