Apr 29 1 Comment

When climbing Half Dome becomes a devotion

It seemed like my first blog for more than two months ought to be something important. Something that will get reposted and liked by many. I could have written about a new diet I have discovered that not only made me skinny, sexy and beautiful, but smart too. Instead I decided to write about how scared I was when I was going to climb Half Dome.

It was going to be the trip of the year with our family. Steve was so excited he could hardly contain himself. We went to REI more times than I like to admit, and we pretended to be hardcore. We planned every detail of the trip, because we would be carrying everything we needed in our backpacks.

Carrying our lives on our backs is a good exercise

Carrying our lives on our backs is a good exercise

Lesson 1. If you have to carry everything yourself, it will make you rethink what you really need. Turns out, you don’t need that much. Most of the stuff we have everywhere around us are things we want, but not need.

We hiked and camped in one of the most beautiful places in the world. We ate freeze-dried food and drank wine from a carton. The kids carried water and took photos to post on Instagram when they would again return to civilization.

Eating freeze-dried food is OK in these surroundings.

Eating freeze-dried food is OK in these surroundings.

Lesson 2. If you only bring the exact amount of food you plan to eat, you don’t overeat. But you may lick the inside of the bag that contained to freeze-dried dinner.

On day two we set out to conquest Half Dome. Harnesses and carabiners were in our bags, along with power bars and sun screen. The scenery and the conversations made the hiking easy. As we started the ascension towards the mountain’s steepest part, tears began to fall. Voices cracked. Some curses were said. But we kept walking, trying to be brave.

A good place to feel very small and even insignificant

A good place to feel very small and even insignificant

Lesson 3. Some times you may think that life is as hard as it can get, and then you turn a corner and it gets even harder.

We made it to the part of Half Dome that required harnesses and courage. I almost didn’t do it. I said No way at first. I justified my decision by telling myself I have already seen much of the world. Many others also don’t climb Half Dome and they have perfectly OK lives. I didn’t want to draw attention to myself.

But I had a talk with my heart and understood that the real issue was my fear. I didn’t want my fear to steal my day. I looked at the others climbing and figured that if they could do it, being such novices I could too.

So I had Steve tie me in and show me how to move, and then I started. My pulse was so high they probably heard it all the way down to the visitor’s center. My hands sweated. I looked like a cow. But I kept going. Looking straight ahead, into the wall of the mountain.

Don't look back!

Don’t look back!

Lesson 4. When you are scared it is better not to look down. Just look up or straight ahead. Then your focus will be on where you are going instead of where you may fall if you fall.

Suddenly we were at the top and it was so spectacular. You simply cannot believe it until you stand there looking out and feeling like the whole world is under you. I made sure to breathe a lot because at such a beautiful place I am sure the air is particularly good to breathe.

Celebrate victory!

Celebrate victory!

Lesson 5. When you finally overcome your fear and make it to the top, make a big deal of it.

We then climbed back down and felt like we had been in touch with our inner selves. We have been living before, but this was really living.

If I were you, I would do something like what we did in Yosemite. There may be another mountain in your life. Just remember that even though it looks scary, you can probably overcome it. Just make sure you wear some protection.

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