Sunday, May 17, 2009

a sprint in yosemite

Wanting to start our inaugural trip (starting in Yosemite) with a sprint, Alex and I started our hike on Upper Yosemite Falls. This eight-mile and 2500 ft increase in elevation hike is not an easy task for this city girl, but I wanted a serious start to what I perceive as a challenging and meditative cross-country trip.

After when seemed like thousands of switchbacks in a monotonous forest, Alex and I reached the bottom of Upper Yosemite Falls. The mist from the falls blew in our faces and cooled our glowing skin. After convincing Alex to come a bit further, he finally took a stand, philosophically and literally. He thinks we should employ a gradual increase in physical exertion (which is the way smart athletes train), but I, like a fool, wanted to conquer the mountain, to prove my strength to the indifferent gods of nature.

So, I bid Alex goodbye and took my pride straight up the mountain with me. After leaving him, the trail traversed over the face of a gigantic granite cliff, which was situated squarely in the late morning sun. no trees. or shade. Just a rock desert and a few scurrying lizards at my feet.

The top didn't seem too far away, or so I thought when I left Alex, but an hour in the sun later, I just won't turn around. I've come all this way. There's no going back. My heart pounding from the sheerness, the sweat dripping from my nose, I keep moving my shaking legs, like a marionette with pride as my puppeteer.

As I come around the last corner, the ground levels off. I stumble almost robotically towards the waterfall. The sheerness and dramatic thousand-foot drop-offs go unnoticed as I am drawn to the raging current of the falls. I am alone here, the first one on this mountain today, and it feels like I've discovered water's abundance for the first time. With panting lungs I take in the thin air deeply and let it out through my smiling teeth.

Even though the knowledge of all the steps back down and my future aching body loom, the pride and tenacity I let control me allowed me to feel mad exhilaration. And I love it.

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