Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Catching up with Outdoor Action before my Thirties

[This is a long one]

The trip started with 5-hrs on the road, half of which going up a curved mountain, no wonder i felt car sickness at the end. We arrived a little after midnight, luckly the car sickness went away after a few minutes from getting out of the car. We were all set - headlights, water, power bars, and a Full Moon in a clear sky.

We joined the rest of the group. Ah, i forgot to mention the group, it was predominantly members of the Palo Alto ward of the Mormon Church, this was part of the wards social activity and i was invited by one of my MBA classmates to join - probably this will deserve a separate post.

We started the hike, the first section wasn't much different than any other hike i guess, u just follow a trail thru the mountain under thick trees - some times its was a little steep, but its not that hard. It was only harder when i had to carry someone's else backpack.

We kept going and going .. and going and going .. dreaming of the cables, not knowing exactly what
they are, but I knew they were the last stage in the hike. Finally by 5am we were out of the thick trees and had two more stages. The first of these stages was going up a big rock, mostly thru big steps and sometimes by walking on its surface. That's a little harder than the previous section specially that we were dead by now.

Finally, we reached the final step, The Cables. This is were we turn into ants climbing an 80 degree flat surface of granite for a distance of about 100 meters holding on to 2 think cables. If u lose grip of these cables, u die. That was scary. But after 5 hrs on the road and more than 6 hrs up the mountain, there was no way i would have gone back without finishing this.

By around 7am we were there. Dead but we were there :). Many other people where there too at least a 100. Boys. Girls. Men. Women. Kids. Adults. Anywhere from 12 to 60 years old.

We stayed there for an hour, had some photos, rested for a while and then headed back. Going down the cables was as much "fun" as going up. Remember its flat rock surface 80 degrees steep, hands tight on two thick cables. Lose ur grip and u r toast. But surprisingly everyone makes it

We then hiked
down through the woods - no rocks and less steepness. The first part of that wasn't any special except for coming across a pair of dears :).

The nicest part was the water falls. Although i was told they are not as gushing as they are in the spring they were beautiful. I saw rainbow coming out of the waterfall bed. The peak of the trip was when i climbed down to a rock that was close to one of the waterfalls bed and stood there with the water flashing into my face.

By the time we came down to the valley, i guess it was around 3pm, that is after at least 13 hours of hiking, my brain was exploding and i could hardly move my right knee. Nevertheless, i was happy with the stretch.

We couldn't do much after that, so i napped for an our, we went and ate something, and then went to the camp site where we slept till the morning.

No much activity the following day. We drove around a little to some special spots in the valley. We then went to a place that was full of those huge trees called Sequoia Trees - claimed to be the largest trees on earth. After that my friends went to their Sunday service, and by 2:30pm we were heading home.

This is probably the most interesting recreational activity I did since i came to the US.

The place we went to was
Yosemite National Park, the mountain we hiked was Half Dome. The waterfalls we came across were Vernal and Nevada falls, and the giant sequoias were at Mariposa Grove. And the people i was with were very nice, friendly, and ...... hardcore hikers.

No comments: