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Thursday, August 30, 2012

yo-semite, day five (5)

we left the base campsite sometime between 3 and 4 am with headlamps strapped around our heads. the sweeping light beams revealed so much airborne trail dust from our stomping that i tried to keep as far to the end of the group as i could without loosing the sight of the beams. the guide at the stern was even farther behind me and i couldn't see his headlamp.

the early morning in the woods reminded me of the 24h round-the-clock race but there and then i was on a bike hopping over rocks and tree roots at speed. i felt safer here on foot. constantly ascending towards the foothills of the subdome we reached the first snack zone of the day at dawn.

post-dawn rising on half dome with the sub dome in its shadow

the steps on the subdome were manmade and i appreciated the fact while breathing heavily at every switchback. i looked left and right somewhere around the last switchback before the cables base i realized how much universe curving had been happening around me. i stared immediately to analyze the situation. the sun just cleared the mountainous horizon and i couldn't believe where i was: ascending a granite (half)ball. ahead of me there was a clearing, just a granite slab without the chiseled steps, and i started worrying about how i would descend it on my way back. i was pondering the risks of what i was doing and the racing brain took the wrong switchback. it had taken over my muscles under voluntary control. the part of the brain that should never be free from my reign. i didn't know this then. i started over-thinking my position and sat by the side of the granite stairs. a constant flow of young and cheerful crowds was descending the subdome.
some of them wore flip-flops. i raised my eyebrows in disbelief and realized that i had to psyche myslef for success. this situation was just too irrational. but not today. i asked the guide what the standard operating procedure for a decent in this situation was and wilson responded that i should just follow him down. so i got up and did just that. the universe of the granite sphere looked even more maddening looking down but i didn't care any more. i was in shock that the usually cool me got frozen up there now several granite steps behind me. it turned out that it was a good decision for my condition when i found out later how steep and slippery the cables section had been. i wished i'd prepared better. flip-flops and speedos next time. and a little thoughtless courage.

while waiting for the fellow hikers to descend half dome i was trying to fit the boulder
in the punched dome's face across the northeastern tip of the yosemite valley.

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