Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Night 1:

We begin our epic journey @ 8:30 pm, sun down, immediately following our 15 hours of driving, from Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley. It is pitch black as soon as we step foot on the mist trail. We’re adjacent to huge, misting waterfalls from glacial runoff. Our goal for the night is 4 miles, 2100 vertical feet. There are a chain of headlamps filing down, the people smell of sunscreen from the daylight before, and they are all limping. The 3-foot granite steps crawling up the glaciated cliffs jar my knees. The only thing I can see through my headlamp is the mist from the waterfall blowing sideways in pure darkness. I can only hear my surroundings. When my heart starts pounding out of my chest and the ground below is too far to see, I think to myself… What the hell am I doing? This is only mile 1.

We pull into ‘backpackers camp’ @ midnight. All spots are taken. We spend the next 30 minutes trying to follow the rules for bear protection, trying not to wake the hundreds of people camped here who cause the need for bear protection.

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