Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Half Dome

"Reading about nature is fine, but if a person walks in the woods and listens carefully, he can learn more than what is in books, for they speak with the voice of God."

~George Washington Carver

My blog is primarily about the written word. It is the record of my exploration of books, ancient and modern, fiction and nonfiction, covering a wide variety of topics.

There are two other important facets to my lifelong learning process. One is music, which finds its way into the blog from time to time. The other is the wilderness. I love to hike. I firmly believe that, whatever Spock might say, “because it is there” is a great reason to climb a mountain. For the most part, I hike with my kids. We started this tradition early on, when my eldest was a mere infant, but it really caught on when she was three, and I started a tradition of “daddy adventures.” In essence, I would take a child or two or five, and head into the hills somewhere and find an adventure. The kids really have gotten into it, and are eager to keep track of our mileage each year. (We hiked about 120 miles together last year.) Still, there is a limit to their endurance at their ages, and there are some places I cannot yet take them.

Last weekend, I fulfilled one of my mountain dreams. My brother-in-law, Josiah obtained a permit to hike Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. 

Half Dome is a strenuous hike of 17 miles, with a vertical climb of nearly 5000 feet. In order to reach the exposed cables at the top before it got too hot, we started hiking at 5:00 AM.

This is Nevada Falls and Liberty Cap after three miles of hiking, as seen from the John Muir Trail.

Half Dome up close, after about seven miles of hiking and about 4000 feet of climbing.

The brutal switchbacks on the flank.

 The cables, which were pretty terrifying.

This picture doesn't quite do justice to how steep and seemingly precarious they are.

This picture, taken by Josiah, gives a pretty good perspective.

At the top of the cables, with Cloud's Rest in the background. 

My favorite picture of the day. I'm at the top, with the high Sierra spread out behind me. There truly are some things that cannot be experienced in a book, and this is one of them.


  1. That's AMAZING! I have to say I didn't realize the significance of your excursion until reading this post. Wow! (Love that one picture showing off how steep the hike up is.) Incredible!

  2. Can't be experienced in a book, and cannot be purchased at any price. The only way to see it is to do the work. Hooray for you!