As magnificent as my trip has sounded to everyone … it was not without its challenges … most of which occurred directly after the coming down off of Half Dome. Although I do not typically choose to share some of my personal challenges, I think maybe these might be helpful to others in the future who might not be such avid backpacker/campers … I, too, am a beginner in this area.
WARNING: Some content is meant for ADULTS ONLY!
As we headed down the mountain and were making our 3 mile trip back to Little Yosemite Valley and our campsite with the intention of packing up and heading all the way back to our original starting point from the day before … a storm, which had been brewing in the distance, a storm, which up until this day didn’t reach the valley until 3:00 p.m. … decided … on this day to greet us early. Sometimes it isn’t so great being the first one back at camp! But that is besides the point … I was. I began to break down my gear, take the rain fly off, lay my things on the ground … WHEN…. a deluge of water began to pour from the sky!
All of my gear, my pack, my clothes, my sleeping bag, tent … all drenched! UGH! … I emptied my backpack of what water I could and stored it in the bear box and ran promptly into Lindsay, the assistant guide’s tent. We waited and waited and waited and waited for the monsoon to pass. I got colder and colder and colder and became sad knowing that I was wet and cold and had no dry clothes to change into at this point either even once the rain stopped. CRAP! AND we still had to hike 6 miles from this point back down to Yosemite Valley with our 30 pound (now 40 pound packs with the water) …
Two hours later, rain slowed enough for us to pack up, everyone emerged. I squished as much water from all my gear as I could and gathered water drenched clothes and pushed my water engorged sleeping back back into its now too tiny home filled with remnants of mud from the flooded campsite. We made our way to the river to restock our water packs when one of the other participants and her wife looked at me and said, “Shannon, you look really cold and really hungry.” I denied it, but they were right. Pegha said, “Oh no! You cannot hike back like that. You will get hypothermia.” Pegha took off her now dry rain pants and handed them to me to put on. I took off my drenched hiking pants, rung them out and slung them over my backpack. Sirie, Pegha’s wife, took off her dry, warm, long-sleeved shirt and told me to put it on after taking off my own long-sleeve water-logged shirt. AHHHH … so much better … it is nice when you receive help especially when it is from people who don’t know you that well but as humans, know that you could get sick and so step in to be of service! At that point they fed me a bowl of hot beans and rice (which although sweet and tasty and nourshing would later come back to HAUNT me!) … I know your curious … I did say this particular post was full of ADULT content … I guess you presumed Nudity, Sex, Profanity … Yes, No, Yes … As you have see the nudity part from the story above…. Pegha and Sirie also put a enzyme tablet into my water bag to re-hydrate me …
6 miles back … all that once was UP UP UP was now DOWN DOWN DOWN … Around mile 4 … I begun to realize that there were certain things on the trip that if nothing went wrong, my equipment was perfect BUT if challenges occurred, my equipment, not the best for this type of trip. I rather quickly collected a list in my head of what I would need to change out for another trip of this nature.
1. Hiking shoes: MINE: Good condition, broken in … wonderful for the hikes I’ve done
NEW: Hiking Boots! with ankle support … by the last two miles downhill my ankles were so sore, I admit, I was crying … most people who know me know I don’t like to show my weaknesses … at this point in our group though I was by myself with some of the group ahead and some behind.
2. Backpack: MINE: Good support, good waist band, good harness and steel frame.
NEW: Backpackers pack where all the equipment fits inside the frame with nothing loaded on the outside and is waterproof!
3. Hiking Poles: MINE: Adjustable with spring action (Thank you Sally!)
NEW: Hiking poles adjustable with clips instead of a turning screw mechanism
4. Cooking Equip: ME: None
NEW: A small portable Jet Boil … many of our campers had these small portable apparatus’ and I became jealous after deciding I wanted some hot tea to warm up with.
5. Rain Gear: MINE: Rain Jacket – single layer
NEW: Waterproof Rain Jacket and Pants with double layer insulation!
Okay, okay … so now I know! Atleast I survived in order to learn what I did well with and what I could do differently … that’s Life right?
So at this point in the last mile, with my body warmimg up, the beans and rice cooking in my intestines and the enzymes in the water rehydrating me … well you can guess … maybe … I begun avidly to pray to GOD …. “Please don’t let me shit myself on this trail … Yes a bear does shit in the woods … But I don’t want to …” My prayers were partially answered … PARTIALLY …
We made it back to Yosemite Valley and now I needed to find lodging. I was supposed to camp one more night, but as you might recall, all my gear is wet and gross. I drove 90 minutes west to Buckmeadows Lodge and hope one, there was a room and two, a restroom cuz now my intestines are not happy. I found a room! Yes! and as soon as I stepped in the room, well … lets just say … I was 20 Feet from Stardom! …I am not proud but at this point, I was grateful for a toilet, a tub, a restaurant next door with hot food and a comfy warm bed to crawl into before the drive home the next day.
As you have noticed this blog post has NO photos … I didn’t think you wanted that much information!
I also want you to know that success is not without its hard journeys and shit!
Enough of that …. Now … for some more pretty pics on my journey back to Tucson …..
That’s the NEXT and LAST Post form this adventure!