I conquered half dome

On Monday June 11, 2007, I set out with 5 friends at 5:45am (from our campsite) to conquer Half Dome, in Yosemite National Park. We expected to be tired and worn out and we figured it would take us about 12 hours to complete the 18 mile (give or take!) hike. In the end it took 14 hours and we were all exhausted, dirty and hungry.

Here we are 8 miles into the hike, with gloves on about to ascend the cables, we just completed the toughest part of the hike...before you get to the cables you climb granite stairs and scramble over a mountain top (the gruelling part, in fact so tough that I burst into tears upon completion!) to reach the "saddle". The saddle is the resting place before the final climb to the top of half dome. I am delighted to report that we all made it to the top and back down...in one piece.

Here I am on top of the world...physically, emotionally, spiritually exhausted and only 8 more miles to go before I can sleep! I am signing my "I love you's" to the world. I can't believe I did it.

What this picture does not show you is that I am shaky, tired and crying. I just descended the cables and am a mess. About 1/2 way down my feet slipped out from under me and I slid a couple of feet (of course in my head it felt like forever) until my shoes hit a 2x4 at the posts. Boy oh boy was I scared...of course I burst into tears and the folks behind me thought I was having a panic attack. At that moment God sent me an extra does of courage to pony up and a guardian angel names Juan. The group behind me were "team in training" mentors and very helpful. Juan encouraged me onward and held the back straps of my pack to help me feel more secure. (The cables are in a large part more of a mental challenge than a physical one) For every step I took he took one too. I was shaken to my core. While I was waiting on the saddle for the rest of our party I overheard 2 women exclaiming , after a hard emotional descent, that they were "kick'n chemo's a**", a great reminder to me that the world does not revolve around me and that people all over the world are overcoming more things than mountains.
This day will forever remain in my memory and perhaps like childbirth in a few weeks won't feel so traumatic. I knew I could finish the hike but I was surprised at how tough it was on me physically (I experienced a ton of nausea and a bit of delirium at the end) and how emotional the journey was...I cried far too many times. However, I am grateful for the experience. I am grateful to have shared this memory with Wendy, Laurie, Shelly, Susan and Craig. I am grateful that I can cross this off my list of "things to do in my lifetime". I am grateful I was strong enough to accomplish such a task. Most of all I am grateful that God created such majesty for me to enjoy.

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  1. So proud of you. Don't ever be ashamed of your tears but be proud of your strength!

  2. Wahoooo! You did it! Good for you! I am proud of you! Yeahhh Nicole! I love you.
    your mom xoxox

  3. Wow!!!!!!! I am so envious, what an amazing experience, way to go!!!

  4. i am proud of you.
    your pictures remind me of a time when you used to tease me for having the whitest legs in the world...have the tables turned?
    i love you

  5. Congratulations! What an amazing area. I bet there was a beautiful view from the top. Whoo hoo! You conquered it!


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