Yosemite National Park / Yosemite Falls / June 19, 2011
Our "to-do list" in Yosemite was: get outside, find a challenge and see it through... also, don't come back until the evening. It was refreshing to wake up every morning, have a hearty breakfast and head out for a day of being outside and challenging ourselves physically and mentally. That's all we had to worry about.. that and whether we packed enough food and water to last us all day.
I can pretty much sleep as late as I want with no problem (so long as I'm in a bed.) Waking up early is most certainly not my forte and neither is going to sleep early. Well, this holds true in New York anyway. California is another story. I think my body is permanently on west coast time even though I'm in NY 95% of the time and grew up here. At 7am on Sunday morning I practically leapt out of bed ready for the day. (We also passed out well before 11pm.)
5 hours later I was singing a slightly different tune as Matt and I had just finished 3.5 miles of the most strenuous hike I'd ever done, Yosemite Falls. I was still enamored with my surroundings, just slightly more calm about it (due to exhaustion.) We still had 3.5 miles to climb back down from our magical vista, but we spent a good hour marveling over the valley below and the rushing water of Yosemite Falls- the highest waterfall in America (above which we enjoyed our lunch of granola bars and jerky.) Matt and I each drank 70 ounces of water on that hike and would have drank more if there was more.
It wasn't the length of the hike that got me- 7 miles is a pretty average length for us- it was the elevation and the elevation gain. The gain was constant.. there were only about 5 minutes of walking on even ground. Other than that it was uphill on rocky terrain and even sand. I felt like I definitely earned the burger and fries I housed faster than Matt the day before on our way to the park.
Despite the extreme difficulty, or actually- partly because of the extreme difficulty- Yosemite Falls was an amazing hike. The park got a higher-than-average amount of snow this year, so the melting snow created an even stronger-than-average waterfall. We could hear the rushing water crashing below for most of the 5.5 hours that we were on the trail and we saw hawks flying overhead (and below for that matter) and sheer cliffs of granite on all sides.
I think it's quite possible that heaven looks like Yosemite.