Category Archives: Playing & Sports

Stories that will make you say, “Let’s go out and play.”

Climbing Half Dome With Holes In My Socks ©

Preparing to climb Half Dome with Shinazy

Oh, would my mom disapprove of me having holes in my socks.

half domeI remember my mom hanging laundry and inspecting my clothes for anything requiring repair: a missing button, a detached hem, a hole in a sock.  Because my appearance was important to her, I always left the house wearing well cared-for clothes.

Given my upbringing, where clothes represented more than cloth covering skin, it would be inconceivable to see what I wear to go for a run or hike. This morning several of us met at my place to discuss our next adventure.  We were off to hike in the coastal mountains above the town of Pescadero.  My home is a shoe-free zone, so everyone leaves their shoes at my front door.

As we congregated in my living room, chatting about our upcoming trek, Sandy remarked, “Oh, I’m so glad someone else has holes in their socks.”

Our eyes dropped in unison to observe our assemblage of shoeless feet.  It was true – each of our feet was enveloped in what could only be described – at best – as ‘well-ventilated’ socks.  It was in that moment we realized: these weren’t mere remnants of well-worn pieces of cotton-poly and silk-wool blends.  They were the results of actions and efforts, of steps and journeys taken, of goals actualized and achieved.  These socks were the indisputable evidence attesting to the activism of their owners.  They belonged to a group of Bitchin’ Ol’ Boomer Babes who started walking together a year ago.

This year we decide, tick tock, we better attend to our Bucket Lists.

half domeItem #1: Climb Half Dome in Yosemite National Park.

But alas, as it usually is when attempting feats of greatness, our spirits were willing, but our flesh … needed some help!

Between the three of us, we encompassed the full range of inactive, aging babes.  I was recovering from a back injury.  Sandy had been inactive since finishing the Gold Coast Marathon 2 years before.  And, 3 years ago, Bobbi walked 2 miles.

To accomplish our goal – without hurting ourselves in the process – we needed to “train”… the kind of put-one-foot-in-front-of-the-other-over-and-over-again type of training, sustained with perseverance, determination, and an occasional massage at the local day spa.

Our plan was simple:  Go longer and longer distances, adding steps and hills to emulate the Yosemite Valley terrain.  We scheduled walks on flat ground along the bay, then the undulating path at Sawyer Camp Trail, next up and down the mountains near the coast.  We did 1 mile, then 2, 3 . . . 8, 9 . . . 14 . . . 18.

Our walking began in late fall through local neighborhoods, admiring the Christmas decorations as we trudged past, dashing through mud and laughing all the way.  We forged ahead during the record-breaking rainfall during a stormy Northern California winter.  We saw the fog lift and felt the sun shine.  Watched banana slugs mosey along on the trail and listened to the tap-tap-tap of woodpeckers on trees.

half domeWe held Half Dome Climb strategy meetings on what became Taco Tuesdays.  Searched the web for descriptions and pictures of the climb.  Read books.  Watched videos.  As the months-to-train became weeks-to-train became days-to-train, we fixed our eyes on the Half Dome webcam hoping to see the snow melt.

On the day we were to climb Half Dome the snow was still on the ground, which meant no cables.  No cables equaled no climbing.  Yet, we went to Yosemite anyway and climbed to the base of the dome.  We named this adventure our “Reconnaissance Trip.”

Returning home, we realized, during our many months of training we became physically stronger and mentally confident, embarking on each hike with holes in our socks.

I think Mom would approve.

photos courtesy  CraigSunter_Click64 and Bobbi Rankin

Antarctica Marathon ©

Running the Antarctica Marathon with Shinazy

“Hey, Janice, let’s run a marathon next February.”

“Where?”

“Antarctica”

“Ok”

antarctica marathonJanice and I live life with passports in our back pockets, so this dialogue would not surprise anyone who knows us.  Being adventure junkies we understand anything can happen at any time.  Being marathoners we believe we can run out of any situation. These characteristics make us invincible; the race in Antarctica would test our resolve.

Once we decided to run, we had to plan our training.  For previous marathons we would replicate the event’s terrain, which provided a physical and mental advantage.  The Antarctica race pamphlet described running over ice fields, up a glacier’s flank, and through gravel riverbeds.  Living in the San Francisco Bay Area there are no glaciers and streambeds cover only a few feet not the 138,435 feet we needed to duplicate the marathon course.  If we couldn’t adapt our training we would acclimate our bodies; into storage went sweaters, coats, and all long sleeve shirts.  When strangers questioned why we were dressed for summer when it was “freezing outside”, we would answer, “Training for Antarctica Marathon”.  Our response always ended the conversation, but never removed the you-crazy-running-people expression.

antarctica marathonAfter planning for a year and training for six months our craziness was imminent.  With luggage containing layers of 50-mph-wind-subzero-temperature protective clothing that would transform us into Abominable Snowgals, we embarked on our journey.  8,460 flying miles later we arrived in Ushuaia, Argentina.  Walking the gangplank we assumed all decisions were behind us, now we thought, ‘time to relax’.  Intrepid travelers pride themselves on their ability to adapt.  This trip and our ship, Lyubov Orlova, a Russian research vessel masquerading as a cruise ship, would require constant attitude adjustments.

To maximize our on-board comfort, Janice and I upgraded to a ‘State Room with ocean view’, which translated into ‘area equivalent to three side-by-side twin beds and a porthole’.  There was no TV on the boat.  We moved from deck to deck using stairs because there was no elevator.  When ordering dinner we asked for “meat, fish, or vegetable”.  The only five-star feature was the swimming pool – it was empty which allowed lounging in the deep-end to escape the skin piercing, horizontal flying, ice needle sea spray.

Despite having no amenities we remained excited; before us was open water and time.  Or so we thought.  The first omen was the Drake Passage weather, known for its brutal storms.  As we motored across the Passage we experienced no waves.  No clouds.  No sea life.  No seasickness.  This first calm day would be our last until our last day became as calm as our first.

antarctica marathonYou need peaceful water when you use an inflatable dingy to commute to King George Island.  For three days the race organizer attempted to get the 108 runners to land and every day Mother Nature distorted seas causing us to duct tape drawers closed and bungee cord doors open.  With each 5:30 AM wake-up call we proceeded to wrap toes, moleskin blisters, greased bodyparts, diluted electrolyte, eat oatmeal, and wait.  And wait.  And snooze.  And wait.

Before we ran out of time we ran out of oatmeal.  At our final breakfast the organizer’s grim face told us the waiting was over; tomorrow we headed home. When 140 people focus on one problem some solution will surface.  Because we were in Antarctica water, over Antarctica dirt, a marathon run on decks 5 and 6 would qualify.  Over the next five hours and forty-four minutes I ran the gangway, stepped over the fiddley, jogged the hatchway, stepped again.  I repeated this procedure, around and around, for 422 lapses.

Crossing the imaginary finish line I pondered, “Would I do this silliness again?”

You betcha’.

photos courtesy  23am, shinazy, & longhorndave

Water Bob ©

A Water Skiing Story by Cathy Reineke

My younger brother, Bob, can do anything.  Only 18 months separates an uncoordinated, difficult- to-balance-on-one-foot, scared-of-heights woman from the perfect hand-eye coordinated, scared-of-nothing brother I always envy.

waterAt sixteen, as a gawky teen, I determined I would beat him by water skiing on one ski before he did.  I spent one summer dragging myself through all types of conniptions and contorted efforts while my father faithfully and patiently flung me the towrope for yet another try.

The next summer, I still had not mastered the art of slalom skiing.  My good friend, Steve, lived next to us at the lake and his parents had the faster boat.  My brother, knowing absolutely no fear of striking the water face first, declared his intention to be on that one ski behind Steve’s boat by the end of this inaugural ride of the summer season.

In my usually doubting sister style, I scoffed at him.  It was my duty as his older sister to tell him what he could not accomplish.  Bob sat on the dock and reached up to grab the towrope I threw to him.  In defiance of my stated limitation, he threw aside the second ski and put his right foot into the slalom ski while dangling his left foot in the water.

I turned to my friend driving the boat and said, “Look at this.  He’s going face plant.”  My laughter disguised my underlying uneasiness that maybe, just maybe, he would somehow achieve that mastery of the slalom ski.

“Hit it” I yelled and felt the full throttle of the motor as we tore away from the dock.  I watched in expectation. My brother stood up and began a wild wobble on top of that one ski.  Over the course of 100 yards, I keep letting out whoops and saying to my friend, “Oh, he’s almost down.  Oh he’s back up again.”

waterAnd then I saw the look of determination come across Bob’s face.  I had seen it many times.  At five years old, he climbed on my new bike and sailed down the driveway before I had learned to ride it myself.  He bombed straight down steep headwalls of ski slopes and shushed straight up in front of my mother and grandmother with the devil’s grin just to watch them back up as they doubted he could stop in time.

This was no different.  He grabbed the rope with a fierce pull, stood upon the ski, positioned his foot solidly into the back stirrup, and then, without effort, he cut back across the wake.  He came way out to the side, and there again was that devilish grin.  Then he fell back, and jumped the wake across to the other side.  All the while, the impish smile on his face grew.

Is a daredevil born or bred?  We came from the same gene pool. I never did learn to slalom ski.

My brother turned 60 this year.  Each day I thank him for teaching me that when I tell him he can’t do something, he has another opportunity to prove me wrong!

photos courtesy  sheetbrains & toofarnorth

Hiking Path ©

Hiking with Bobbi Rankin

hikingI hike, she runs.

The path I usually hike, in the foothills near my home, has become mundane.  I have the choice of at least 5 different routes I can trek over these beautiful tree covered hills, with sweeping views and roaming grasslands.  I’ve been hiking them for a few years and I’ve seen all this beauty from every possible angle.  I’m ready for some new adventure, new hills to climb, new vistas to find. Until one day last week, I brought my daughter along.

She’s a runner.  Her mother, that’s me, is a hiker/walker.  Because of the pace difference I was all of a sudden viewing this familiar area with a new set of eyes.  Immediately, she began to run circles around me.  Her motivation is get out there and get back, as quick as possible.  For me it’s quite different.  I place one foot methodically in front of another, pacing myself as I mosey on down the path.  She’d run way out in front of me then comes running back.  Back and forth, back and forth.  This method is being used so we can “spend time together”.

As she approaches, I’d comment on that amazing oat tree or try to draw her into looking at the view.  On and On I droll, not realizing that the runner is constantly looking at the ground and not enjoying the views, nor the flora and fauna.  That’s not why she runs.  The sheer pleasure of running in record time, is the personal goal of my daughter.  That quick and efficient way to exercise.  All in all I’m thankful that we really do enjoy each others company and we did enjoy the day.

hikingIn that process I began to see my mundane hiking trail from a different perspective.  My next trek to the foothills was met with a new vitality that had slipped away from me over time.  I began to hike those hills with a new energy and a feeling of freshness.

With this new realization of the beauty and views, I now see this path as a gift to me.  I have many ways I can enjoy the time I spend hiking.  I can look outward, catching as in a butterfly net, all this has to offer me.  I have a few friends that occasionally hike along with me.  We talk, laugh and listen to the stories we tell each other.  There are times I listen to my iPod.  I have moments where mindfulness is what I crave to restore and heal.  Walking through what I call the woodland chapel, now covered like a carpet of spring green clover, is my sanctuary.

This time I spend, a few days a week, hiking those hills is precious to me.  I relish the exercise it provides, the meditation I need and the time with friends.  All of this is valuable to keep me feeling young and vibrant.  My free outdoor hiking time is irreplaceable.  Want to join me?

photos by bobbi & shinazy

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Being a Mavericks Surfer ©

A Story by Shinazy

mavericks, surferI’m peering through binoculars at dots bobbing up and down.  I see them in between one-inch high waves at the Mavericks Surf Competition.  Then something happens … The Wave emerges.   A surfer propels himself down the face of a 30-foot giant aqua-blue wall.  The top of the wave folds like a used Thanksgiving napkin and the surfer disappears into The Tube, swallowed.  My breathing stops, anticipating, will the athlete reappear?

While waiting my mind wanders to my first athletic endeavor and that of every city girl with a piece of chalk in her hand . . . hopscotch.  Yes, the children’s sidewalk game where we balance and jump on one leg, instinctively calculating ballistics before we toss our marker into poorly drawn squares.  Hopscotch, a sport for strong, skilled athletes.

We trained for years.  In just over 13 months, from our birth, we mastered synchronizing our feet, ankles, legs, knees, hips, spine, arms, shoulders, and head to move from one set of embracing arms to the outreached arms a short distance in front of us.  Over the next year we completed our first marathon over kitchen floors and living room carpets.  Some of us incorporated stair repeats.  Once we ran, we never stopped.  We were endurance toddlers.

Our training continued, constantly climbing the ladder on our favorite slide and using our abs to navigate the slope, ensuring we stayed within the low, cold, metal lips.  By kindergarten we were jumping rope.

mavericks, surgerWith every contest we competed against ourselves as well as the reigning first grade champion.  We desired to be in first place.  We practiced and played with determination to win.

It’s also during this time we risked bodily harm.  We were fearless when we wrote to Santa – we’re ready – we needed a two-wheel bike.  Those first days without training wheels frequently resulted in scraped knees and bruised elbows.  But we continued; we must learn this skill.  With nerves and experience we soon used our power and peddled, alone, to our friend’s house.

As the lone surfer emerges, he flips the nose of his board and starts to paddle out into open water to try again.

Try again.

It never crosses the surfer’s mind to head for the safety of the shore.  It was the same for us when we were kids.  Someone might say comparing Mavericks to hopscotch is comparing the sun to birthday candles.  Nay, I say.  Sometime in our lives, we, too, had athletic skills that represented equal ferocity.  Today is the surfer’s day and the waves his playground.

photos by creativeage and knapjack

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Baseball Dreams ©

A baseball story by Will Jones

baseballI still gasp with joy when I first glimpse the emerald beauty of a big league baseball field.  It is such a reliable payoff after the trip to the park, mingling with the fans in their hometown apparel converging on the turnstiles, walking into the dark corridors that echo with the nearly operatic voices of the vendors hawking programs, searching for level and section, culminating in the thrill of seeing that perfect green vision, taking in all the pre-game spectacle.  Baseball: in my family and neighborhood, being a baseball fan was very nearly a law, like growing up Catholic and never talking back to a nun.

In the 50’s and 60’s I attended games at Connie Mack Stadium, a creaky old double bleacher relic with billboards on the left field roof and a wall in right not unlike Fenway Park’s Green Monster.  The Phillies were mostly dreadful, and more often than not majestic home runs hit over the roof and into the darkness were hit by opposing players like Hank Aaron or Willie Mays.  There was a brief run of success in the mid-sixties, best remembered for an epic collapse in the last ten games of the 1964 season.  Forty-eight years later I still remember the pain of that failure.  The Phillies were my baseball team.  The Phillies had thrown away a chance to play in the World Series.

The seventies and eighties were a dismal time for baseball stadiums.  A succession of cookie cutter circles with no character dotted the baseball landscape.  Take away the names and the particular locations, and there was almost nothing to distinguish one from the other.  baseballSure there was still Yankee Stadium, the House that Ruth built, and the two old parks, Wrigley and Fenway, that had seen nothing but failure for decades.  It wasn’t until the 90’s and the turn of the century that imagination and individuality came back to big league ball parks, now, ironically, frequently cursed with bloodless corporate names.

As I write this, the World Series is set to begin San Francisco and Detroit, two great baseball cities.  Avid fans, young and old, are dreaming like children on Christmas Eve about going to the ballpark to watch their teams play, and, hopefully, win.  On the immaculate fields new heroes will be born and old heroes will inexplicably fail in ways painful and disturbing to watch.  And when the crowd leaves and the lights go out on the emerald brilliance, dreams and memories will linger in the air above the baseball stadium like the ghosts of hopes, teams and players past.  Baseball, more than a pastime; it’s a passion.

photo by nerolives & will jones

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Casual Cyclist ©

Cyclist and storyteller: Bobbi Rankin

cyclistI’m one of the casual cyclist.

I like my 7-speed Specialized with its comfy seat and handy basket.  I look forward to a time in my week when all the signs point to a good cycling day.

It’s one of those mornings and I wake up early, but not too early.  I look out the window and see the morning fog is receding back over the coastal hills and the wind, the wind is . . . clam.   I hear my bike calling to me from the garage.  Do you hear it say,  “Climb on board and let’s go for a ride?  Let the wind blow through you hair and helmet” (yes, my girls make me wear a helmet).   I do, I hear it say, “Let’s go cycling.”

The path I frequent meanders along the local waterways.  It is a popular place for the serious and casual cyclist, the wanderer, joggers and folks walking their dogs.  Fortunately for all of us, the path is well marked to keep us going in the right direction, similar to driving your car.

So off I go, casually cycling along minding my own business and there, right in front of me is a person haphazardly walking their dog while taking on a cell phone. Yikes, I ring my bell and I say, “Heads up” in a voice that is sure to be heard.   Just in time I see the dog being pulled to the side of the sheepishly smiling person.

As I come around the next corner, in the middle of the road is a family gathered around a stroller rearranging the baby’s blankets.  I grab my brakes, stand on my pedals and loudly say . . . “Heads up.”  Much to their surprise they see that I’m heading right for them.  I do stop, just in time, cause if I hit them I’d be in big trouble.  I like to stay out of trouble.

Ok, two close calls and as I look far ahead of me I see no more obstacles in my way.  I’m glad to say the coast was clear.

Finally, I’m cruising along without a worry or thought in my head.  When low and behold, before me comes a gaggle of geese mossing along enjoying their day as they waddle across my path on their way to the water.  Well, no bell ringing or yelling, “Heads up” will change the course of these geese that, by the way, think they own this water rich area where I live.  So, all that is left to do is stop and lets these geese meander on down to the waters edge.  Obviously the geese can’t read the well-marked path!

I come to a bench where I can sit to take in the beauty of the marshland and all the activity of the local water foul.  I relax into the bench while eating my lunch and enjoying the peace and quiet. Then I begin to laugh at myself as I admit, casual cycling means just that, casual and not taking myself so seriously.  As usual I’ve enjoyed my day in this cycling friendly area.

The bottom line is, it’s always a pleasure to be a cyclist and be with good friends, my bike and me.

photo by bobbi rankin

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Sierra Serenade ©

In the Sierra Nevada with Will Jones

sierraIf there is music at the highest elevations of the Sierra Nevada it is the music of near silence.  A recent three day hike in the Eastern Sierras starting at the Pine Creek trailhead, a few miles north of Bishop, reinforced that reality for me once again.

Each summer since 2004, except 2010 when I was recovering from an unexpected “cardiac event,” my friend Frank and I have spent a few days backpacking in the Sierras.  We hike in anywhere from six to fifteen miles, establish a base camp near a peak we hope to climb, attempt to summit the next day, spend another night and then hike out.  The peaks are usually in the 13000’+ range, with suggested routes to the top rather than obvious trails.  Our highest summit was Mt. Agassiz at 13891’ in 2006.

This summer we chose Royce Peak, 13200’, as our goal.  On the first day we hiked about nine miles with an elevation gain of over 4000’.  When we reached Pine Creek Pass at 11100’, we left the trail and hiked overland to Royce Lakes at 11560’.  The hike was demanding, like being on a stair master for seven hours, the difference being the magnificent Sierra vistas that accompanied us: clear flowing water, waterfalls, aromatic pines, serene lakes, majestic granite peaks, the stark almost lunar beauty of the landscape above the tree line.

It is above tree line that the Sierras sing their sweetest silent song.  Camped on a patch of sandy ground next to the lake, only a few intermittent notes call out once we quiet our human activity:  murmur of the lake against the shore; a tailless pika’s excited squeak; the wind rustling the sides of our tents.  As night approaches and stars and constellations appear seemingly just above our heads, it is so quiet I can hear the blood surge through my body with each serene heartbeat.

We had company on this trip.  Throughout our two days by the lake, a lone seagull drifted on the water, preened on a nearby rock, soared above the rippled surface with Merriam and Royce Peaks as a backdrop.  It was like a theme in the music of this journey, one better felt than explained. 

And although it was satisfying to reach the summit of Royce Peak, and glorious to return to the trailhead the next day, it is the music of the Sierras that remains with me when I return to civilization, the ancient silence that yields a quiet heart and a peaceful mind, that keeps me right-sized as I walk through an otherwise noisy life.

photo by will jones

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Retired…and Loving It ©

Will Jones, his story about being retired

retiredI retired in June of 2011 after a long career in public education. Ever since, the first questions anyone asks when they haven’t seen me for a while are “How do you like being retired?” and “What are you doing to keep yourself busy?” Some people, who aren’t retired, ask those questions with a good natured edge to their voice, while others, who are or are about to be retired, genuinely want to know how it’s going.

It seems there is some fear out there among boomers that the transition to retirement will be difficult, tedious, boring…even depressing. That hasn’t been my experience. In fact, it’s been just the opposite. So when people ask those two questions, my first answer is “I love it,” and my second is “How much time do you have?”

First of all, retirement meant a huge reduction in responsibility, a significant weight off my shoulders. I immediately felt lighter in spirit and more energetic. With the elimination of constant “work thoughts,” my creative mind reawakened. I started writing articles for a local magazine, keeping a daily journal, starting an online blog and filling a notebook with poems and other ramblings. I also started playing more music (guitar, harmonica) and picked up the tenor saxophone. I have a wonderful seventy-six-year-old teacher who comes to my house every other Monday for a forty-five minute lesson. A friend and I have played at a few events under the name FreeWill, taken from the first part of his last name (Freeman) and my first name. It suits us perfectly and we continue to practice and expand our song list.

I started a book club called The Short Attention Span Book Club, comprised mostly of male friends. We meet once a month, alternately choosing a book from Column A (Classic) or Column B (Contemporary). We have a 250 page limit, and so far it’s working out beautifully. On my blog I post Short Attention Span Book and Movie Reviews, and friends check in regularly for updates.

My wife and I have been on two very rewarding vacations, one last fall to national parks in the southwest (Grand Canyon, Canyon de Chelly and Mesa Verde), and one in the spring to New York and Boston (Broadway shows, historical sites, meeting our new granddaughter, Fenway Park). Regular hikes on beautiful Central Coast and Big Sur trails, backpacking trips in the Eastern Sierras, and golf (no cart) have helped keep me physically fit, along with other exercise routines. Frequent participation in cultural events keeps me psychically fit.

Finally, regular service activities keep me involved in the welfare of the city I love, San Luis Obispo.

Looking ahead, I don’t see the need to make many changes in my new life. I try never to be in a hurry and there is nothing better than the sound of the alarm clock not ringing, although on most days I’m usually up by six anyway. If year two comes close to rivaling year one, my “attitude of gratitude” will grow even stronger, and retired life will continue to get better. “To boldly go where millions of my fellow boomers are going…”

photo by will jones

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Half Dome Reality ©

Bobbi Rankin at Half Dome

half domeHalf Dome became a reality to me this summer.  That awemanousness  (my new word) of a mountain is indescribable.  Or I could say a mastodon of a mountain.  That giant rock that sits among the clouds 8’000 feet above sea level and 4’000 feet above the Yosemite Valley floor, the distance I climbed.  This hike was on my bucket list and the reality is I can now cross it off.

This was nothing I had ever experienced before.  The training was necessary to make this climb and have the feel of fulfillment and not the anguish of defeat.  I say that because being prepared elevates the anxiety, fear and problems that can occur if you aren’t in shape for this “ mother of all hikes”.  And that’s the reality of this hike.

We started early and got back late.  We had plenty of energy bars and electrolytes to drink.  The energy needed for this hike is the most important ingredient along with physical training.

Nature at its best is how many describe Yosemite.  The wonder and majesty of the granite mountains are breath taking.  The trail to Half Dome is sprinkled throughout with winding tree covered trails, many stairs that are chipped into the granite and beautiful waterfalls.  The Merced River pushes it roaring waters over the cliffs at Vernal and Nevada Falls – such a sight to behold.

When I finally arrived at the base of Sub Dome I’m not sure I’m ready for this untethered climb of over 800 granite cut stairs.   As I have come to realize, not much is said about the Sub Dome.  I now know it is harder to climb than the cables of the Half Dome.  I climb the Sub and get to the base of Half Dome.  I pause to take in the enormity of this next phase of the trip and reflect on how far I have come.   As I look around, I realize that this vast wilderness is there for my pleasure, I respect that and I’m grateful for the experience so far.

What lay ahead is my goal.  Where I’ve come from, is my journey.  Along with me on this journey was Rick, or more fondly referred to as “Mr. Half Dome”. This trip was his 32 in ten years and I felt the privilege of him sharing the stories and folk lore of the trail, the mountain and giving me the grand tour.

The cables were the next adventure waiting for me to grab hold of.  And grab I did climbing almost straight up 800 feet to the top.  I felt the reality of my journey the minute my feet touched the top of the Dome.  At the top, I’d come 4’000 feet to be part of and experience something that was so much bigger than I could have imagined when I had looked up at it from the Valley floor.  There I was eye to eye with the tops of the neighboring mountains taking in that mystical, majestic and spiritual moment.  One I’ll never forget.

In my world this was a reality that was so tangible and mystical that it took my breath away.  In my world this was the hike legends are made of.   In my world I am preparing to do this again next summer.

The reality is…I can.

photo by Mr. Half Dome

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