Every year we go to Mammoth Lakes to meet with our mountain biking friends for a long weekend of fun. This year my husband and I decided to take a couple extra days off and make it a mini-vacation.
My first two days weren’t so great. I wasn’t feeling good. On Saturday I could barely do anything. What a waste of a day. Sunday I was feeling a little better and I dragged myself out to do a short hike to Parker Lake. I was happy to be out and about in such a beautiful place!
On Monday, we left for Yosemite. Luckily, I was feeling pretty good by Monday because we had big plans! We were going to climb Lembert Dome.
It was at altitude, but lesser. The trail was one of those that takes you away from the target and wraps around the back and then up to the dome. It’s always strange when hiking and you know you are going in the opposite direction or past the target you are aiming for to get there. But that’s the way it is sometimes. You can’t just draw a straight line there. You have to go around other geological features to get there. (You can’t get there from here).
That’s how the route was to the dome. But after much circling and climbing we made it to the side of the dome. Then a strange thing happened. I got scared.
I’m not afraid of heights and I’ve enjoyed a lot of scrambling rocks and small ‘faces’. But as we started climbing up the steep rock to the top of the dome I suddenly found myself really fearful.
I saw other people crawling up the side like were were and knew it was ok. But for some reason I couldn’t make myself go up more. What was that about?? I knew I would eventually go up. But I had to find a way to manage the fear or else I wouldn’t go anywhere.
So I told my husband what was going on and I think he was surprised as I was. So of course he tries to talk me up. It wasn’t working. I told him “let me take a breather for a second.”
I turned around and sat on a tiny ledge and looked down. I could see how the face sloped. It looked totally do-able. I looked up the face and it did look like it sloped to. But I swear, when I was climbing it, I felt like there was no slope and I would slide down with every step. How weird.
I sat and reflected for a few moments. I knew logically things were fine. I knew I would climb to the top because not doing so, would solidify the fear more. Besides, that would really tick me off to not go to the top. Would I be afraid the next time I wanted to hike to the top of something and the slope got steep. Nope. Not letting that happen. Besides, it’s probably just because it has been too long since I’ve done a hike like this.
So I pushed my logic in front of the illogic fear and started up the slope again. My confidence grew with each step as memory dawned on my body and it said, “Oh yeah, I remember this. This is how we do it.” And soon we were on the top enjoying incredible views!
Hiking down of course took half the time and it was time to head to Curry Camp and check into our tent cabin.
Ok, I don’t like camping. I used to. But now sleeping in the dirt and cooking raman noodles over a tiny one burner camp stove is less appealing than having a root canal. Seriously. My poor husband. He loves camping. So we compromised by renting a tent cabin with showers and above ground ‘plumbed’ toilets near by. Also, there were several restaurants and a market right on site. I’m sure my husband hated it.
But it was right in the Yosemite Valley and within hiking distance to a million cool places. And we had planned an awesome 12 mile trail run for the next morning.