Only a title like this could have motivated me to keep going, although I didn’t really think of it at the time. It was more like a theme of “are we there yet” that played out in my mind. But what was awaiting me was a stairway to heaven, but also a great reward that would eventually show itself after one of these “false summits.”
How many times had I pushed myself this year? Pushing beyond limitations, beyond beliefs, and beyond what I thought capable. Whether it was in the physical form or mentally, each time required overcoming the inner resistance that urged me to quit. To give in and just call it a day. Something kept me going this year, something was different from prior times. I found a new willpower and it was thriving. A new desire that wasn’t clouded by pain, to not give up and to propel myself forward and keep going. Physically I was able to do so on most occasions. I knew it had to be a mental thing and steadily I pushed on. In the process of it, I leaned a thing or two about myself, and with it came the reminder that takes me back to old values that still hold truth. I’m talking about the belief that everything worthwhile requires hard work and this was a constant, something that wasn’t outdated. It rang true and required a dedication and commitment that often drives us to the brink of our limits. My stairway to heaven was going to take my precious lessons to the next level, perhaps beyond my preconceived self, my own set limits, and I would have to work for it because the reward would not come easy.
The first night camping was a night of adjusting to sleeping on the ground. In other words it was not the most comfortable night I ever had. It was a night filled with tossing and turning and daylight could not come quick enough so I could get up. I felt mummified in anticipation for a cold night that had me in too much clothing. In the end I was too warm which disrupted my sleep, yet I was unable to remedy the situation. You know the feeling of waking because you are too warm, but you are not that awake, or conscious enough to do something about it. The same applies if you’re too cold and that’s what kind of night it was. Uggghhh.
Daylight came eventually and would give way to the uncomfortable, sleep deprived night. After stretching the old sore bones and a modest campsite breakfast, we jumped into the Jeep and off to Yosemite we were. There was a previous conversation about doing a hike up to Cathedral Lakes. It was a new hike for me and also one that was a bit daunting. We had agreed that if we did attempt it, it would be on a day when there was no chance of thunderstorms. Much of the hike would go over exposed, smooth granite, which is not the greatest place to be when lightening strikes or the surface gets wet. With puffy white clouds in the sky and a chance for thunderstorms, I didn’t think that today was going to be “that day” but on a last moments decision, it was. It was probably a good thing since it left little time to stress myself out about the difficulty of the hike.
Off we were, along the way, passing the massive granite dome you can find here. We took a different route and a non existing trail that is as good as not travelled at all. It took us away from the crowds and the congestion this area often sees. It was a shorter route that also packed the elevation change into a much shorter distance, having me climb 73 floors mostly all in 1.5- 2.0 miles, at high elevation. The breathing and air into the lungs was a different challenge all together. It as so steep at times that I feared slipping on the smooth granite, only to face my nightmare and fear of falling to death. Leaning my upper body forward to compensate for the intense ascend, I could only hope for my shoes to have a good grip and prevent this fear from happening. “Why did I decided to bring the old shoes that nearly had no thread left on the bottom?” Brilliant decision making at it’s finest. Especially for someone that still doesn’t trust their footing a 100% and never knows when the RA decides to strike, leaving you uncoordinated and more vulnerable. By the way, that’s the rational common sense side of me talking right now, but the rebel and warrior inside of me just went for it that day. There wasn’t too much inner dialogue going on at the time and the warrior emerged in an effort to push myself to new heights and experiences. I was still going to be careful and not reckless after all.
To be continued….