Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Challenge to Self

This weekend I am going to Yosemite National Park with a friend from graduate school. I am beyond delighted to see her, and to experience the beauty of one of our national parks. I can barely wait (though you wouldn't know because I haven't had much time to think about packing, getting ready, etc -- although I did order a fold up hiking stick).

My friend lives in California and has been to the park quite a bit. She knows the ins and outs -- she found us a tent cabin to stay in, knows which hikes are good, and so on. I am grateful to utilize her knowledge to help us plan our stay.

She suggested that we do the Upper Yosemite Falls hike. I am very excited about this, but also scared. The coin is always two-sided, right? It sure does seem that way.

Reasons for excitement: obvious. I'm in Yosemite, which is beautiful. I'm with my friend, who I love and don't get to see often. The views from the top of the trail are supposed to be particularly stunning -- as good as Half Dome, but easier to reach.

But I'm also nervous. The hike is 7.8 miles (which is in and of itself is a little challenging but not too bad), and the terrain is steep and rocky. My friend was a varsity collegiate track athlete for a Big 10 school. While I'm in reasonable shape, I am still overweight and carrying the extra pounds will be tough; my friend is literally half my size. I drink a lot and don't want to carry a bunch of heavy water up a mountain. I hate slipping and I have read that the gravel on the trail makes it kind of easy to fall. There's a reasonable chance of rain, making things slipperier and generally more unpleasant. So there are definitely plenty of things to be scared of or nervous about.

I expressed my concern to my friend -- mainly that I would be slower than she was, but that I was in good shape and thought I could make it if she was willing to be patient with me. I told her either way was fine. She responded
Let's give it a shot! We can take it nice and easy and if we don't make it all the way, it's okay. The important part is that we're together enjoying Yosemite this weekend!
First of all, what a great friend! Second of all, she's right.

After all, when will I be in Yosemite again? When will I get this chance to try this hike again? Life is moving on so let's just harness the proverbial bull by the horns and go for it! I will not let life pass me by just because I'm not at my ideal weight or afraid of heights. I will try this daunting task and probably make it to the top, even though it will be hard. If I don't give it a shot, I will regret it. And if I fail miserably? I won't wonder "what if"...and I'll probably have a good story to tell.

So here goes nothing -- Upper Yosemite Falls here I come! I can't wait to share with you how this goes!


  1. How exciting! I've never been to Yosemite so hope you will post pictures of the trail. My philosophy toward hiking with a friend who might be a little nervous is that I want to do everything possible to make it a pleasant experience for them. I want them to love the trails as much as I do. That includes hiking at THEIR pace, not mine. Sounds like your friend shares a similar mindset. Don't be nervous - enjoy this trip for all its worth!!

  2. Slipping. Also a concern for me. So you hike and Tim swims in the Gulf. I'll be praying for fun and safety for you both. Fun for me to identify when I'm praying for each. You go, Gurl!


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