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Sunday, October 05, 2008

Roadtrip 2008: Half-Dome, Yosemite National

The view from the edge of the world. 

This is the descent from Half-Dome. After we came back down, we spent the night in what looked like the most pleasant forest in California, at the base of the mountain. In another ill-advised act of man versus nature foolishness I thought I would sleep under the stars without a tent. Just me and a sleeping bag. What I hadn't counted on is that the Beijing olympics for bears being held in that forest that week. There were perhaps 25 campsites in the forest, each in its own cozy little pad of forest. As soon as the stars came out, the bears took off their warm-ups, put on their headbands and ran laps through the forest. Every few minutes we would here a nearby campsite cry "Bear! Bear! Hey Hey, There's a bear!! He's right there!!" And headlamps would flash on and pots would bang, people would trip over one another and curse in the night.

The bears would then run from campsite to campsite to repeat the scene again and again. They spread chaos and terror the whole night long. I kept imagining a bear stumbling over me by accident, getting caught up in my bag and then shredding everything in a 20 foot radius in a blind panic. 
I didn't fall asleep once. 

One of the huns did in fact come lumbering into our campsite at around 3am. I heard it approach (after the screams from the site next to ours died away) I lept up and shown my light in the direction of the footfalls, expecting that this was it, I was about to die. The bear would freak out, seeing stars and eagles and bacon, and in a frenzy, pummel me and my pointless sleeping bag into the earth.
Instead, the halogen light catching him off guard, he looked shocked and horrified, as though he had been caught doing something particularly wicked and embarrassing and he immediately shuffled away sideways, averting his eyes.
I could hear his trail of destruction as he made his way through the rest of the campsites away from ours.  

In spite of sleepless nights, climbing Half-Dome was one of the most rewarding hikes I have ever been on.

1 comment:

  1. Those are fantastic pics, Justin. I was at Yosemite with my fam a couple of years ago and was unable to do the Half-Dome portion. Plan to go back and pick it up. It's an absolutely stunning place.

    Hope all is well.