We Begin.. Sort Of
…This whole adventure started sometime early in the Year of My Kidneys, 2011, with a discussion among several family members… Specifically, the ones who regularly do the Half Dome hike at least once a year…
More specifically, the ones who aren’t me (Man of Action)…
Not that I haven’t done the hike before – I have – twice since 2005. Both during the daylight hours (at least in the middle of the hike).
The thing that made this particular chapter of “Hey! Let’s do Half Dome!” particularly attractive (to Man of Action, at least) was the part about “And let’s do it at night by the full moon!”
(One must keep in mind that some of them had done the “full moon” version of the trek before. Man of Action, however, was not among that particular group.)
Always ready to keep up with the younger set (and encouraged by the fact that Donna – a couple of years older than me – had done the hike a total of eight (8) more times than I have), Man of Action eagerly accepted the invitation to, once again, put my life on the line and, this time, do it at night… When nobody could see how stupid I was…
Jump ahead, now, several months… (Begin “jumping ahead” transitional music…)
It has now been several months since the house burned down, taking with it
- 9 guitars
- 3 amplifiers
- gobs of recording equipment
- 1 grand piano
- Tons of other stuff including
- 2 bicycles
- 1 home gym
- 1 elliptical trainer
- 1 pair of hiking boots (downhill persuasion)
- various weights and other exercise equipment
- Loads of camping equipment
And making unavailable
- All of our hiking gear
Plus the fact that we were extremely heavily involved with
- county building permit departments
- tax assessors
- suicide counselors
And keeping in mind that, for the previous trips, Man of Action
- worked up to it way ahead of time – like for 18 months ahead of time…
Add all that together and you come up with a grand total of approximately zero (0) time to train and get ready for the beast…
So, what does Man of Action do to prepare?
6 weeks prior to the big day he decides it might be a good idea to drop a few pounds.
So He did. About 20 of them.
And how did I do it?
Diet. Exercise. Stupidity…
Sadly, emphasis heavily on “Diet and Stupidity” and not enough on “Exercise”.
But Man of Action drank a lot of water – that has to mean something, doesn’t it?
Insert another jump in time here… About 6 weeks worth of the stuff…
July 14, in the Year of My Kidneys, 2011… 11:59 PM… 31 minutes before we embark on the great adventure…
The group, Donna, Shawn, Megan, Brian, Lauren, Nicole and MOA, gather outside the camp site, on the road to Happy Isles – the trail head.
It’s dark, except for the light of the full moon, sort of… Sort of, because it’s also cloudy.
We think we’re ready to go, but we’re not. That’s because Brian informs the group that Lauren may not be able to go because her bladder is leaking..
This raises a concern because there aren’t a lot of restrooms on the 8.5 mile climb to the top of Half Dome.
Happily, though, Lauren makes it clear that Brian is referring to her ‘water’ bladder and not to any physiological parts.
There is still some concern, however, because before joining the group, Brian and Lauren have discussed the matter, and Brian has – somewhat emphatically – stated his belief that nobody in his right mind carries an extra bladder.
“I have an extra bladder, if you want to use it,” says Man of Action.
Brian displays a face covered with egg and not a small amount of shock. Lauren, on the other hand, has the face of an angel that says “Without using my hands, I thumb my nose at you, Brian,” and then continues verbally, “I like your hat, Bill. And I would be happy to use your extra bladder”.
To which MOA gallantly responds, “I have cleaned and disinfected it, so you need not worry about becoming 60 years old before the end of the hike.”
Another 20 minutes to locate, fill and insert it into her backpack, and we were ready to embark…
And so we did…