Continued from Part 6

Or click here to go back to the beginning…

July 13, 2017

Tomorrow, July 14, 2017, is the sixth anniversary of the beginning of my final trip up Half Dome.

Today, July 13th, 2017 is the sixth anniversary of the day before my final trip up Half Dome. It was more comfortable. In fact, here’s a picture of six years ago today:

Mirror Lake, July 13, 2011. Left to Right: Shawn, Man Of Action, Billy. And that’s the base of Half Dome in the background on the right.

Picking up where we left off…

…Then we all took off back to camp. After a few miles, I, as is typical for me, fell a bit behind. Fortunately Shawn stayed with me. I say fortunately because I would still be up there somewhere if he hadn’t.

Seriously…

Shawn and I  were moving along reasonably well for an hour or so before we started the real down-hill part of the slog. It was getting hot and I was going through a lot of water – or rather, a lot of water was going through me. From inside my body, out through my skin, through my clothes and back out into nature. Some serious perspiration going on there. The more I sweat, the more I drank and the more I drank, the more I sweat. It became a vicious cycle of drink and sweat, drink and sweat, drink and sweat. I was sweating so much that I didn’t think I would have to urinate for a month. (As it turned out, that was about a week short of the actual time. Not a bad guess on my part, don’t you think?)

  • It’s time to interrupt my story and provide a conversion table, of sorts. In this case, we will be utilizing actual scientific and mathematical calculations to convert ‘Whiles’ to ‘Miles’. For example if I was to say, “I had made sure to cut my toenails before the trip in hopes of them not ramming into the forward facing end of my boots, and that seemed to help…for a ‘while‘”, you would have no idea how far I had progressed during that ‘while‘. 

 

  • Additionally, even if I made it clear that I had progressed ‘x’ number of miles during that ‘while’, you would have no idea how much actual time had passed while accomplishing that feat (or ‘feet’, as you will see later), so it becomes necessary to provide a second table – that table being a conversion of ‘Miles’ to ‘Hours’

Before we begin, it is necessary that I provide accurate data regarding the distance, altitude gain, total altitude and the typical time required for the completion of the trip. Now, I realize that this information is readily available through an internet search, and I know that such sources are “touted” as always being “accurate”, but I have decided that the most reliable source for this information is actually the front of the shirt that I got after my first trip up the rock in 2005 (one of the ones that didn’t nearly kill me the most.).

Don’t get me wrong – I trust some of the information found on the internet. I really do. But I have known this shirt for twelve years and it has never once failed to provide me with good data.  Sadly, the same cannot be said for the World Wide Web…

I have complete faith in my shirt.

 

Pay no attention to the apparent Hobbit seen at the bottom of this photograph.

As you can see, the total miles in the round trip is 17 miles from the trail head. To this could be added the distance to and from the camp site – figure about 2 miles. This would give us a total of about 19 miles, give or take a few centimeters if we were going to use those figures. But we’re not, so 17 miles it is. 

Now, on with the calculations:

Total distance:  17 miles / Total time:  20 hours  =  .85 MPH average

1 ‘While’ converts to 2 hours or 1.7 miles, based on the average speed of the legs attached to the lower half of my body. 

*However: The rate of speed achieved during the uphill portion of the hike was substantially less than the rate of speed achieved during the return trip. 

*This is completely counter-intuitive, I know. Things normally go faster downhill than they go uphill. But I am not a normal thing…

It took approximately 8 hours going up. We were on top for about 45 minutes, so subtract that from the total time. That leaves about 11 hours and 15 minutes for me to get back down.

Return distance: 8.5 miles/ Return trip: 11.25 hours = .75555555555555 MPH average

1 ‘While’ converts to 2 hours or 1.51111111111111 miles, based on the average speed of my descent. 

Back to the story…

In the first couple of hours, my legs started to cramp up a bit – not charley-horse bad, but enough to slow me down a some. But I was still limber enough to keep moving somewhat steadily.

And this is where I really started missing my “downhill boots”

I had made sure to cut my toenails before the trip in hopes of them not ramming into the forward facing end of the boots on the way down, and that seemed to help…for a while. But a ‘while’ is not enough to get me back down to the flat land on the valley floor. In fact, in this case, a ‘while’ converted into ‘miles’ becomes about 1.51111111111111 miles over a period of 2 hours – not that far when you consider we needed to go 8.5 miles. 

But I digress (again). 

Now, where was I? Oh yes – my toes. There is not a lot that is more irritating than to take a step and have the toes on that foot slam into the front of the boot you are wearing. It’s OK on a temporary basis, I guess, but after a while it really starts to hurt.

Imagine the nail of your big toe being slowly lifted and separated from the flesh with every step you take. Then imagine the same thing on the other foot with every other step you take. That’s about what it feels like.

And that’s what was happening with my feet with each step. And that was after only 1.51111111111111 miles of the downhill return out of the way. 

Oh! Look at the time! I have to get to bed.  Grand Hike Finally on the 15th… 

Click here to get to part 8…

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Well, my cousin did this thing about what she would have looked like 100 years ago. Basically, you go to a website and log in using your Facebook account. The site then takes a look at your profile picture, analyzes and rewinds your appearance back to what it thinks you would have looked like 100 years ago and displays the you that would have been.
 
Apparently, I was quite handsome, well loved, fashionable and would have had less hair back then. Also, I brought all of these qualities with me when I kicked the bucket and started my new life.
 
And It’s amazing that I reincarnated as Half Dome.
me reincarnated

Many people have a “Bucket List” – a list of things they want to do or accomplish before they die. I see absolutely nothing wrong with that – there are things I want to get done before I go, too. First and foremost, I want to live to be 100 years old.

I have a different perspective. There are certain things I do NOT want to do before I die, and I have a good reason (in my opinion) for for not wanting to do them. The fact is that I don’t want to do them precisely because they might actually kill me.

Let me explain my thought process, here…

Let’s say that there are Four things that I would like to do:

  1. Be swallowed whole by a whale, excavate my way through the entire length of his body using only a tooth brush, when I get to the very tip of his tail, make a small incision (excision?), let myself out, swim to the surface and back to shore – all on one breath. 
  2. Stow away in the wheel well of the Space shuttle just before the final lift off, wearing only my socks and a parachute and carrying only a screw driver, a harmonica and a roll of duct tape, wait until half way through the 27th orbit around the Earth, use the screw driver to open the wheel well, drop out and sky dive back to Earth playing “She’ll Be Comin’ ‘Round The Mountain When She Comes” – all on one breath.
  3. Hike up Half Dome 11 times. All on one breath.
  4. Survive long enough to get all three done.

Here’s the rub… If I attempt any of these things I could die in the process. If I die in the process of accomplishing any of these things, I would be prevented from accomplishing the other three things on the list. Hence, I would fail to accomplish at least two of my goals. 

I know what you’re thinking, here: “Well, what if you don’t actually die until you attempt thing #3? You would still have met two of your goals.” 

An almost valid point you have there. The problem is that goal #4 would not have been met. That fact alone makes your point almost valid, but not completely valid. Aside from that, “Seriously?”. 

There are many things I don’t want to do in my life (for the reason listed a couple of paragraphs north of here). In fact, I add to my list daily, and it won’t be very long before that list is infinitely long.  

The problem is that I only have so much time to not do each of these things, and if my primary goal of living to be 100 years old is met, I only have another 39 years to squeeze in all of that non-accomplishment. 

And that’s only half of my dilemma!

Here’s the other half…

If I put too much emphasis on  not doing the things that I don’t want to do, I won’t have time to do the things I DO want to do!

I have come to the point in my life where, if I am ever not going to do some of this stuff, I had better hurry up and not do it now, before it’s too late and it’s done before I know it. 

As an illustration of the types of things that I am currently working my butt off not to do, I am including this video presentation.

* Disclaimer: While there are some things in here that I might possibly try, anything that involves snow, water, sky, cliffs, bicycles, speeding cars, rails of any sort; or anything that would take my feet off the ground, turn me upside down, inside out or does not involve a basketball hoop is out of the question. So don’t ask.

July 23, 2011

The sixty year old man was semi-sitting up on the gurney in the emergency room, after the forty-five mile ambulance ride from the small mountain town of Oakhurst, just seven miles north of his home in Coarsegold. Oh, he didn’t look sixty, true enough, but right then he was feeling it. He didn’t look sick, either, but right then he was feeling that, too. And, in fact, he was sick… really sick…

He had just successfully completed a solid week of vomiting, dry heaves, sleeplessness and generally feeling worse every half hour of life that he had managed to crawl through. It didn’t help that he had not been able to urinate, have a bowel movement or even fart the entire week – he was feeling somewhat full on the inside, even though  the only thing he could keep down the last four days was hot chocolate. And, of course, there was the constant taste of ammonia in his mouth.. “Where the heck did that come from?”, he thought to himself. 

The x-rays taken in the urgent care facility he had walked into a few hours earlier – for the second time that week – showed massive build up of gases in his abdominal cavity. But the thing that bought him a ride in an ambulance and entrance into the emergency room was the lab report. It was really ugly, and the doctor didn’t even make an attempt to put lipstick on it.

“I’m completely baffled by your lab results – they don’t match what I’m getting from you.”

“What do you mean,” asked the patient, thinking that the doctor thought he might be lying about how he feels.

“Well, I’m looking at you and I see a man who, while he may be feeling under the weather, looks otherwise perfectly healthy and fit.” He continued, “But the lab results show me a man in complete renal failure and ready to have his heart explode at any minute.”

This, naturally, piqued the patient’s curiosity beyond the point where he could shut up.

“You mean I’m dead?”

“No, but I don’t know why not, and you are well on your way.” Then, in an effort to temper the effect of his last statement,  he informed the patient that he was being sent to the hospital. Right now. In an ambulance… 

The admitting nurse, a large man of about forty with vastly thinning hair, was sitting at a computer typing in information from the forms so nicely provided by Todd, the attending paramedic. He interrupted his flying fingers in an effort to become social for a minute.

“Says here that the patient is sixty years old. You don’t look sixty years old and I want to make sure I have the right guy.”

“OK.”

“So how old are you?”

“Sixty”.

“You sure?”

“Pretty sure. “

The nurse gave him a look that said ‘Alright, I’ll use ‘sixty’ for now,’ and entered the ‘information’ saying “OK, sixty years old”.

Thank you for your confidence.”

So why are you in my emergency room?”

“I would like to be sixty-one some day.”

This, actually, caused the nurse to smile, though the smile was followed by another inquiry into how the man came to be applying for residence in his hospital..

“It’s a really long story”.

“Can you give me the cliff notes version?”

“I took a hike up Half Dome and now I’m here.”

“Maybe fill in a few more details for me?”

The man agreed and launched into his tale of adventure, intrigue and cutting off his toes…

The important parts of the Lab Report

labresults

The Hi-lighted parts are the parts that would normally have made Man of Action dead.

_______________________________________________________________________________

Click here to read the story of how I got here in the first place…

Click here to proceed to the next part of the hospital stay…