I am writing this with sore shoulders and aching quads, but we did it! We all made it up Half Dome! And let me tell you, this hike was no joke! It took us 12 hours to hike the 20 miles from our campsite in North Pines to the Mist Trail trailhead to Half Dome and back down the John Muir Trail and we were all exhausted when we finished. Our day started at 1 AM with a visit from the park ranger. Naomi had accidentally left a few almonds in her day pack outside of the bear box and a sneaky raccoon had been trying to pilfer them. Thankfully we did not get a citation since the rest of our camp was squeaky clean and they just told us to remind Naomi to lock up ALL food. Lesson learned. We went back to sleep for a few hours before our 4:30AM alarm and left to hike to the trailhead by 5:30.The Mist Trail is gorgeous with amazing views of both Vernal and Nevada Falls. And the climbing starts right away. Before we knew it, we were at Little Yosemite Valley, about 3.5 miles from Half Dome, where we stopped for an extended snack break before powering on. The trail was scenic and helped pass the miles quickly. We could glimpse Half Dome getting closer through the trees. It was really cool to be able to start making out hikers in the distance moving up the anticipated cables. Both the subdome and Half Dome are an impressive site as you get close and the views of the valley were amazing. Our excitement had really built up by the time we reached the cables and it was time to climb. We all put on the gloves we had carried up and started up before fear could change our minds. This was BY FAR the scariest hike I’ve ever walked and I had to seriously hoist myself up the dome gripping the cables the whole way. Not only was it a physical challenge, it was a mental one as well and I was just plain scared the whole way. I went first followed by the kids, with Dave behind us. I honestly may have chickened out if I wouldn’t have had to pass all of my family on the way down, but we all made it to the top. I actually had to lay down for a bit I was so adrenaline weary. Everyone else just thought it was fun. Once I had settled down, we explored the top for about an hour and let ourselves rest up for the travel down. The views were absolutely amazing.And then it was time to go back down. I had been really dreading it, but going down was WAY easier and less scary than going up. The order was opposite this time with Dave leading the way and me taking the rear. I just took it one step at a time and slowly made my way down. Once again, Dave and the kids were way more relaxed than I was. I was so relieved when my feet touched the ground. We still had about 10 miles of hiking to go, but we were so excited to have summited that even though we were tired, the miles passed quickly. We returned via the John Muir trail which was gorgeous and we loved seeing another view of Nevada Falls. But we were happy to be done when we got back to our campsite. We took a welcome dip in the river to clean off before devouring dinner and collapsing into bed.Waking up this morning, I am SO glad we did it, but SO glad to be done. Looking forward to a relaxing, low key day. Happy travels!
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