We rose with the sun on Day 5, because we had a 5 mile hike to the next campsite followed by an 8 mile round trip to the top of Half Dome.
Thankfully, I got a good night's sleep because the boys withheld some information from me. Apparently they found bear scat and fresh bear tracks ALL OVER the area around our camp. They didn't tell me this until the next morning, and ignorance truly is bliss. Otherwise, I can guarantee I would have woken up everytime I heard a sound and convinced myself it was a bear that was coming to eat me and I'm going to die.
The 5 mile hike to Little Yosemite was a nice little trek over some rocks and then through the woods.
We had to step aside for some mules.
Once we reached camp, we took a little rest, dropped our packs so we only had to carry water, and began to conquer the mountain.
About a quarter of the way into the climb, Andy points out where we're going:
The Welcoming Committee put up a sign:
It's not lying. Someone died on Half Dome in June.
More than 60 people have died attempting to reach the top.
Now, this was no easy climb. About 4 miles up and 3000 feet elevation gain, but luckily, my body seemed to be holding up physically. I fairly easily made it to the cables, which is where the real battle began. The mental battle.
A photo from the top of the cables, to give you some perspective on how steep this part is.
Basically, you hold on to the cables and pull yourself up the 60 degree incline. A pile of gloves lays at the start of the cables so the wire cables don't tear up your hands. I put on the gloves, without a second thought and latched onto the cables. I took about 2 steps.
I felt the sensation of my body falling backwards, the only thing preventing me from falling to my death were my hands gripping the cables. Around this time, a mixed tape of my voice began repeating in my head "YOU ARE GOING TO DIE. THIS IS IT. YOU'RE DEAD. YOU'RE FALLING. YOU'RE GOING TO DIE NOW. HOPE YOU ENJOYED YOUR LIFE BECAUSE NOW YOU'RE GOING TO DIE. DEATH. DEATH. DEATH. DIE. DIE. DIE."
That is when I turned around, curled into the fetal position, began crying and scooted my butt down to the start of the cables.
You win, mountain.
I don't regret my decision in the least and I was happy I was able to physically best the mountain. The boys made it up the cables and I happily watched from below. Well, semi-happily and semi-nervously as I watched for a body to plummet over the edge. Andy snapped photos above.
When they came back down, Dave appeared a bit shaken, and insisted that we "Get the *&#% off of this rock." I couldn't agree more.
As it turns out, the mountain beat 2 people that day, because as we were making our descent, this popped over our heads:
And then landed on Half Dome to rescue a freaked out hiker.
So, to end the day on a positive note, at least I didn't have to be rescued by a helicopter.