Tuesday, August 03, 2010


Steve and I took the family to Yosemite this month. It was a family trip we had been planning for a few months. I was excited to take the kids to this National Park. It is just such a beautiful place, but that was not the only reason I was excited to go back...yes back. Steve and I had been there about 5 years ago. During that trip Steve had planned a hike that started from Glacier Point passed by a few beautiful waterfalls and ended at Happy Isles where you could pick up the shuttle to take you back to you campground. It was an 8 mile hike. I was TOTALLY out of shape and was carrying many more pounds on me (think 6 five pound bags of sugar strapped to your body). It took us 10 hours. The last 2 miles probably took us more than 2 hours, much of which had been done on my bum. Yes, I said on my bum. Descending the granite rocks that lead down the trail from Vernal Falls. It was an eye opening experience and one of the things that made me realize I needed to do something about my weight and health if I wanted to be a participant in my life and not just a spectator. Especially since I married to Steve. He is such an outdoor enthusiast, I should be able to accompany him on (some of) his adventures and not be stuck in the car or camp because I am so out of shape. When the hike was over I was glad I had finished it (alive), but also pretty embarrassed and I felt bad for Steve, to be in this beautiful park and he and spent the last few hours unable to appreciate it because he was concerned that I might not be able to get done without assistance from rangers. So once this trip was calendared, I saw this as a great opportunity to "conquer the hike" that had literally kicked my butt. Steve and I toyed with the idea of doing the whole hike beginning at Glacier point with the kids, but then determined that the 8 miles might be a little boring for them. So we opted to hike up from Happy Isles at least to the top of Vernal Falls and then back down (seriously, I think this is way harder than the original hike we did 5 years ago). The trail was nice and shaded in some parts, but it was a climb. You ascend nearly 1000 feet in the 2 miles to the top of the falls. I took it slow and steady as we climbed. My little "billy-goat" kids just bounded up the trail. They would stop every so often and wait for me and Steve to catch up. It was great, the closer you got to the falls, you would get sprayed by the falls. It was so refreshing, just what I needed. But just as I remembered there were more of those granite stairs...that good thing was that they were not as tall as I had remembered them to be.
I made it to the TOP!!! It was hard work, but definitely I was in better shape that I had been 5 years ago and I was proud of my performance getting to the top. We looked over the edge and watched as the falls crashed to the bottom. It was incredible but to be quite honest, I was still celebrating making it to the top and knowing that only half the hike was done...I still had to go down...1000 feet.
I had time to relax though. I took off my shoes and socks and stuck my feet into the Emerald Pools at which time Steve surprised me with a Diet Coke from his backpack. That was the best present he could have given me. I savored every sip of that. Steve and the kiddos went off to see the bottom of Nevada Falls which was about half a mile from Vernal. I stayed there and sat on a rock and had a mini celebration in my head until I saw them approach and I knew the hard part was about to begin.
We started the descent and I won't lie, it was as hard as I thought it would be. I don't have very strong knees. That is one of the reasons I wa-og instead of run. So every stair I stepped down on, I could feel my right knee want to give out, but I did EVERY stair on my feet. My wonderful husband took it slow along with me. He would let me know when I was holding up traffic, so I could pull over and let people pass by me. I just kept thinking, "...slow and steady wins the race..." Thank heavens for those trekking poles they helped me on each stair. Once the stairs were done, the rest was cake...ok, maybe not cake but it was easier. It was a descent, but I have done that during my half marathons, so I treated it like a half and kind of jogged my way down. That made it so easy and before I knew it we were at the shuttle stop waiting to catch a shuttle to take us back to our parked truck.
I know lots of people hiked around Yosemite that day and had been on trails that were harder and longer than what I had done, but for me I had hiked "my" Everest and made it to the top. I proved to myself that I can do ANYTHING I put my mind to. I may not have grown up a jock and in my youth took whatever class I could to get out of PE, but I can be a sporty chick. I can be the woman that Steve deserves to be married to, to share these experiences with. I can be a woman that my girls can look up to. They knew how hard that hike was for, but they watched me persevere, not give up and I met my goal. Best of all I can look at myself in the mirror and know that I am the woman FINALLY on the outside that I knew always existed on the inside.


jo said...

I am so proud of you and all of the personal improvements you have made this past few years. This is a great story maybe you should submit it to one of those fitness Mags. with both sets of pix.

Mikki said...

You are AMAZING!!!! Truly inspirational!