You cannot talk about backpacking without invoking the idea of adventure. When I first heard people talking about backpacking, it was instant envy. The exploration, the endurance, the simplicity of the whole thing called out to me. I find that same envy in some people when I tell them about backpacking trips I’ve since taken. From others, I see their noses turn up. They can’t imagine why someone would want to do that.
I had been backpacking on multi-day trips in West Tennessee. I had a good foundation for how to prepare. I was not going to kill Allyson and myself on this trip. But, I had never backpacked on a trail that climbed over 4,000 vertical feet. I had never backpacked in woods with bears and mountain lions. I had never backpacked in a place that afforded the views you got over and over at Yosemite. In some ways, these facts would make this trip truly extraordinary. At other times, though, it proved to be stressful.
The first day of our backpacking trip, reality set in. We pushed a little harder than we needed to. When you push yourself too hard on a trip like this, it often isn’t realized except in hindsight. Hindsight is a bad place to make these realizations. The key to these realizations is often that you’re too exhausted to move or a little overwhelmed. Those are not a good combination when you’re sleeping alone in the middle of the wilderness on the side of a giant sloping mountain ridge.
For most of the first day, we were just blown away by all we were seeing. Our mistakes didn’t make themselves known until the very end. This is sometimes the way of all life. You don’t realize some of your own emotions until you slow down. Then, the discovery of those hidden emotions are enough to make you forget the ones that were just there. This was a crazy cycle on the first day of the backpacking trip. There was fear of Yosemite, at the end of the day. But, the awe of Yosemite would not be made to stay down. It would return.
Here is part 2 of the video of our Yosemite/Lake Tahoe trip
Next, in part 3, we slow down a bit, defy death on the edge of cliffs, and swim in a cold, cold creek.