There is something about the edge of a cliff that is mood altering. It suddenly makes you very aware of a different reality. For some, this may bring fear to the forefront. Others may dive into the spiritual. Some are drawn to the edge, some shrink away. Curiosity is likely to erupt in some way, and it will usually prompt some inner curiosity as well.
It had been a rough night of sleep for Allyson and I, and we were worn out from pushing too hard on a steep section of the Pohono Trail. We began the day with fairly low spirits. But, when we stepped out for our first view of the Yosemite Valley, we were reminded of how high we were. Fantastic views coupled with flatter terrain and more frequent breaks made out second day of backpacking more enjoyable. It was a lesson that adventure can be pure fascination for a time. We scaled rocks, laid on the edge of cliffs, and sat trying unsuccessfully to get our minds around all that we were seeing.
There, miles across the 4,000 something foot valley was the face of El Capitan, slightly different at every overlook. There were the Cathedral Peaks. There was Bridalveil Falls–we would play the creek that fed it later that day. We posed and snaped pictures on the edge of cliffs. We asked the other over and over if they could believe it, and the answers didn’t change any more than the questions. We were not very articulate, and that was probably as telling an answer as anything, poetry or prose, that we could come up with to describe our views. You know what it means when someone just pauses and repeats the same sigh or “wow,” again and again. It transcends our poor ability to comprehend.
At the end of the day, Allyson and I swam in a cold mountain stream. These are stuff of stories that you come home and make your friends envious over. A fresh, cold stream of water that miles farther north will plunge over this high ridge into the valley to join up with Merced. We washed ourselves, relieved our aching muscles, filtered the water we would drink for the rest of the hike. This was living. Wild, exciting life.
Here’s part 3 of the trip movie
Next, in part 4, we’ll recount our epic descent back into the valley and the lengths we went to to sleep in a bed.