2 Hikes with 2 Buckeyes
by John P. DeGrazio
We were all standing on top of Clouds Rest, and Bob leaned over to me to ask “How many miles is it again?” My answer was 17. Of course, we still had about 7 1/2 half miles remaining on our day’s hike down from the summit of Clouds Rest, but he was already looking ahead to Thursday’s hike of Half Dome.
I often get asked “What is your favorite hike in Yosemite?” My answer is always that it’s too hard to just pick one. When pressed further, I list a few trails including Half Dome and Clouds Rest. Since the Half Dome permit system has been in place, many explorers have been forced to make a choice. When Yosemite visitors can’t secure a permit to hike Half Dome, we offer several excellent alternative, and the Clouds Rest hike is always at the top of our list.
On this trip, Bob and Brian were visiting from New Albany, Ohio and wanted to maximize their Yosemite adventure potential. They ambitiously chose both the Clouds Rest and Half Dome hikes and were a bit concerned about having the stamina to do both. We were happy to schedule each hike sandwiched around a much needed rest day in September 2011. The Clouds Rest trek was an excellent challenge with an incredible reward. At nearly 10,000 feet above sea level, 9,926 to be exact, we had an expansive view of almost the entire Yosemite National Park. As an added bonus, we peered down at the summit of Half Dome from our perch.
Thursday came, and we were poised to complete the Yosemite double. We made our way up the Mist Trail, around the backside of Half Dome and over the Sub Dome. All that was between us and our stated goal was the cables. After successfully navigating this final obstacle, we found ourselves celebrating at 8,842 feet above sea level.
Bob and Brian were big football fans, and when they reached the Half Dome visor, they decided to show their support for their favorite team, The Ohio State Buckeyes. As the NCAA prepares for the first ever 4 team playoffs, The Ohio State university has been knocking on the door to the playoff equation. As my Alma Mater, Rutgers University, has recently joined the Big Ten, I am reminded of the importance of football in Big Ten country. On our way down from the summit of Half Dome, Bob admitted to me that after 2 days of extreme hiking, he was very tired. When I asked him if he ever doubted making the Half Dome summit, he answered that he was making it all the way so he could submit this photo to his alumni association.
Goal setting is critical when trying to accomplish anything worthwhile, and it’s always a good idea to set them on a summit hike to supply extra motivation when it’s needed most. Many people succeed on these endurance adventure treks because they set goals to deal with the mental aspect of such a long day. It’s very important to begin a trip like this with that type of mental preparation. This was one of Bob’s proudest moments, and it was a success story on so many levels. It was also another example how sports can bring families together. Bob and Brian thoroughly enjoyed their days in Yosemite and have some of their favorite photos of this journey together to reflect on their achievement. If you are ever fortunate enough to make one or both of these hikes, be sure to prepare both physically and mentally. Also be sure to set goals that will help guide you through each new challenge.
YExplore Lead Adventure Guide John P. DeGrazio has reached the summit of Half Dome more than 100 times. In this series, he will share stories from some of the most interesting journeys along the trail of Yosemite’s most popular peak. He will reflect on some of the most inspirational moments he has shared with hundreds of others while achieving their lifelong dreams. John will also share tips on how to properly prepare for such a long, arduous trek while providing insights on how to successfully complete this quest. He’ll also discuss changes to this hike he has witnessed throughout the years as well as many interesting encounters along the way.