Adventure may hurt but monotony will kill you. ~Author Unknown
The other day someone asked me why I was hiking Half Dome again. For some, hiking Half Dome is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity; for others, there is no desire to take on this feat. After my first Half Dome climb last year, I knew I wanted to do it one more time.
Several years ago, a friend made the statement “I never volunteer for something more than twice.” Her reasoning made sense to me: the first time is the opportunity to learn the role, the second time is to take what you learned the last time, so you’re prepared when you step up to do it again, but going beyond the second year, it becomes monotonous.
I’ve remembered her words over the years and always keep them in the back of my mind; that first time seems to be about the learning: the trials, and errors, and getting through the experience. Sometimes I feel like I am focused on the completion, making it more challenging to be in the moment. Sometimes that experience is just so great, I want to do it all over again. Half Dome was the kind of experience I knew I wanted to do just one more time.
I loved last year’s trip. My husband and I had hiked Vernal Falls pre-marriage, pre-kids, but we never made it to Half Dome. Last year when my friend and I landed eight Half Dome hiking permits, I was excited to fulfill a dream I had been thinking about for years.
Our trip was an amazing experience with a great group of friends. Despite smoke from the local fires, we had perfect weather. Hitting the trail at 5:30 am under a full moon, the views of the granite and the powerful rush of water pouring from Vernal Falls was surreal. I laughed, I cried. I was moved by the awe of Mother Nature. sights from the top; it was an amazing experience.
Yesterday I successfully completed a second trip up Half Dome with my sister-in-law (her second climb as well). The sense of adventure and the excitement of knowing exactly what was in store for me made the second trip an opportunity to learn and grow: I overcame the issues with the change in altitude; I knew how to maneuver vertigo on the sub-Dome, and I had no fear when I started the cables up the Dome. And best of all: the second go around allowed me to focus on the 16+ mile journey, not the destination.