Eagle Peak - Part 2


This is the second of three posts about our hike up to Eagle Peak in Yosemite National Park:

My confidence was shot the second I woke up. Usually when Barry asks me when I want to get moving, I practically leap out of bed, ready to hike. Not today. Today, everything felt like a personal attack.

Putting on my favorite hiking pants? Personal attack.

Lacing up my shoes? Well, I better not wear the socks I wore last time or I'll end up with a blister, which would fall in the category of a personal attack.

The initial ascent, climbing 2700+ feet in three miles? Personal attack.

The hard-packed snow that cut up my shin? Personal attack.

Straight up, this mountain was out to get me.

Everything that was a challenge was felt twice as hard as I usually feel it. My feet felt like cinder blocks up these switchbacks - so steep that they make Walter's Wiggles at Angels Landing feel like romping in a field a la The Sound of Music.

The snow melt makes for dramatic waterfalls, and the waterfalls are attacking me with their mist and their desire to go where they want to go, to find the path of least resistance, because my body is taking the path of MOST resistance through 3 miles of hard-packed snow to the top of this (all the expletives) summit.

But here? At this spot? I found that deep peace. If you hike, you probably know this place. Where your brain and body are one and you're so tired you can't complain anymore (even if only for a second) and instead of staring down at your feet and cursing your existence on this hunk of granite, you look up and see Half Dome across the valley from a different perspective. Where sunshine, nature, and the grandness of it all feels like a warm embrace, the kind that breaks tension and makes your body melt into a puddle.

And you remember how to breathe again.

That first breath in that moment is the sweetest, most fulfilling breath you'll take all day.

And for me, immediately following, come the heavy sobs of gratitude. The ones that wash away all the feelings of inadequacy and remind me that I can do hard things, and though this is the hardest thing I've done to date, I'm doing it.

Now, can I keep the gratitude flowing long enough to get me to the top?