Yosemite Valley Floor - Part 1


"Do you want to turn around?"

We were 13 miles into a 20+ mile trek, and our mission was to hike the entire Valley Floor Loop when Barry offered an out. I had just soaked my foot on the way to Bridalveil Fall, and I was frustrated. Up until this point, the trail had been fine, until it wasn't.

I had already taken off my shoes and socks to walk over jagged rocks in ankle-deep snow melt that washed out the trail before Mirror Lake. I had already navigated up and around a boulder field and rotting trees when the trail was nowhere to be found. I had already done Eagle Peak two days prior, my feet tore up after the hard-packed snow that turned to slush as the day wore on. This was already longer than that hike. Barry's knee was giving him hell after the first hike, how are we still going? We just needed to make it to the spring. Barry said he wanted to make it to the spring and so I locked the spring into my mind.

"No, we gotta get to the spring, right?" my intention was kind, but my delivery was a lashing.

Barry recoiled. Visibly.

"Okay let's turn around," he said, not having any of my shit. "I feel like I'm leading this expedition and it feels like you don't want to be here."

"Well I default to you for safety," I said, feeling a pang of inadequacy. "I'm going to keep going. I'm doing this."

"Cool, see you back at the van," he responded.

I was livid.

"Are you going back to the van because your knee hurts or because you don't want to be my babysitter?" I hissed.

"I don't want to be your babysitter."

I turned on a dime and didn't look back. I rage-hiked for seven miles, playing it out over and over in my head. First, kindness for myself: I'm allowed to get frustrated when I dunk my foot. I'm allowed to complain when it's hard. This will be my highest mileage day and I will get this done and it's going to be glorious, DAMN IT. Then I got indignant: My babysitter? WHO IS THIS GUY?

I stopped at yet another washout in the trail, pulled up my map, and started walking on the road. The road is clear. I'll walk here until I can find the trail again. I cut across a field and saw him behind me. OH SNAP, MY BABYSITTER IS HERE.

(to be continued)