i may not be running anymore, but i’m still feeling the benefits of increased fitness. the first weekend end in june, my husband and i went to yosemite national park with his parents. after walking all the “easy” paths, we decided to attempt the “moderate” hike up to vernal falls footbridge. my in-laws quickly fell behind as we began to trek up the steep trail, ascending 400 feet in 3/4 of a mile. i paced myself, just like i was jogging. i regulated my breath in rhythm with my steps. i paused halfway up the hill to relax my heart rate. when i turned around, i saw my husband huffing and puffing a ways back. i felt somewhat smug and satisfied while i waited for him to catch up. this was the first time i had ever been ahead on a hike!
we made it to the footbridge and took some photos while we stood around what felt like forever until the in-laws showed up. his mother said the experience had been a reality check, she wasn’t in as good of shape as she had thought. it was a reality check for me too, i was actually in better shape than i believed. in fact i was ready to tackle the “strenuous” climb to the top!
we parted from his parents as they turned around to head down. the second part of the trail wasn’t paved, but it was pleasant to have the earth under my feet. soon enough, the dirt ended and we were faced with the infamous mist trail, 600 steps (and 600 feet) carved out of the granite cliffside.
vernal falls were particularly powerful this spring. a higher than average snowpack and recent rains fed the furious merced river. a couple people had already drowned this season. my husband watched nervously as i climbed the crumbling stairway. the higher i went, the more droplets of water accumulated on my hair, my glasses, my clothes. the rocks were slippery with shallow pools waiting to wet my shoes. and that was part of the problem, i wasn’t wearing hiking boots, i had on cool-kid trainers.
we were almost to the top when my husband said stop. he didn’t want me to go on anymore. he had been anxiously eyeing the cliff’s edge and was too scared that i might slip and fall. he didn’t want me to be the park’s next death. i have to admit i was a little disappointed, i know i could have made it, but i could see how worried my husband was. so we started the difficult descent (it was actually harder going down than it was going up).
i’ve never been into hiking, and i’m still not, but just like running it taught me that i’m physically capable of doing things i never dreamed.