half_dome_us.jpg In 2003, after only four months of dating, Jon and I led the junior high youth group at our church up the most recognizable peak in Yosemite National Park. That trip was beyond memorable, in fact Jon used the events of the trip in his personal wedding vows. Bottom line... we made it up to the top, without the steps and cables being up. And we made it down from the top. Seventeen miles and twelve hours later... I was in unbelievable pain and Jon was deeply in love. I had forgotten exactly how strenuous the hike really was.

half_dome_nevada.jpg So this time we started earlier (on the trail at 6:15am Saturday) and we were more prepared (I was bundled up like the poster child for Gortex). Because of the recent flooding in the park, the waterfalls had swelled to unimaginable point... gushing and pouring... the Mist Trail became the Torrential Rain Trail (for those of you who have already heard some of my jokes- I'm sorry. I am unoriginal.).

We fed a blue jay and he followed us for a long time. Finally Jon decided to make the little guy work for his food. Seriously, throwing cheerios so that the jay could swoop in and catch it mid-air. The views were spectacular all the way up the mountain. Lots of snow at the top, covering the stairs and making walking practically impossible.

half_dome_us2.jpg At the saddle we stopped for lunch as we surveyed the cables, stretched 800 feet up the steep, blank granite. Jon and our friend Jared headed up immediately following the meal. I hesitated. Too much, I thought. But then I changed my mind. How on earth could I hike all the way and then not go to the summit?

So, all alone, I donned my climbing shoes and began dragging myself up up up. All the way I was praying, whispering encouragement to myself. I made it. As I walked towards Jon (the dome is sooooo much bigger than anyone might think), I saw the pride pop into his eyes, right after the look of absolute shock. Took some great pictures. Two years almost to the day after our first summit together, we did it again. And this time I wasn't afraid to walk to the very edge and see the glory of the park.