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A full week in Yosemite National Park with perfect spring weather. Does this sound like a Chaconian heaven to you? It certainly seemed darn close to me. 

Ever since my first trip to Yosemite with my family as a little girl I have loved the place. Seeing Yosemite, it’s giant granite cliffs with waterfalls cascading swiftly down from a tremendous height, always quickens my pulse and my imagination. My most recent trip was perfect in so many ways. My husband and I, along with some friends, climbed, hiked and photographed. We spent time watching wildlife (and people) during a week where the thermometer never dipped below 70 and not a single raindrop fell.

Chacos came in handy during all of this. My Flip Pros were comforting at the crags and at camp after climbs, handy to wear in the showers at Curry Village and to tool around in after showering. My Updrafts were sturdy on a hike to Bridal Veil Falls, which included a short boulder scramble I took to get a better photo of the mist, and also did great with socks for cooler mornings and evenings at camp.

The overall highlight of the trip for me though was my repeat of a climb called Snake Dike, a route up Half Dome famous for its strenuous hike and for the “run out” sections, which offer little protection and the consequence of falling is increased. I had done this route years ago, but had not been a leader on it. Being the leader requires a certain amount of mental toughness to climb through those portions. This time I lead three sections (aka pitches) which included run outs.

Summiting Half Dome this trip was a surreal experience and unlike any other time before. Half Dome, being the iconic feature it is, is always covered with people. This time my husband and I were the only ones on top, we enjoyed the fabulous view and filled a water bottle with some of the snow on top before heading down the cables and the rest of the long hike back to camp. Arriving back at camp, my husband collapsed in the tent, and I promptly changed into my Flip Pros.

The day after Half Dome was a reward day. We lounged about in Chacos on the porch at Curry Village with a store bought coffee, juice, and pastry in hand after a much deserved shower. We were sad to leave Yosemite, but already looking forward to our return in June. While I agree with our friend who said, “That was one of my best climbing trips to Valley ever”, there's always another adventure to be found in Yosemite.

More Yosemite trip photos can be seen at http://photography.eileenringwald.com

You can also read a more detailed report with an emphasis on the climbing portions of my trip, on Rockgrrl.com.

About Chaco Ambassador EILEEN RINGWALD:

Born and raised in Southern California, Eileen spent many of her summers on family camping trips scrambling on trails and rocks and growing her love of nature. She took this love of adventure and formed Rockgrrl.com, a climbing and outdoor community. She is also the organizational force behind the annual Joshua Tree National Park rock-climbing meet up. Eileen’s photography can be seen at photography.eileenringwald.com.

 

 

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