Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Climbing Half Dome with Holes in My Socks, part 1 of 2

by Shinazy

Oh, would my mom disapprove of me having holes in my socks?

Years ago, I remember my mom hanging laundry and inspecting my clothes for anything that needed to be repaired: a missing botton, a detached hem, a hole in a sock.  Because my appearance was important to her, I always left the house wearing perfectly cared-for clothes.
This morning several friends of mine met at my place briefly to discuss our next adventure.  We were off to hike in the coastal mountains above the town of Pescadero. As my home is a shoe-free zone, everyone leaves their shoes at the front door.
As we casually congregated in my living room, chatting about our upcoming trek, Sandy remarked, “Oh, I’m so glad someone else has holes in their socks.” Our eyes dropped in unison to observe our assemblage of shoeless feet.  It was true – each of our feet was enveloped in what could only be described – at best - as ‘well-ventilated’ socks. It was in that moment that light dawned: these weren’t mere remnants of well-worn pieces of cotton-poly and silk-wool blends.  They were the results of actions and efforts, of steps and journeys taken, of goals actualized and achieved.  They were the indisputable evidence attesting to the activism of their owners.  These socks belonged to a group of Bitchin’ Ol’ Boomer Babes who started walking together almost a year ago (and still continue to do so.) 
It was in that year that we decided we had better begin attending to our Bucket Lists.
Item #1: Climbing Half Dome at Yosemite National Park.
But alas, as it usually is when attempting feats of greatness, our spirits were willing, but our flesh…needed some help!  Between the three of us, we truly encompassed the full range of inactive, aging babes. I was recovering from a back injury that left me paralyzed one morning.  Sandy had been inactive since finishing the Gold Coast Marathon almost 2 years before.  And another member of our group, Bobbi, had only walked 2 miles, but that was 3 years ago.   
So to accomplish our goal successfully – and without hurting ourselves in the process - we needed to “train”…the kind of put-one-foot-in-front-of-the-other-over-and-over-again-type of training that only comes with perseverance, determination, and an occasional massage at the local day spa.  Our plan was simple: to go longer and longer distances, adding steps and hills to emulate the Yosemite Valley terrain. We scheduled walks on flat ground along the bay, then the undulating path at Sawyer Camp Trail, next, up and down the mountains near the coast.  We did 1 mile, then 2, 3 . . . 8, 9 . . . 14 . . . 18.
Our walking began in late fall through local neighborhoods, admiring the Christmas decorations as we trudged past,  dashing through the mud, laughing all the way.  We forged ahead during the record-breaking stormy Northern California winter. We saw the fog lift and felt the sun shine. Watched banana slugs mosey along on the trail and listened to the tap-tap-tap of woodpeckers on trees.  We stared up into the awesomeness of the towering redwood trees and gazed down wonderingly at cascading creeks.
We held our Half Dome Climb strategy meetings on what became Taco Tuesdays.  Searched the net for descriptions and pictures of the climb. Read books. Watched videos. As the months-to-train became weeks-to-train became only-days-to-train, we fixed our eyes on the Half Dome webcam hoping to see the snow melt.  We needed the climbing cables installed on the dome surface to reach the top – the objective of our effort.
On the day we were to climb Half Dome the snow was still on the ground, which meant no cables.  No cables = no climb.  Yet, we went to Yosemite anyway and climbed to the base of the dome.  We named this adventure our “Reconnaissance Trip”.  Returning home that day, we realized that during our many months of training together we became physically stronger and mentally confident, embarking on our mission then just like we did today…with holes in our socks. 
I think Mom would approve.


  1. Love the interpretation of having holey socks. I agree, your mom would approve! -Jenny

  2. And today we still walk one foot infront of the other as we train to reach our origional goal of hiking to the TOP of Half Dome. But another ting happened on these many hours of walking, we've become friends.
    Our holes in our soxs are well worth it.

  3. And as we to put one foot infront of another, we continue to train for that same goal we began with----to reach the TOP of Half Dome. It's important to finish what we started. As I'm the one who had only walked 2 miles on average, I now have the moto "The question isn't who is going to LET me; it's who is going to STOP me"!
    So I will be buying more pairs of sox to replace the ones that get holes in them.