Thursday, October 23, 2014

Out of the Mountains

Climbing last night was incredible.  We did three pitches on featured granite, the Yosemite classic, with Chad leading the way; he lent us some of his extra gear and off we went.  It was surreal to be climbing up the side of Yosemite Valley, the same rocks on which climbing, especially big wall climbing, got its start.  Half Dome lit up pink behind us in the sunset as we finished the first pitch, and as night fell, we continued upward in the dark.  It wasn't difficult climbing, 5.7 at the hardest, but the fun here wasn't in the physical challenge (the Yosemite Decimal System- that's right, the rating system is named after Yosemite- ranges from 5.1, which would be a steep set of stairs, to 5.15, which is the current limit of the best of the best).  The fun was getting out there and doing it, and Tam and I shared the sentiment that we want to return to the Valley someday and climb a whole lot more.  Afterwards, we enjoyed some pizza and relaxed.  We can't thank Chad enough for making all this possible!
This morning we packed up then got on a bus.  The deadline we set to meet my mom at the coast, October 25, didn't allow us to spend yesterday in Yosemite and bike the whole way, and the bus to Merced was inexpensive and convenient.  We may not remember the scenery of the road we didn't bike, but it was totally worth it to stay and rest and climb.
After leaving the glory of the Valley, the bus was unexciting and uninspiring, and we got off in Merced around 1 pm feeling as if we had teleported.  The mountains had faded away, and the October air was warm; palm trees waved in the wind.  
First stop: Chinese buffet!  We ate at a greasy little place and felt a little bit sick afterwards, but it felt good to be back on the road powering ourselves with sweat to yet another destination.  The road was flatter than any I've ever seen, so we made decent time, too.

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