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{to half dome with love}

half dome

To Half Dome with LOVE,

It’s been a long time since I have seen you and even longer since I climbed your cables to the top. Years now. I miss you. I miss your beauty and your treacherous edges. I miss your awe-inspiring views and your beautiful Yosemite home. I know you have visitors from all over the world and your fame may not phase you…but you should know that you taught me so much. In the years I made it to the top of your dome I was still trying to find confidence in who I was {and honestly I am still figuring that out} and what made me who I was.

I was about 16 the first time we met and with a group of youth group kids {mostly boys}. The guys were convinced that I would never make it to the top {and I don’t blame them because I was not an athlete and not very strong}. What they didn’t know was that I was very strong in spirit and determination and that their lack of confidence became a challenge to me. I was going to prove I could make it all the way to the top. Two of the guys stayed back with me while the others sped up the trail and way ahead of us. And to everyone’s shock {including mine} I did it. And I was the only girl who made it up there that trip! That experience put a wind in my sails that had never existed {even though I was more tired and sore than I had ever been}. I felt certain that I could do almost anything after that!

The following summer I did it again. Can you believe it? I’m sure you don’t remember me but I was so proud that I kissed you at the top! My friend Laura was my companion that day and she may be the nicest person you {or I} have ever met! A few other friends were there too {Dave & Tim among them}.

There was the third visit {a trip I would like to forget in many ways} where three of us didn’t get back down your trail soon enough and found ourselves in the dark, without flashlights, split up from our group and even lost at one point. It’s a long story {Andy & Shiloh might remember…along with John Argo & Charlie} but I’ll spare you the details. Lets just say I was scared but we all made it home safely {and I have never found myself on a trip like this without a head-lamp again}!

On my fourth attempt I made it as far as your switchbacks and last mile. I just couldn’t do it. I had a meltdown and started crying {go on, go on without me…I told them}. And they did make it to the top and back down while I sat and waited for an hour or so, talking to a random stranger. It had been several years and I was really out of shape when we met you that trip. I was determined to encourage get my friend Allison to the top, assuring her along the way that if I had done it…anyone could. Our other friend {and youth pastor} Tim was given the task of coercing us up the trail that day. Bribing us with anything he could think of he finally found our sweet spot {and our weakness}…food. He told us the pizza place at the bottom of the trail closed early and so we had to hurry if we wanted to make it back down in time. We were so gullible {and hungry} that it worked. We even told people on your trail back down to hurry because the pizza place was closing. I still laugh every-time I think about this trip.

I have visited Yosemite a few more times since those trips but nothing compares to being at the top of your dome.

Thanks for teaching me so much over the years, giving me a confidence that I never knew I had, being strong and beautiful and lasting, letting so many people around the world experience you…I know I am not the only person out there who agrees. I hope we meet again someday. XO

Sincerely {and affectionately},


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