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In the Valley Below

A few weeks ago...

We drove up to Yosemite, we snagged a spot in the valley at Camp 4 around midnight, we made a feast of cheese and summer sausage and wine and talked into the early morning hours. Later, we woke and made a mid-morning breakfast of avocado toast and coffee and wine, because why not? Then off to boulder—to climb rocks and scrape knees and build blisters.

I broke in my new climbing shoes, but the rubber bottoms did not catch a grip, so I was slick and sliding off chunks of metamorphic rock. Still, fingertips found purchase in the invisible crevices and I managed to scale some baby climbs, while my companions gracefully maneuvered limb after limb, climbing up chimneys... or water spouts as if spiders. They seemed weightless in their ascent. Fortunately, cameras are a good distraction for self pity because the question begged at the back of my mind: Why does my body not do this?

Conquering anything is no easy feat, and climbing rocks requires problem solving and full body concentration. Conquering rocks warrants a midday siesta in hammocks hung amongst the Yosemite pines. Finally, our friends in the caravan reached the valley for the sunset and our group grew from three to many. We caught the sunset, we built a large dinner together and conversed into the night. It was good.

The next day, a slow breakfast turned into a lazy breakdown of the camp and then a gentle meander over to our day's hike + climb. The pack scrambled up some scree and found our next puzzle–a smooth granite wall (maybe?) that we thought we should hang on–and I mean literally hang with the barest of fingertips and tiptoes. But again, why not? The valley spread out behind us, the sun danced in and out of clouds to warm our space, and the climbers of the bunch all roped up.

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