So one of my agility friends (also named) Ellen, (I'll call her by her nickname Elf), has been doing more hiking of late and has been enjoying it and had told me that she's interested in doing more.
From time to time I do these slightly outrageous day hikes (or ski trips) where I drive a fair distance to an incredibly gorgeous place and do a hike and then drive back. We all seem to have this internal gauge that you're supposed to spend more time doing your chosen activity than driving. When I started letting go of that assumption, I started having these totally fun mini adventures. The idea for it was planted when a friend in college told me that her and a friend drove from New England to Florida to go dancing. Ok, that's a little much, but then I noticed that places like REI's Outdoor Schoool and Bay Area Ski Bus do day trips, and those are great and I do them, but they don't always follow MY schedule (hmph), and also my Southern California family did long day trips for fun, so I then got the maps out and figured out what was possible.
I live in the Bay Area and if you draw a half circle around it that approximates things that are under 4 hours away, you find that you cover quite a lot of territory. Yosemite and Tahoe and even Lassen (sort of) are in that semi circle. And it's really not a circle as things that are near a (semi) major highway can be further away because you can go at higher speeds. And yes, this is not very ecological and I'm leasing my dog/ski mobile Scion in hopes that an affordable (well one can hope) hybrid version of it comes out - in the meantime, it gets 28 mpg.
ANYWAY, I asked Elf if she wanted to join me on a trip I'd been thinking of to go just past Tuolome Meadows out Tioga Road and climb Mt Dana. Elf being Elf, looked up the altitudes (10,000' up to 13,000') and politely (and smartly) declined. (That may prove to be a bit much for me as well though I'll probably try it one day.) Not being dead set on Tioga but knowing that she wanted to hike in Yosemite as she hadn't been in a while, I asked about starting out of Yosemite Valley which would move the starting altitude to a considerably lower 4000'. She liked that, and suggested maybe up to Nevada Falls or hey look we could take the 4 Mile Trail and climb 3200' up to Glacier Point ha ha ha. Now Elf is also a blogger and I'm sure she'll let us know whether she knew she was deliberately dangling bait or not. I then tell her that I've done the 4 Mile Trail though it's been a while and that the trail is well within her ability, and I'd love to do it if she was up for it or we could just go up part way as it's just an out and back trip.
To my happy surprise, she said yes. I was prepared to tell her that the trail was carefully designed not to be horribly steep and that it wasn't a race and we could take our time (I did tell her that part). Turns out she'd already read that the trail wasn't as steep as Upper Yosemite Falls Trail (a steep, but highly rewarding trail.) We agreed on a date a couple of weeks out that we both miraculously had available and worked out rendezvous details and that was that for a while. Being a much better blog writer than a reader I didn't realize until later that she was stressing about it some here and here, and she made this great apples/oranges comparison to climbing the trail and climbing the Empire State Building here. (During that time I did comparatively dull climb on an inclined treadmill sessions.)
Somewhere along the way I realized just how much it broadens my experience to have someone else there experiencing it with you. The other person notices things that you didn't and it really makes a huge difference. I love it and need to do it more.
I set out to write about the trail and haven't even gotten there yet. I'll make that a separate entry.