My first backpacking trip

It took less than five minutes for the sweat to soak through the back of my shirt. Less than a hundred yards before I ran out of breath. More than an hour to finish the first mile. And yet, somehow, I lugged thirty pounds of backpacking gear up and down a mountain. Those were probably the most excruciating twelve miles of my life.

Two weekends ago, my friends and I drove to Yosemite for some much needed time away from the city. We arrived late Friday evening and “stealthily” set up our tent on somebody else’s campgrounds. That’s when we realized that we were woefully ill prepared for the frigid night.

I woke up the next morning to numb toes. We drove to our trailhead, stopping by Tenaya lake to admire the beautiful backdrop of mountains rising above the water. By the time we started hiking, it was close to noon and the morning chill had dissipated, replaced by a steady heat that radiated from the surrounding soil and rock.

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We made our way north from Tioga Road towards Ten Lakes. During the first two miles, we couldn’t go more than a hundred yards without calling breaks. When we finally hit the switchbacks, it took everything I had just to put one foot in front of the other.

But there would be moments–and they would be so sweet, and oh so rewarding–when the beauty of the mountains would be too loud to ignore. When you become keenly aware of the smallness of your being, and your heart wants to be swallowed by the vastness of it all. And it is those moments when you forget about the thoughts in your head, the ache in your legs, and the path ahead or behind of you; because what you have beheld is too overwhelming for words, and too overpowering in its glory.

It could be the sight of mountains beyond mountains.
The way the sunlight illuminates the bark of the trees.
Or the towering cliffs of granite that speak of eons long gone.
The way the butterflies dance in the meadows.
And even that one lone tree, stripped bare, standing defiantly against the rocky slopes.

Surely, there was no other place that I’d rather be. Than here, in the midst of Your peace and beauty.

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As we were descending the other side of the mountain that we had just painfully climbed, we could see four of the lakes that make up Ten Lakes. I really wish that we had the time to explore all ten, but we stayed at the first one. I could not have been more glad to finally kick off my shoes and dip my feet into the water.

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I wasn’t really planning on swimming in the lake, but I guess I had to do it after all the sweat and tears I shed to get there. I definitely didn’t regret it.


First time in Yosemite, June 2012

These are photos from a trip last year that I had been meaning to post up. I forget where I took these pictures, but words and names don’t really matter. They speak for themselves.

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