It had been a little over a year since Mel and I had been to Yosemite, we had been talking about going back for months now and after she had been locked away in a hotel for 3 weeks straight for work, we thought it would be the perfect time to revisit one of our favorite places. We woke up early Saturday morning, gathered our things, and hit the road.
We were somewhat disappointed with our initial arrival to the valley floor. Massive crowds of foreigners bombarding the waterfalls with selfie sticks and mumbled conversation. A hazy layer of smoke and clouds from a neighboring thunderstorm made it almost unbearable to one’s eyes trying to enjoy the beauty of the towering rock figures. The upper yosemite falls hike had been closed down due to potential lightning strikes. After about an hour or two meandering around, trying to remember of the beauty of everything without all of the distractions, we decided to regroup over lunch and head up above to taft point, a new overlook neither of us had been to.
The smoke and clouds began to clear as we followed the windy roads to the top. We were being hopefully that we would be blessed by a beautiful view of the valley floor, yet we were greeted by so much more.
After the mile long hike to taft point from the road, we came across some acro-yogies performing incredible tricks right along the edge of the few-hundred foot cliff! We were stunned and amazed. Mel offered for us to take pictures of them performing their tricks, one handed lifts in contortionist positions, skills we couldn’t even dream of having. After they had finished they kindly offered to teach us some tricks as well, which of course we could not deny. The ever elusive dirty dancing lift, had Mel flying like a bird 8 feet off the ground. The base, looking as though he was lifting only a book above his head to put on the top shelf. So effortless.
We got to talking with them and they brought us over to their next act; highlining. Highlining is essentially modern “semi-tight” rope walking. A one inch line of webbing is strung between two cliffs. Athletes do their best to make their way across the line. There are few that are considered athletes in the sport and even fewer that can “send” a line to it’s full length. In most cases, the athletes are tethered to the line in case of a fall so that they only fall a few feet, rather than hundreds.
In this case group of highliners had gathered from around the country to set up three lines on taft point. The entire time watching them, I was in absolute awe. This is a sport that I had followed for years on the internet, I even considered myself a good slackliner, but having the first opportunity to witness the sport was at this location, it had me speechless. I couldn’t believe the beauty of the line with El Capitan in the background. It was unbelievable.
Now I went back and forth on wanting to try it out for a good 30 minutes, but when one of the guys in the group asked if I wanted to do it, I didn’t even hesitate. I blurted “YES” before he even finished his sentence.
I stepped into the harness, double checked, then triple checked, my harness, and wheeled my way onto the line. The further I made it out onto the line, the less and less went through my head. I had one task and nothing else mattered. It was pure focus. I don’t think that I have ever been that focused on one thing in my entire life.
With a torn ACL, I was unfortunately unable to gather the strength in my leg to stand up. I wanted to feel the rush of being on the line. So the rest of the gang shouted from the cliff to hang upside down. I wrapped my legs around the line and flipped over to have an unhindered view of the valley floor.
After I got off the line, I took more photos of the group performing on the line. Step after step they made, a few falls, but a tremendous amount of skill was displayed. Having experienced being on the line first hand, I had gained an immense amount of respect for all of these athletes. The pure focus and athleticism that they showed was something I strive to learn.
We finished up our day by finding a spot to eat on Glacier Point. The next morning we awoke to drive back to GP and watch the sun-rise behind half dome. One of our favorite views for breakfast in the whole wide world.
Another unforgettable trip to the valley. Hopefully next year, our trip to the valley is even greater than the last.