Mountain Memories from Karla Lysdal-Moffitt
Mountain Memories at Holy Trinity
We received this “Mountain Memories”
from Karla Lysdal-Moffitt in response to our
Summer Sermon Series titled, “Go Tell It On The Mountain.”
Hiking Half Dome
In the Summer of 1977, I was on summer break from Sonoma State University and employed by the Yosemite & Curry Co., concessionaires for Yosemite National Park. What a heavenly place to live. I was meeting many people from around the world.
I made an enduring friendship with Zulma, from Puerto Rico, a grad student at San Jose State University (CA) pursuing her Master’s. On our days off, Zulma and I enjoyed hiking throughout Yosemite Valley. We decided to hike Half Dome from Glacier Point, which added several extra miles but provided the experience of the backcountry behind Nevada and Vernal Falls. Typically, other hikers use the Mist Trail from the Valley, about a 14-17 mile round trip.
A few hours (4-5 hours?) later we arrived at the “Toe” aka “Little Dome” of Half Dome. There was signage posted cautioning hikers to stay off the cable climb, a 39° angle of 400 feet to the top. The large sign warned “STOP” if any clouds were in the sky, in case of rain or lightning strikes. For us, it was a beautifully clear, deep blue sunny morning.
The Dome is approximately 5000+ feet above the Yosemite Valley floor—from the cable climb there is a fantastic bird’s eye view of the valley floor. The steel cables (for protection wear heavy cotton socks for your hands or gloves!) have no barriers to prevent falling off the slick granite dome.
As Zulma and I were approaching the last 50 feet from the top, CLOUDS (!!) drifted over. Where in the heavens did they come from???!!! Needless-to-say, it started to drizzle. Have you ever slipped on ice? It’s worse on wet granite! Moreover, keeping hold on the steel cables becomes more difficult!
Zulma was 10 feet in front of me: “Zulma! I’m turning around and going down!” Zulma’s response: “Are you crazy! We are almost to the top!” Then I could see her no more. The clouds became so saturated with water, Zulma was engulfed in a cloud just ten feet away from me! Well, I’m not crazy and I slowly climbed down, slipping and sliding all the way! Down on terra firma.
Zulma and I agreed to hike the Dome another day, but we never did. We had a memorable experience and we were safe and sound. Now a-day’s, here in 2020 a Half Dome hiker must make an appointment and obtain a permit. For the Summer of 1977 it was a sweet freedom to enjoy.
Yours In Christ,