Saturday 24th of August (Happy Birthday Mom!!!):
I find it really hard to say something nice about day 2, only because of the fact that my point of view is blurred by what happened last night (I’m writing these lines a day later). But I’m gonna give it a try, so here I go:
I slept pretty well at the campground in Littly Yosemite Valley. Last night Jule and Gustav from Berlin joined me and we had a nice evening togehter. How funny it is out here that with the people you meet you instantly feel well, like as if you have known them way longer.
Early in the morning, at the break of dawn, I packed my bag and went off to climb Half Dome. It was a nice and easy climb trhough a pine forest (well at least I think it was a pine forest, don’t know too much about the flora names… so I could be wrong) till I reached the point where a ranger was checkin’ permits. There I took my bear can and ukulele outta my pack and hid them away from view If I had known going up the cables was so hard I would have left my whole pack down there.
Anyway I started climbing the first part of Half Dome and thought: “Well you sure shouldn’t take a wrong step here…” And then… I saw the cables. OW FUCK! I wished I’d had my Via Ferrata-Set with me. With my backpack on (o stupid me!!!) I hit the cables. Damn was I happy when I made it safe to the top. On the wys up I met Yoav from Israel who’s also hiking the JMT.
On top of Half Dome… WOW the view was pretty incredible!!!! We took the obligatory diving board pictures, enjoyed the view and I felt a little anxious to get back dwon actually…whoops! Luckely Yoav offerd me to carry my backpack, so going down wasn’t a problem. Rather fun! Wow I hadn’t expected those calbes to be so steep! I was saying all the time like: “Wow that was CRAAAAZY!!!”
Back down I said goodbye to Yoav (who was way faster than me) and I made my way to the couds rest jucntion and up on sunrise creek. Which was where I thought I took the wrong way and went back won to double check… Only to find out it was the right way after all. Somehow I had the feeling I had to make up that lost time (lost more than 1,5 hours, adding a couple of miles and quite some feet of elevation!) so I kept going and going. I kinda neglected taking breaks and having something to eat… Not such a good idea! (I forgot to write: I saw loads of deer from really really closeby!!! PRETTY AWESOME!!!)
Finally I arrived at the spot, right next to sunrise creek, where wenk’s guidebook cited: “last campspots for the next several miles”, so I decided to stay there and that’s where the horrorstory took it’s start.
I don’t feel like writing so much about it as I think I’m still in shock of what happened. It kinda makes me feel sick and it brings tears to my eyes. I think I’m gonna have to wait a few days till I’m able to write it down….
(Note from me while I retype my journal entry:To all readers: Please…respect my feelings when it comes to this story…. I might have overreacted, I might have not been rational, I might have not been able to judge the situation objectively…. But this is how I felt, so please respect it and don’t post any comment like “stupid you, you should have done this and that. you completely got it wrong…” Maybe it was all in my head, maybe I never was in real danger… But I felt like I was gonna die and that is my truth for this story…:c(
PS: No I don’t have a pic of the mountain lion. I was busy banging my pot :c(
OK, this is DAY 10, and I’m gonna try and write down my story…
|That was my camp spot during the mountain lion night.
O crazy me I even made a little nest around it.
When I came to this camp spot several deer were grazing there. All of a sudden… they took off… like as if something had happened (it was not me, when I came they just stayed) but I didn’t look around why they took off. I inspected the place and picked a spot for my tent. After that I started cooking but I really didn’t feel hungry and I had to like stuff it into me. Somehow I didn’t feel at ease, this being the first night all alone in the wilderness. I hid my bearcan like miles away and I got in my tent way before it got dark. I started writing my journal and I looked outside thru the mesh of my tent. I saw something moving behind a bush like 10 to 15m away. I thought it was a deer so I said: “Hey beauty, come out so I can see you…” And then it came out… but it wasn’t a deer…. it was a CAT… I immediately knew it was a mountain lion, though I’d always thought they are all black. It came from behind the bush, stared at me for half a minuted and then moved sideways so I could fully see it. It was big and beige with a cat face and a strong thick tail with a black dot at the end. It kinda walked around me. I felt totally paralized, like I couldn’t breath. I never had this feeling in my life before. I knew this was serious and I knew this was bad. My thoughts were going in all directions. I was trapped! What shoudl I do? Leave my stuff here and go back down? Or should I keep moving up to sunrise camp? But I realised I’d be an easy prey if I’d get out of the tent right now, so I decided I had to stay and try to get through this on my own. I can’t really describe the feeling cuz it was one of the most horrible feelings I ever felt. I decided to bang my pot. I told myself:”I’m gonna bang my pot all night!” It was the only thing I thought I could do. I decided not to yell cuz I thought the Mountain Lion would hear the fear in my voice. Also I decided not to blow a whistle cuz that sounds like a prey noise. When it turned dark I closed the fly of my tent and I kept banging my pot.
It’s pretty hard to write about this. I felt like trapped in my own coffin. I was in a state of mind I can’t really describe. I didn’t want to die yet… not now… I can’t find word to write this cuz I feared for my life during 13 hours. I feared like hell. I made videos during the night, saying goodbye to the people I love. And I kept banging my pot like a morron. I kept banging and banging and banging. One moment I was sweating, the other I was freezing and shivering and I felt like throwing up but I said to myself “I may not throw up cuz what if that would attract the ML even more?” Several times during the night I felt it was really close. I heard it walking just next to my tent (when it got light, I saw his tracks just next to the fly!!!) Those were the moments where I was like paralyzed, I layed down and tried not to breath. It was terrible! I put my backpack close to my head cuz I decided if it attacked I would pu tmy backpack over my head to protect my head and neck. In the night I had to pee like hell but I just couldn’t go outside and sit down in front of a mountain lion. I had to pee in a ziplock bag. It feels sooo embarrasing to writh this down but what else could I have done? I felt anxious about the smell attracting the ML so I put the ziplockbag next to me in my sleeping bag. That felt sooo horrible.
I tried to strenghten my spirit protection wall and I imagened a wolf patrolling arount my tent, protecting me. In that night I swore to myself that if I survive I’m gonna train my mental skills like as if there is no tomorrow. And I swore to myself that I’m gonna tell the people that I love that I love them.
I asked for “please let it be light”…
DAY 3: Sunday 25th August 2013 (my second birthday!!!):
And then the morning came and I realised nothing had really changed. I was still trapped and the ML was still there. I didn’t dare to open the fly but I heard it stretch itself, making cat noises and scratching the tree just behind me. I decided to stay in my tent no matter what and wait till I hear hikers pass by and then start yelling for help.
Time passed and passed and it took AGES. I asked, I prayed for people to come by, And then I heard voices and I started yelling HELP ME PEOPLE PLEASE HELP ME!!!
|MY TRAIL ANGELS!!!! I LOVE YOU GUYS!!!|
THANK GOD THEY HEARD ME and Gordon and Dave from Seattle found me! Finally 2 big men approaching drove the mountain lion off!!! I was totally in shock, not able to keep my eyes focussed, like a wild animal myself. They gave me food and Dave told me to look him in the eyes. I calmed down a little and they helped me pack my stuff, looked out for tracks, kept talking to me. Jeeeee I STANK LIKE HELL. I felt terrible, nothing like human, but I was soooo happy to be save, that this horror was over and I was to LIVE! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU I AM ALIVE!!!!
Gordon and Dave went back down to the valley which was ok for me, as long as I got out of there every direction was the right direction. Gordon walked in front of me, Dave behind me so I was savely tucked in. We took several breaks so that I was able to eat and drink a little. Dave gave me a whistle as a present. That’ll bring me luck. They brought me to the Clouds Rest Juncion where they would camp and then climb Half Some. I said goodbye to them, hugged them and said THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART! I went back to Little Yosemite Valley. Luckely Jule and Gustav were still there and I set up my tent at the exactly same place where I had camped 2 days before. I decided to go to the river and wash my terribly stinking clothes in the Merced. I met Ted there and we had a nice and long conversation (it felt good to tell my story). Jule and Gustav came back from their dayhike and were quite surprised to find me there. Of course I had to share my story. That’s also where I met Shobhan (later on the trail he would be given the trail name MERMAN) and Ban and Ronna. I also went to a ranger to tell my story and little later the wildlife ranger came to ask more in detail. Some people gathered around to hear the story. The ranger confirmed me hat I had done the right thing (I asked him: Was I like overreacting? But he said: No, I would have been as scared as you have been and you’ve done exactly the right thing: making metal noises and not blowing a whistle…. Well and that was a big man that wildlife ranger!!!). Afterward Shobhan gave me my trail name: CAT WOMAN!!! First I was like: Noooo I don’t want that. I don’t wanna be reminded of that story all the time. But then he explained to me that it would turn it into something good. In retrospection that is exactly what happened (I’m now writing this last part of the story on the airplane back home). I now feel that the name CAT (woman…. the “woman” part was dropped further on the trail, so everyone just called my CAT) suits me perfectly. I am CAT…. strong, wild, crazy, not to be tamed!
That evening I went to bed and took a sleeping pill cuz I just needed a night to forget and get sleep. I was soooo glad Jule, Gustav, Shobhan, Ban and Ronna were there!!!!
|Sunrise showing my destination: THE TOP OF HALF DOME!!!|
|The cables coming up… FUUUUCK!|
|the diving board|
|Yoav on the diving board|
|Looking back on Half Dome|
|Tears still sticking to my face…|