June 5th 2016: Backpackers Camp Yosemite Valley – North Dome
I wake up in the middle of the night. HQ is sitting upright with his headlamp on. “What’s going on?” I ask. “I heard something! I think there’s a mouse in our pack!” He looks but he can’t find any mice. So he pops his head out of the tent and he sees a raccoon pulling out a bag out of someones backpack. He tries to scare Raccoon away by yelling at him but Raccoon is not impressed. It’s only when HQ gets out of the tent and claps in his hands that Raccoon takes off. HQ puts the backpack some fucker left outside in the bear lockers. 3 Young guys came to camp late yesterday (I was half asleep already) and didn’t even bother to put away their packs and food. Assholes. Here’s to keeping the bears and other wildlife safe. These morons don’t get that it’s not about us humans, nor about the holes in our packs or the lost food. It’s about animals becoming “unwild” and getting dangerous because they want human food, and then they need to be relocated or even killed. Some people just don’t to give a fuck.
We get going at 6:50 am and the first 2 miles till Mirror Lake are flat and easy. Soon we reach the switchbacks and they take us all the way up. Luckily there’s still some shade . The place is full of mosquitoes though so we push all the way through till snow creek. After a short break and a water resupply we head on towards North Dome. The views on Half Dome, Clouds Rest and the Valley are spectacular. We’re up by lunch and now we can chill and lay down and enjoy the view.
I am so glad we’re away from the masses. I’ve never experienced the Valley like yesterday. I guess I was lucky to never have been there on the weekend. Up here in the wild, life is better and I’m more at peace!
We cook dinner at 6 pm to make sure we’ll be on time to watch the sun setting on Half Dome and Clouds Rest. It’s craaaazy beautiful. We have a “granite couch” on the summit south side of North dome. I read Desert Solitaire and I watch the sun set and apart from a young German couple (who pitched their tent kinda close to ours) we are alone here. Frikkin epic! The stone turns from yellow to gold to orange to pink and back to grey and then the sky turns purple, pink and darkish blue. Nature you never stop to touch my heart!!!
When the sun has set we head back to our tent and another small group comes running up (too late mates!). A guys tells the German couple he just saw a mountain lion sleep on the ridge just 50 meters above us. Damn. I shouldn’t have known that. I try to keep calm but as soon as I lay down everything comes back. The feeling of not being able to breath, of my heart beating so loud I can not hear anything else. I never have to pee at night but now I have to go 4 times. Until it’s dark I’m just brave enough to pee right next to the tent. But then it gets dark and I refuse to go outside. So I pee in the half cut off bottle we normally use to store our platypus water filter in (guess we won’t use that one any longer in the future). I’ve lost all my shame now. I ask HQ to at least not look over as I pee in the bottle right next to him. I pour the pee outside. This procedure repeats itself 3 frikkin times. Fearpeeing. Damn I hate it!
After 4 times of peeing, laying awake for hours, listening for every sound, every breaking of a twig, every bird alarm, I finally “sort of” win the battle trust-distrust-trust-distrust-trust. I talk to Lion in spirit and once again he tells me “I’m just here to look over you, to make you feel safe!” But my head goes like: Maybe it just means nothing at all girl! Yet in my heart I know this is another lesson for me, whether there really was a mountain lion this time or not (after all I didn’t see one this time). It’s all about trusting my path, taking my position without fear. The small group that came too late for the sunset gave me an image that probably is pretty typical for the mountain lion path, cause when they return they yell and scream while making their way back. They are scared. 8 grown up people are scared of one sleeping mountain lion.
Anyway, after battling memories and fear and distrust I finally turn to the bright side and I even manage to sleep. Not much but I sleep and I even dare to let go of HQ’s hand.