Blog Reader and Veteran Domer, Larry of Marin County, sent in this recap of his Half Dome hikes in 2008 and 2011. It’s fun to read others’ wxperiences.
I did the hike in 2008, and during the last third of the descent, my knees were in excruciating pain. Since I had seen young adults running down the trail, I didn’t use the poles on the switchbacks below the Little Spring.
This year, I aggressively used the poles to check my downhill momentum so my knees wouldn’t have to absorb that energy. I also hiked slower because on a training hike returning from Stinson Beach, I ascended some steps too quickly and ended up with painful knees near the end. The slower pace and the poles helped me with the round, polished rocks near Nevada Fall.
This year, I left coins, keys, contents of wallet (except my drivers license and a credit card) in the locking safe in tent cabin. Tabbouleh for breakfast may have had too much olive oil, leaving my stomach unsettled on the hike.
The neoprene gloves gripped the cables so well that I used my arms and shoulders to pull myself up. Mistake. I forgot Rick’s advice to use the larger leg muscles. But descending the cables, I did remember to face uphill with both hands on one cable. In 2008, descending as if on an escalator put a lot of strain on my knees.
Don’t plop the water filter intake into the river, like I did. Mine collected sediment and I lost a lot of time at Little Spring trying to figure out how to clear it. If you’re filtering water by yourself, try putting the bottle in the mesh pocket of your back or fanny-pack so it won’t roll into the water. I’ve hiked with a group and solo (this year) and prefer the former, sharing beef jerky and conversation. It’s also easier filtering water with more hands.
I reached the shuttle stop at Happy Isles without knee pain this year. Yeah!
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “I know a cat named Way Out Willie. He’s got a cool little chick named Rockin’ Nillie. He can walk and stroll and Susie Q and do that crazy hand jive too.” – Johnny Otis
*MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com