Looking Down on Half Dome
Looking Down on Half Dome

We don’t take long breaks when we hike. It isn’t that we’re demon-strong hikers; it’s just that we can’t get going again if we stop the long. The engines stall, and we have to whine our way back to the trail head.

If it’s a long hike, 6 hours or more, we do need to take lunch. We usually take what we call “trail lunch,” and that usually consists of tuna kits, granola bars, and maybe some nuts. We stop long enough to eat that and then move on.

Fine dining it’s not, but one hiking lunch stays in my mind as a treasured memory. My husband’s grandmother and her family hiked from Tenaya Lake, up over Cloud’s Rest and then down to Yosemite Valley (go look at Google Earth) when she was in her early teens. My husband had always wanted to do that hike, so a few years ago we did it as a day hike. A looooong day hike.

I’d tell you about this hike in detail, but as Alton Brown says, “that’s another show.” This is about our lunch on that day.

We’d huffed it up the Tenaya steps, down the other side, up the Cloud’s Rest trail, and down it. We’d enjoyed looking way down on the top of Half Dome from the Cloud’s Rest trail coming down it. We’d passed some loony backpackers huffing their way up the trail to Cloud’s Rest – carrying lawn chairs and a large boom box strapped to the back of their packs and oddly enough with no idea where they were or even where they were coming from.

Hubby was getting hungry. He wanted to know where and when we were going to stop for lunch. I had an idea on that and said I’d like to have lunch when we hit the intersection with the Half Dome trail. He said fine.

In due course, we came to said intersection and sat down on some rocks to eat lunch. It was getting up in the afternoon, and it was a hot day.  As we were eating lunch, a steady stream of perspiring, red-faced, exhausted people came dragging themselves up the trail, Half Domeward. Each and every group of them saw the signpost there at the intersection: Half Dome 2.5 miles. Every one of them just about whinnied in dismay. Two and a half miles! How can that be? Then they flopped down in the shade.

Bad person that I am, and bad person whose hard work was done and who only had to amble down the John Muir trail to Happy Isles, I took great satisfaction in their dissatisfaction.

That’s my idea of a great lunch break when hiking!

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