Part 3 of this story is not ALL about Yosemite, as we are not crazy enough to venture into this very-heavily-visited national park on a holiday weekend. Ok, we ARE crazy, but of a very different kind! We knew after the long and hard day hikes we had done, especially those in Yosemite and Zion, that the boys were ready for their first backcountry experience. We bought them new packs and gear that week and got all set up with everything the Saturday before Memorial day. On the next day, we went on a “shakedown” hike, which is what you do with new gear and all your stuff to make sure it all works out and to gauge your weight in your pack. We set out on the Lewis Creek Trail for the day to have lunch and test out the boys’ gear. We had to cross a creek too! The boys got to make their first meal on a camping stove They said it was the best mac n cheese they’d ever had! LOL
On Memorial Day, we decided to stay away from the crowds and act like locals. Local climbers shared their favorite climbing spot. If it weren’t for Yosemite and the climbing there, Fresno Dome would be a destination climbing spot. It was a really cool spot and somewhat difficult to locate. The approach to the dome is not well marked and quite a scramble the 1/2 mile to the top. It was about 600 ft in elevation gain in the short time.
Once we arrived, Mike got busy scouting the available routes. He decided to lead-climb the ropes to the top where he could tie off and then the boys could top-rope. I’ve been belaying Mike for a while now and we were pretty comfortable. However we do usually anchor me to something. I’m almost 1/2 his weight. Well, it had been a stressful morning trying to get out and over to the climb, so we were a little off our game. I had gotten quite good at belaying him – TOP roping. Lead climbing is a totally different game. Well, we (he) neglected to properly anchor me as he began to lead climb. Just as I had given him some slack on the rope so he could clip into the second bolt above the first one he was clipped in to, his foot popped off the wall and he fell. All I could scream was “Mike, I don’t have you!!” as I flew into the wall pulling on the rope to break his fall. I slammed as hard as possible into the rock and then crashed to the ground. Mike never hit the ground. I was so glad I caught him and that he wasn’t hurt. I, on the other hand, had sustained a significant injury.
Mike was freaking out and wanted to get me out of there asap. I knew needed to rest and assess the situation. I could NOT walk anyway at that moment, so it didn’t matter. It was a HUGE struggle to get there, so I was committed to having the kids climb. They were a little freaked out because they saw the WHOLE thing and thought we would both be really injured. I wanted them to know everything would be fine, so I thought it would be good for then to get a couple of climbs in.
I applied some essential oils and elevated my leg for about an hour. I knew I was injured pretty badly, but I had no idea to what extent. When it came time to climb down, Mike and the boys emptied my pack and I crawled down on hiking poles. It was excruciating, but I did it. It took 30 mins to get up, and Mike thought it would take 2 hours to get down. It only took me 45 minutes using hiking poles. On the way home I purchased a set of crutches on Craigslist that we would pick up the next day in Fresno.
Being that I was now injured and on crutches, we decided to do the drive-through-the-park-and-make-lots-of-stops thing. You know what I’m talking about. It’s what 95% of park-goers do. They drive along and stop at the scenic pullouts and overlooks. I hobbled around on my crutches pretty well and had an amazing day. We drove all the way over to Mono Lake and had world-famous fish tacos at Whoa Nellie Deli in the Mobil gas station across from the lake.
The BEST part of the day was when Brooks was crossing a creek on a log and then thought he was jumping off to solid ground on sand. What he actually jumped on to was brown foam created by the water flow. He went waist in- in jeans and cotton undies and socks. He sat naked from the waist down while Mike hung his jeans, undies and socks in the truck to dry on the drive across the park. It all caught the wind and dried pretty quickly. He was still unable to get out of the truck to get his Jr Ranger badge, so the nice ranger came out to the truck! It was awesome!!