A STRANGE AND SOMEWHAT UNSETTLING FREEDOM
17 June: Sunday—Sentinel Falls
Behind me, merely a few feet away, drop the tall southern cliffs of Yosemite Valley. Further across the valley waits El Capitan: tomorrow’s destination. The sun has dropped behind the mountains, a gentle breeze stirs, and Sentinel Falls rushes tirelessly to my right.
I am alone.
I lingered at the Glacier Point amphitheater for a few hours after Andrew and Matthew departed for San Jose. I really do like being around people. There are so many who come to visit this natural grandeur. I am thankful for that.
Yet I wish that I was sharing this with someone: this view, this twilight. How will this isolation affect me in the end? Sure, I will have some adventure. But will my character change? Can I even make it? There seems to be so much ahead. Even curtailed from my original plan, the trail is daunting. I must not think too far ahead. Yet the present seems so slow. I should be grateful. . . . I am grateful. This experience is a rich blessing. Yet I find myself constantly thinking ahead to when I will be with family or friends again. I do not want to go back to the previous routine in San Jose, though. No, I want vision in action. That is what this is, but then why is it so hard? Perhaps for this outdoor adventure, my vision is still taking shape—in ways, at least. I need to truly commit to it to succeed. Yet mentally that seems to be a challenge.
My low point today was atop Sentinel Point. The views did little to improve my spirit. I had come from a high of talking with Mom & Dad and then Mama & Papa. As I prepared dinner this evening, I prayed for God’s peace—to connect me with people when needed. God does answer prayers. Not much later a young couple came out to enjoy the view from Sentinel Falls. They live in Alabama, but are from Oregon and Texas originally. That small interchange did wonders to my spirit. And this place . . . It is difficult to believe sometimes.
“Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness. You have relieved me in my distress . . . I will both lie down in peace and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4
18 June: Monday—Ribbon Falls
It is incredible how being clean can make such a difference to one’s sense of well-being. Furthermore, a lovely—especially epic—place to spend the night adds to such contentment. Cleanliness. A grand environment. What else does one need? Well, for one, a companion to share in all of it. The addition of a community would help it toward perfection. Food is also essential, as is adequate attire. Also water, one of the most important fundamental physiological needs, cannot be forgotten. All of these can be found in nature. Thus I am only missing a few facets to complete my contentment.
It seems that when I am tired—namely, in the morning and just before finding camp in the evening—I am the most emotionally vulnerable. But today was good. The descent along 4-Mile Trail from Glacier Point was hard on the body. The ascent of Yosemite Falls was worse. The hour reprieve near Yosemite Village along the beach near the bridge, however, was wonderful. I dialogued with a couple from the East Coast. He contended, from only being in Yosemite Valley three hours, mind you, that the Grand Canyon is more spectacular. I told them that they should visit Glacier Point. The Grand Canyon is certainly worthy of comparison, but I might argue that it is not greater.
Meanwhile, Ribbon Falls is lovely. The steady stream rushes with a cool chorus nearby. There are so many sounds in the wild. They awaken my imagination—usually while I try to sleep, unfortunately. I hiked 18 hard miles today. Hopefully that puts me to sleep. (Still no blisters, praise God.)