Saturday, February 22, 2014
When It's Good To Hike Not Alone
Olmstead Point, only 0.25 miles round trip, with only 100 ft change in elevation! How easy is that! A lot of people don't even walk the 0.25 miles here because the view at the parking lot is already very inspiring.
view from parking lot of Olmstead Point, Yosemite National Park, CA
Actually, the parking lot may even have more interesting views, thus my husband and cousin at the time we were there did not even bother to take the short trail to Olmstead Point thinking they were already at Olmstead Point :)
However, the curious me knew I won't be able to sleep without seeing what is in there at Olmstead Point that I can see. I look at my hiking summary which states: easy 0.25 mile hike with only 100 ft elevation change! I asked my husband and cousin if they are interested going down at Olmstead Point, and they politely declined my invitation, enjoying enough the view at the parking lot already and were thinking of taking a longer hike instead. So, I told them, "I'll just go there, I won't be long, I'll just take quick pictures! Okay?" And they both agreed! Thinking that it was all too easy and short, I did not bring water for I told myself I just drank water and I would be back in less than 10 minutes for I will take really quick pictures so we can hike somewhere. I told myself I won't get lost since it is only 0.25 miles, and this is Olmstead Point In Yosemite where there would always be people! So, I walked down, followed the few people ahead of me to Olmstead Point.
Olmstead Point, Yosemite National Park, CA
I did not pay attention much to the trail since it is short anyway, and besides, there were several people ahead of me, and behind me. I will never be alone! I had no water, no compass, no backpack, no cellphone, no GPS, nothing except my CAMERA! When I reached Olmstead Point, I took a deep breath, took in the amazing scenery around me, and started taking pictures.
Tenaya Lake from Olmstead Point
Clouds Rest, Half Dome and Tenaya Canyon from Olmstead Point
Half Dome Up Close
When I remembered to go back up, I found out I was now left alone, the people that made me very confident were now gone. I spent more time than I thought taking in the scenery at Olmstead Point. I was still so relaxed, and happy! For after all, this is Yosemite National Park, soon, there will be people! A minute had passed, but none came! I told myself "I won't shout, for I am not lost, I am still at Olmstead Point! I will now take the trail back to the parking lot!"
But the problem was, there was no trail! For I was on top of huge and massive granite landscape. I inspected the area, and looked for trail below the rock that I can take! I found one, and it has rock cairns! So, it must be it, why they put rock cairns there in the first place? I went down the rock, I was confident, for I knew, though I went down from parking lot, but after a while of going down, I had to climb up a very little bit to reach Olmstead Point! I followed the trail, but it was all going down! I told myself I could not be going down that long, for I should go up! For the parking lot is at higher elevation than Olmstead Point. I looked around, which one now? Now, I found myself alone in a trail, and am sure it is not the trail back to the parking lot! And this is Yosemite National Park, a huge park, and I am at an undefined trail I did not know where it would led me to, so I shouted, "hello! anybody hear me?" Afraid of getting lost.
No response! It's just trees around me. I could not remember I passed a trail filled with trees. I kept quiet, and in the quietness, I felt my head started to throb, throbbing so bad! My heart was at peace, but my head was giving me really bad headache! my MIGRAINE!! I looked up, tears were flowing, not from the fear of being lost, but from the unbearable throbbing pain in my head. I looked up,
despite the pain, I managed to see the long standing tree on top of the rock, so I told myself, if that tree found its way up there, I should be able to find my way back to the parking lot as well. I wiped my tears, prayed, and told myself, " you have not gone far down yet, and this is high elevation at more than 8000 ft, where Oxygen in the atmosphere is lesser than at sea level, therefore, don't walk too fast, don't rush finding your way, otherwise, your migraine will go really bad from lack of Oxygen, just calm down, breathe longer when you walk, you will find your way!"
To calm myself, I took pictures, I did not really know what I was taking pictures, all I know, I had to find a way to calm myself. I walked back where I came from, I realized I had gone down far more than I thought as I had to continually climb. Now, I could not even find the cairns ( since they are on top of me), all I know, I am surrounded with rocks. I managed to climb up the rock to a more level surface where I could get vantage point, and which I suspect is Olmstead Point! I knew it was Olmstead Point! I was happy! I found my way back! But I still have to get back to the parking lot! This time, I waited longer, until someone would get at Olmstead Point, I'll see where they came from, then, I will take their trail for am sure they came from parking lot. Finally, several people were approaching the point, I prayed and thanked God for sending me people to guide me back to the parking lot. I followed their trail, back to the parking lot. My head was still throbbing so bad, but I had to act I am okay, for I did not want my husband and cousin to worry about my greatest mistake that I just did! I sat, and took another picture of a gnarled tree, a lot of gnarled trees in the area because of the rocky surface.
When I reached our car, I saw my cousin still taking pictures nearby, while my husband was already checking whatever in his cell phone! He asked me, "Where have you been? We looked for you at Olmstead Point, we were down there, stayed there for a while, but did not see you!" I told him, "I went down the canyon, not really that much further down, just wanted to see what Tenaya Canyon is like....someday...I'll go back there....at Clouds Rest....I was close yet still far, so I know I had to turn around for I did not want to make you two worry. It is pretty down there!" And my husband replied, "yes, maybe, someday...."
I kept quiet, for I knew, I did not tell the whole story, I did not tell that I went down because I got lost, not because I wanted to.
Sometimes, when we do not know and are not familiar with the trail we are taking, regardless of the number (whether it is easy or not), we still have to be careful, and never underestimate a trail! Having someone in an unfamiliar territory always help! How many times have a hiker been found dead in the middle of wilderness for being lost and already lacking water and foods to survive? Many times. Though it is great to enjoy nature alone and experience its peacefulness and inspiring beauty, but when we are in the middle of wilderness, we can not always underestimate a trail and tell ourselves we would never get lost. If we are in unfamiliar territory in wilderness, it is best to have somebody with us, if no one, even if you plan to just stray away for a short time, always bring COMPASS and GPS to find your way back, and yes, water too! That was a mistake I did once, and I know, I will never do again!