Saturday, March 16, 2013

Borrowed adventure

The last time my husband and I were in Yosemite National Park, while we were hiking up to the top of Yosemite Falls, we crossed paths with another hiker. Actually, we were leap-frogging, which happens a lot on steep trails: you pass someone, and then when you stop to rest, he passes you, and then when he stops to rest, you pass him again. Anyway, I was a bit concerned about this hiker because it was summer, and it's a long steep trail, and he only had a tiny little bottle of water that was maybe a quarter of the recommended amount of water to carry on that kind of hike. Once when we were resting at the same time, he asked, "Have you been up Half Dome yet?" When I said no, he said, "You should go. It's awesome."

I wasn't particularly interested in going up there--from what little I knew, it sounded beyond the range of what I consider fun, and more into the range that sounds like work--but I didn't know much about it. When this guy who wasn't even carrying enough water said that he'd done it, I figured: how hard could it be?

Then I saw this, and I concluded that I'm never going up there unless I turn freaking crazy. While I have my wits about me, I'll stay on the trails where you don't need cables, thank you very much.*

But as scary as that link is, it's fascinating, too. It confirms that climbing Half Dome is nothing I'd ever want to do in real life. But I love reading about it from a safe distance.

That's part of the joy of reading: the ability to experience tough circumstances from a safe and comfortable vantage point. It's borrowed adventure. I don't believe in reading instead of living, but reading in addition to living provides incredible riches.

*Okay, I did hike Gothics via the Orebed Brook Trail in the Adirondacks, which at the time I climbed it had some short sections of cables, in addition to ladders. But that's about my limit.


  1. What a wonderful borrowed adventure! I must say that just looking at your Half Dome link gave me a rush. . . a thrill good enough to borrow! All my life I have enjoyed adventures through books. . . feeling very worldly although the passport doesn't really show it! Thank you for posting and promoting borrowed adventures!!

    1. Thanks for commenting! Glad you enjoyed the vicarious voyage.