11.21.2014

Flashback Friday: Tuolumne Meadows 2014 - Unicorn Peak

I realized that I still hadn't shared one of my favorite weekends of the year with you! Our annual trip to Tuolumne Meadows is something Andrew and I look forward to year-round. It's such a beautiful place and we have so much fun hiking and spending time with family.

As I was going through all our pictures for this post, I realized I have entirely too many so I'll need to break it up a bit. I decided to start by sharing a hike we did that I had been on my list for many years. Unicorn Peak is one of the more prominent peaks you see when standing in the meadows. When we're on top of Lembert Dome I always look over at it and think about climbing it. Although it's technically Class 4 and can be done without a rope, my Dad brought gear for us to use (knowing I would have chickened out without having the peace of mind the rope and harness gave me). My parents did it without a rope when they were about my age (my Dad has multiple times) and I think they're nuts! I am really uneasy with drop-offs, not heights really, but when there is a sheer cliff on both sides. And that is exactly what this was like. But, I'm so happy we did it! It was a great feeling reaching the summit, and felt like a big accomplishment for me facing my fears.

We did this hike on Saturday, and during the week we had been experiencing thunderstorms in the afternoon, so we knew we needed to get an early start. After we said our goodbye to my sister, Phillip and Josh, we started our hike (about an hour later than planned). It was a beautiful day when we hit the trail, warm and sunny.

The hike takes you up to Elizabeth Lake, which is a beautiful and easy hike that my Mom had done a couple days prior with my sister, Phillip and Josh. From the lake, you start up the ridge towards Unicorn Peak. The official trail kind of ends at the tree line, but we just let my Dad lead the way. The views were beautiful as we climbed higher, and we could see a thunderstorm brewing in the distance.

Once we reached the base of the climb, we put on our harnesses and my Dad figured out a system of how to tie us together. My cousin decided not to do the climb, so it was just my Mom, Andrew, Dad and I. My Dad went first and would belay us; I was second, then my Mom, and Andrew would go last and take out the gear.

Let me tell you, I was nervous and considered hanging back with my cousin. But I knew I could do it and that I would regret not reaching the summit after hiking all that way. So I just focused and kept telling myself there was no way my Dad would let me fall and even if I did the rope would stop me. These pictures don't do it justice, but there was a sheer drop right below my feet. At some points you had to reach around and find a hold without being able to see where your hands were, and there was one little overhang you had to haul yourself over. But, I did it!! It was a huge rush when I got to my Dad. And then I immediately clipped in and hugged the rock! ha

Andrew and my Mom were next, and as they climbed, I watched the thunderheads roll in and the rain falling in the distance. At nearly 11,000ft elevation, it's not the ideal spot to hang out in a thunderstorm! Once we were all on the summit, we did a quick "summit selfie" as I like to call it, and quickly repelled down. It was quite nerve wracking watching the lightning in the not-so-far distance as my Dad was trying to collect his gear before repelling himself. But luckily, we all made it down safely.

We didn't even make it to the treeline before it started pouring down rain. We basically ran to find cover under the tree canopy (thankfully we were prepared with rain jackets) and stopped for a quick bite to eat until it let up a bit. Which it didn't, so after a quick PB&J, we were hiking again. Before long, the storm passed us and we just had a light drizzle for the remainder of the hike. Even though we made it back to camp soaking wet, it was such a fun afternoon. Since we made it back safely, the thunderstorm just makes the memory even more exciting now.

Instead of sitting in camp in the rain, we decided to head to Tenaya Lake so the boys could swim. They couldn't let a little rain break the tradition of diving in every day!

It was such a great day. I love going on adventures like this with my family! Stay tuned next week for more stories of our time in Yosemite this July!

Amazing views from the summit!
I was yelling, "Dad get down, leave the gear!"
Because behind me was thunder & lighting getting closer and closer!  
I took this panorama to show how nice it is at one end of the lake and dark and cloudy it was at the other!

Flashback Friday Link Up - You can link anything you want: favorite old posts, or share a story or event from the past. Maybe something from before you started blogging or that you just haven't had a chance to post yet. This will be a weekly linkup, at least through the end of the year. 



2 comments:

  1. Those photos are absolutely gorgeous! Especially with the storm clouds.

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  2. What a wonderful time with your family! I am very proud of you for facing your fears and conquering them!! The pics are awesome!! Have a great weekend!!!

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