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Margaux Rhymes with Fargo

Mirthful Musings, Ridiculous Ramblings, and Comical Codswallop

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Random Adventures

That time I climbed Half Dome and never blogged about it

And by “climbed”, I mean with ropes and stuff. Back in May, my high school friend and her dad invited me along to climb Snake Dike, a technically easy but absolutely beautiful  climbing route up the side of Half Dome in Yosemite. It’s not quite the vertical section of the face (though I’ll admit I’m dreaming about that one…), but I still felt super legit scaling a part of the dome that many people don’t get to see.

As a bonus, before we started climbing we also scrambled a little past the base of the route over to the area where Ansel Adams took that iconic picture of the face of Half Dome (scroll to the bottom to see our recreation of said photo). Definitely worth the extra time and effort.


 

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The casual mid-pitch photo op

The trip involved a few firsts for me:

  • camping in Yosemite (I know, I know, I’ve been there a few times before but it’s always been in a hotel or glamping)
  • getting absolutely soaked from the waterfall on the Mist Trail (I’ve been up this trail twice before but never with the water running this high. There was so much water and mist that I could have shampooed my hair and it would have all washed out no problem. In hindsidght, considering how sweaty and smelly I was, I probably should have done that.)
  • rock scrambling in the dark without my headlamp because I’m an idiot and forgot where I put it (I found it the next morning, much to my chagrin)
  • sleeping under the stars (wedged between some rocks on a mountainside)
  • climbing a multi-pitch route (i.e. a climbing route with more than one pitch, this one had eight) (I definitely didn’t need that explanation but this bullet point felt naked without it)
  • carrying two giant backpacks down the Half Dome cables – mine with all my climbing and camping gear on my back as well as another guy’s pack on my front, because he was injured and struggling to descend – and sliding/crashing/falling into multiple people (sorry everyone)

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So. Much. Water.   And this is before the wet part.
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Can you tell this is before a full (read: exhausting) day of climbing and hiking?
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If I’m just chillin at the anchors, what else am I supposed to do besides take a selfie and almost drop my phone 2000 ft?
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Ansel, how’d we do?
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Soccer is not a photogenic sport

I play pickup soccer (almost) every day at lunchtime at the SLAC gym, and a couple of weeks ago one of our regulars left SLAC, so we took a group picture and some action shots of the game. Usually we have a bigger crew, but it was an ungodly temperature outside that day.

Turns out I look pretty silly in action. On the bright side, my socks match my shirt and I’m proud of it. Anyways, I’m just gonna leave these here for your enjoyment.

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I’m looking very intense while everyone is super chill. 
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Just smilin’ and squattin’
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Again all smiles, but only an inch off the ground, if that. I missed the ball, in case you can’t quite tell.
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One more leg in there should do the trick.
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I’m not quite sure why I spend so much time bent in half, looking at the ground. It’s apparently a recurring thing.
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Pretty sure I’m not supposed to be folded over so far. Weird habits indeed.

Mount Whitney by the numbers

We made it to the top!

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Not gonna lie, the ice axe made me feel pretty badass the whole time, when it wasn’t busy saving my life.  Photo credit: Marco Lobato. He lugged his camera up 6100 ft. for this celebratory shot. What a hero. 
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Not this mountain, the higher one behind it, waaaaayyyy in the back. Turns out Mount Whitney is freakin’ tall. Photo credit: Marla McPherson. She also took the sweet shot of the moon at the top of this post.

 


Total number of hours on the mountain: 18.5

Round-trip mileage: 22

Feet of elevation gain: 6100

Highest elevation, in feet: 14,505

Number of (non life-threatening) self-arrests: 1

Depth of snow I accidentally stepped/fell into about a hundred times, in feet: 2.5

Percent of the hike for which crampons and an ice axe were needed: 60

Number of times we referenced this joke from The Oatmeal: 25 (give or take a few)

Temperature of mountain stream water in which I rinsed my feet after the hike: absolutely freakin freezing

Mickey-mouse-shaped coconut pancakes devoured the next morning: 4

Hours without a shower: 68

Aggregate hours of sleep Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights: 16.5

Number out of ten would do it again: 10


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Rest assured I was nowhere near this smiley on the way down. Photo credit: Marla McPherson
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Handstand at 14505 ft, because, why not? Although to be honest, this took every last bit of strength I had. Going back down was super rough.  Photo credit: Marco Lobato
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Fun fact: snow is super reflective and will burn to a crisp the delicate skin on underside of your chin that’s never ever seen the sun before. You’ve been warned.  Photo credit: Lorenz Haghenbeck

Good for you {Pinnacles National Park}

Will and I found out that last week was National Park Week upon our arrival to Pinnacles National Park on Sunday morning, which was filled to the brim with screaming children and lines for the bathroom. Flup.

We had to park in an overflow lot and eventually accepted what we thought was a 1.2 mile hike to the start of our intended hiking loop, in order to avoid sharing a shuttle with said children. We later found out that the approach trail was closer to 2.7 miles. And by later, I mean about 45 minutes in, when we finally found the start of the loop next to a sign pointing back they way we had come that said “Visitor’s Center: 2.7 miles”. Will was not pleased.

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Ultimately, we hiked about 9 miles on the trail, although we did do some extra exploring to find some climbing spots, so I’d round up to fifty miles or so total. Somewhere in that ballpark. At the end of the hike, we end up taking the shuttle back to our car from Bear Gulch, so I guess technically it’s more of a scribble or a poorly drawn sigma than a loop, but you get the point.

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Spelunking on the cave trail

And now for story time. One of the sections called High Peaks is quite steep and narrow, and Will and I were quite excited when made it to the top. As we passed another couple up there, the woman turned towards me and said, “Good for you.” No exclamation point, no emphasis, just a statement of fact. Being a rational human being, I assumed she was talking to her partner and kept hiking.

Will, on the other hand, looked all confused, and as we were walking away from the couple he turned to me and said, “Was she talking to you?”  A few seconds later: “Hmm, that was a bit condescending.”

Now I was the confused one, because I couldn’t think of a good reason for a total stranger to congratulate me, let alone why that would be condescending. My first and best guess was that the woman was complimenting me on the attractiveness of my boyfriend. I’ll admit he’s quite dapper. But that’s a compliment, for Will at least. Maybe I appeared to be batting out of my league? The messy hair probably didn’t help.

Will, of course, went in a totally different direction. He thought that the woman might be complimenting us for making it up the steep climb, because maybe we looked like we barely made it up the mountain? Which is, indeed, condescending. But come on, we weren’t crawling the last few meters or anything.

We ultimately came to the conclusion that the woman couldn’t have been talking to me, but it makes for some fun speculating. Will and I had a good time coming up with other reasons she may have wanted to compliment me:

  • We have an awesome camelbak (thanks to my brother)
  • It’s a beautiful day out for hiking, good for us for coming out
  • Good for us for being chipper in the face of such a steep trail
  • My hiking leggings are pretty fly (in Will’s words: “Maybe she was complimenting you on your outfit?”)

And finally, good for you for making it to the end of the post. I very much appreciate it.

#selfie fail

Will and I had a lovely weekend at Mt. Rose just north of Lake Tahoe.  The snow wasn’t great, but it was beautiful and sunny outside and we had a wonderful time skiing, watching the ski team practice slalom racing, watching others checking out Will and his sweet ski suit, and attempting to take a few selfies (#strugglebus).

A hike and a half at Heavenly

Will and I spent part of the weekend skiing at Heavenly and the other part driving, because apparently everyone and their mother and their dog had the same idea for a ski trip weekend.

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I am clearly not as good at taking pictures as Carlos.  This chairlift selfie, plus the other chairlift pic, is the extent of my photography of the weekend.  At least my new goggles look awesome.

Fortunately, even though the lot was supposedly full, we found a parking spot on Saturday morning really close to the Boulder Lodge lift because someone had already left.  Unfortunately, one of the lower lifts was closed, and it happened to be the one that we needed to take in order to get off of the bunny slope next to the Boulder Lodge.

Fortunately, it was only a 10 minute hike (up a freakin’ steep hill) and we were soon on our way to the fun stuff.  Unfortunately, everyone else wanted to have fun and the lift lines were pretty terrible.

Fortunately, the powder in the trees was awesome and we had it to ourselves for the afternoon.  Unfortunately, one of the lifts got closed early (because of wind), which we needed to take in order to get back to the other side of the mountain where we parked the car.

Fortunately, there was another lift in working order that wasn’t super far from the one we needed.  Unfortunately, it didn’t take us high enough to be able to get over the ridge to the other side.  So we ended up hiking up a blue square run for about twenty five minutes to get high enough to get to the other side of the mountain and then almost got turned around by ski patrol because they were closing the mountain at that point.

Fortunately, he let us go anyways (even though he wasn’t supposed to — what a bro).  We somehow got thoroughly turned around skiing back down and went in a giant circle, but we did find the car eventually.  By this time it was 4:45 pm, after all the lifts had closed at 4. We were pretty high up. And we weren’t even the last ones on the mountain!  Some of those bunny slopers take an incredible amount of time to ski (or, more accurately, fall) down the slope.

Anyways, I drew a map of where we hiked and skied because it was just plain ridiculous.

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Ski Trip via Pictures that aren’t mine

I’m rushing to post these pictures from my MLK ski trip before Will and I head off to the mountains yet again this weekend.  He was with his family this past weekend while I frolicked in the powdery snow at Mt. Rose with our other three roommates (whom I must thank for the use of their Instagram pics).  So off to Heavenly we go tomorrow morning!

In other news, Carlos brought two of his go-pros and as a group we got some sweet videos of us skiing/boarding through the trees.  It might take him a few months, but if the video ever gets edited I’ll share it.  I may or may not star in a 20-second clip of me tumbling down the mountain.  I fell twice all weekend and they were both caught on tape.  Classic.

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Classic car selfie.
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Carlos’s goggle game is spot-on.
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The lifts closed an hour early on Saturday due to high winds and we got stuck on the wrong side of the mountain, so we had to catch a shuttle back to the other side.  Somehow I ended up under all the skis.
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Just cheezin’
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This photo does not do justice to the strenuousness of this hike. I was dying. The snow on the other side was not super worth it, but Carlos took some sweet group pics.
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Chillin on top of ze mountain.
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Panorama pic! iPhones are fancy.
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We stayed at an AirBnB that included gourmet breakfast.  Not pictured is the individual-sized banana bread and the sighs of content that could be heard all around the table.
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We also opted to have our host cook us dinner one night.
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We stayed in just a little too long but boy, was it worth it.
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On Sunday, the lifts were closed early around 11am, so Arnaud and I went exploring in the woods behind our AirBnB.
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While the other guys took pictures of pretty mountain scenery, I chose to snap a photo of this abandoned outhouse that Arnaud and I found during our hike. #priorities
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Also these chairs. Super useful.
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And of course, a ski vacation wouldn’t be complete without a board game win from yours truly. This is a picture of Carlos (the ship) landing on my hotel and going bankrupt. Mwahahahahaaa

Bedtime Inspirations

This song is currently titled “Bedtime”, but I’m shopping around for better ideas so feel free to share.  Sung to the tune of Adele’s “Hello”.  Inspired by Will (not the content, just the idea. He actually started singing the first verse last night).
 
Hello, it’s me
I was wondering if after all this time you’d like to meet
To get ready, for bed
They say that time is fleeting
And I ain’t done much sleeping
 
Hello, can you hear me
I am in the bed and dreaming about all the sleep I’ll get
When I finally, drift off
I’ve forgotten how it felt before I had to share my bed
 
Let’s keep this distance, between us
Love you dear, good night
 
Hello from the other side
I must have tried a thousand times
To tell you I’m freezing, all the covers you stole
But come on now really, you can’t be that cold
 
Hello from the outside
At least I can say that I’ve tried
To be nice about it, in the middle we’d meet
But it don’t matter you clearly, would rather take all the sheets, you wh@%&!
 
Hello, how are you
It’s so typical of you to think about yourself as always
I hope you forgive me
For taking back my half I swear that it belongs to me
 
We have two sheets, one for each of us
But you took mine too
 
So hello from the other side
I must have tried a thousand times
To tell you I’m freezing, all the covers you stole
But come on now really, you can’t be that cold
 
Hello from the outside
At least I can say that I’ve tried
To be nice about it, in the middle we’d meet
But it don’t matter you clearly, would rather take all the sheets, you wh@%&!

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