Friday, July 9, 2010

Pinecrest: Not even half of the Hike to Half Dome

No need to worry, I have not forgotten my bucket list. In fact, I am often thinking about all the things I need to accomplish, along with what to make for dinner. So while my naturally raised leg of lamb is roasting in the oven, I shall write about one of my many preparative Half Dome hikes.

God didn’t make the world in a day and I can’t expect myself to suddenly be able to hike Half Dome in that time. I need to prepare myself by training and hiking and because I am not God, it is going to take me more than 6 days with a day of rest to do so. So besides working out, I plan on going on many hiking adventures before the big trek.

Although it is definitely not my first time hiking, Pinecrest 2010 was my first time hiking with bigger things in mind. I borrowed my friend Lindsey (I like to call her Lindsey #2 as I have two Lindsey friends and it gets very confusing) who enjoys hiking as well as my amazing company and off we went. We decided to take our two little dogs with us. The hike around Pinecrest Lake is a novice hike, that even my out of shape Pugapoo, Tayler, should be able to handle. Lindsey’s little dog, Coco, is in much better hiking condition than Tayler.

Pinecrest reminds me of my childhood. It is close to the central valley in the Sierras. My parents would rent various cabins up there in the summer time and take my brother and I along with a few friends. Even though every time I go to Pinecrest as an adult, it seems to get more and more crowded, I still enjoy the small lake, the lack of water skiers, and the fresh air.

Lindsey and I actually hiked Pinecrest Lake with our friends last year  during a camping excursion so it was nice to have that for fitness comparison purposes. The hike around the lake is only 3.9 miles with minimal climbs in elevation. However, Tayler would probably disagree with the elevation statement. Despite this fact, both Lindsey and I remembered being a little winded towards the end: A sign of my former lack of cardiovascular endurance.

The hike never veers far from the lake. Lindsey, Tayler, Coco, and I started off on the easier side. We passed multiple dogs and fishermen, and to my surprise Tayler was so excited about his first hike, he didn’t even care about the other dogs.

I must have got distracted by one of the many picturesque views of the lake, because suddenly I found myself flat on the ground, hands forward, like I was trying to swim in the dirt or pretending to be Superman. I did not yell or scream…as I just don’t have a very loud voice, but I did say ouch. Lindsey turned around, bewildered, and asked if I was okay. I got up and dusted myself off, not wanting to appear like a pansy and said yes. Both of my palms and my knee were bleeding quite a bit. I decided to clean off my wounds with dirty lake water…. I then remembered that I had borrowed Danny’s backpack and he had some Band-Aids and Neosporin in it. Perfect. I gobbed the Neosporin on my wounds and quickly deemed the Band-Aids useless as they were too small.

The hike had barely begun and my bucket list was waiting, so we continued on. My knee was pretty tore up and the wound decided to start dripping blood down my leg. I decided it made me look either tough or creepy. As I saw it, both are an advantage for two young lady hikers with dogs the size of infants.

We hiked past the half way mark where the bridge crosses the rushing water that pours into the lake. We ventured some more then took a rest to eat a snack and give the dogs some water. While we were munching on apples and salami and the dogs were fighting over treats, we realized we were sitting in about one million ants. They were the gross big kind, so we decided snack time was over and ventured on.

The second half of Pinecrest is the more difficult side, comparatively. There are lots of steps. During our hike last year, we had to stop a few times to catch our breaths. This time was a different story. Although Tayler was starting to drag his head, my head was up. Lindsey and I agreed that we felt great. We made it past the worst part with minor increases in our heart rates and headed toward the dam.

The dam is a special place for Lindsey. Years ago, Lindsey’s brother in law’s dog, Goose, had a fatal accident at the dam. He fell down the steep side of the dam. Lindsey’s brother in law could not rescue the dog because the water was flowing too rapidly from all the snow melt. Once the snow melt had died off, they went back to search for the dog and found that Goose had gone to doggy heaven. Whenever Lindsey goes on the hike she always throws a dog treat down to the spot where they had found Goose. Lindsey threw a treat on our hike, as Coco, Tayler, and I watched in silence.

We crossed another bridge from the dam to the last part of the hike. I had to carry Tayler across the bridge, because it was made of a see through grid-like metal, and he was determined not to set foot on it. I didn’t mind carrying him, as I often pretend he is my little baby. There is a short distance left after the dam with more ups and downs. We finished up the hike feeling good despite my bloody wounds.

Lindsey brought gourmet dog treats for the dogs, and as a reward for our hard work we purchased soft serve cones at the popular snack shack. It was a great day and a great hike.

For my next hike, I am going to ask Danny to pick one that is a bit more challenging. I feel like I am ready for some heavy breathing and sore muscles. However, Tayler is not ready, and he will not be coming on my next hike. Sorry Tayler. I can’t wait to breathe in some fresh mountain air and go on my next Half Dome preparation hike.


  1. I love this hike, although it always takes longer than I remember. Sorry about Lindsey's little Goose, and your knee. Now you know to pack more first aid stuff. Here is a link to a cool hiking book we have used for years:

  2. Awe, I remember the year I got to go with you guys to pinecrest! That was fun!
    Glad you had a nice hike, and hope your knee heals quickly! =)

  3. Yes Sharon, usually Danny does, but since he didn't come along and I am not organized, I was left with my small band aids and time i'll be more prepared. Thanks for the book link, looks great!

    Katrina, I thought about our trip too, I have a picture of you, me, and Lindsey all riding horses somewhere.