If we see the word UP as an acronym for “Unlimited Potential” or “Untapped Potential” it gives even more meaning to the phrase, “UP Only!”. Each week I explore motivating ways to consider the word UP to increase our own “UP Potential”.
The Time to Prevent a Leak is BEFORE it Rains!
Yosemite in April comes with it’s extra perks and risks. The perk is less people during the week and the risk is that it might rain. We spent a week in Yosemite for John’s birthday and we didn’t let the potential for rain in the forecast damper our spirits. We made sure to pack our raincoats and happily threw in our emergency ponchos.
Regular backpackers, John and I typically aim to keep our supplies under 30 pounds — light enough to carry on our backs. This time, however, we planned to camp in luxury. We brought it all, including the big tent and a blow-up air mattress. Once we arrived at the campground, we quickly surmised that we are still car-camping rookies compared to the people around us who showed up with their second home on wheels and their flat screen TVs.
Undaunted, we figured out how to set up the big tent John inherited from a roommate (and had only used once on a summer camping trip several years ago), stored our food in the bear box, placed our camping chairs around the fire pit and then set off on our bikes to explore the grandeur of Yosemite. Our smiles were so wide they hardly fit on our faces.
On day two we decided to hike to Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls, a spectacular hike. It is only 6.5 miles round trip and we were on a mission to recreate a picture we took 4 years ago. When we got to the top, we took several photos before a squirrel finally cooperated with us to recreate this shot:
After the photo shoot, we both looked at each other and in typical John and Shay fashion, decided to explore more and see how far we could go. With the sun on our noses and a few snacks in our bellies, we hit the trail up to Half Dome.
After about an hour, dark clouds began to roll in and we heard thunder in the distance, but we had come too far to turn around now. As we gained altitude, we put on our rain coats, our beanies, and our gloves to prepare for the drop in temperature. It wasn’t long before the rain began and we were grateful we remembered to bring our ponchos.
As we reached the treeless base of Subdome, the time between the loud cracks of thunder got shorter. With lightning now a possibility, we chose to wait out under the trees before our final ascent as if to prove we did have an ounce of intelligence.
Eventually, we decided to go for it. The steep steps up the slippery rock were made more treacherous by the hail and rain so we proceeded cautiously. And as we made the last climb up into the clouds we noticed it was no longer raining, but snowing!
Through the fog, we saw the cables of Half Dome. Success! This was the end of the trail for us because the cables for the last 400 vertical feet were still down for the season. There was not much of a view, but it was amazing to feel like we were on top of the world.
We were soaking wet but still smiling when we started the 9 mile return back down. A couple miles into our descent I noticed my frozen hands were so swollen from the cold and altitude that they looked like two baseball gloves. To use them for any sort of task that required dexterity (including eating trail mix) was nearly impossible and certainly laughable.
We left in the morning for a 6.5 mile hike, but 19 miles, 4,800 vertical feet and about 9 hours later, we made it back to a very wet campsite. We were chilled to the bone, but our spirits were still high from the adventure.
I unzipped our tent and found our clothes and air mattress in a puddle of water.
Our tent had leaked! It was nearly 8 pm — it was now dark, cold and hard to see. Everything seemed wet. Luckily, we were still somewhat buoyed by the survival of our adventure so we kept a good attitude and went into problem-solving mode.
Like any good mountain man, John immediately got out the duct tape and did his best to solve the problem. After that didn’t work, we took the tarp out from underneath the tent and threw it on top along with our picnic tablecloth. This managed to keep things covered and John dug a small trench for the water to drain away from the tent. Brilliant.
Once the leaky tent was under control, we decided it would be a good night for a hot shower and a pizza! We hoped when we returned that our efforts to prevent further leaks would be successful.
The leak did stop and we continued to have a wonderful trip. Although we never seemed to get completely dry, this trip was full of fond memories and a powerful take home lesson:
The time to prevent leaks is BEFORE it rains!
In life, no matter how well we plan, unexpected challenges and mishaps are still in our future. All we can do is GEAR UP and equip ourselves the best we can with good attitudes, proper foresight and preparation.
For example, inspect your tent before you go camping, and always be sure to pack a good attitude!