The day started before midnight with less than 45 minutes of sleep under our belts.
The alarms went off at 11:30 PM in our June Lake campground. We woke up from what felt like a mid-day groggy nap, all of us feeling like we had only had a really long "blink" while lying down. We silently all got up, packed up the car and started our 2 hour mid-night drive towards the Yosemite Valley.
We parked in the "Wilderness Pass" parking around 2:15 AM to start our hike at 2:30. There were quite a few groggy mumbles of "what the hell are we doing right now? this is crazy," right before we started our 19 mile hike to the top of Half Dome and back.
Our first big adventure of the day (other than getting up at the crack of dawn) was experiencing the Mist Trail in the middle of the night. We knew it was going to be pretty wet so Holly did everyone a big solid and bought rain ponchos. It was a pretty comical sight, all of use hiking up the huge granite steps next to the massive falls in the deep blue coverings. If someone saw us from afar they would have had flashbacks of the Hobbits in Lord of the Rings trekking onward with their adventure through Middle Earth.
The middle half of our hike to the top was a bit of a struggle. All of us were getting hit with the combination of our lack of sleep and the mileage at hand. It was the stretch in between Little Yosemite Valley and Sub Dome that the sun slowly started to come up. It felt like it was the only thing keeping our eyes open and our feet moving forward.
Once we reached Sub Dome we saw the full light of day and we knew the end was in sight. Our spirits started to lift and we all seemed to get a second wind. All we had to do do next was climb the cables.
Once we arrived at the base of the cables and saw what we were fully up against we had to swallow our stomachs, (or at least I did) and calm our racing hearts from what we were about to do. The backside of Half Dome seemed to go straight up. There was no other way to get up to the first crest except just buckling down, putting one foot in front of the other and going for it; and at whatever cost not looking backwards.
Once everyone was up the cables it felt like we had landed on Mars. The top was covered in a shaley granite with small shrubs everywhere, not the granite-top that I expected.
After roaming around a bit we started to slow down and decided it was time for a rest/snack break... And that's when it happened.
Tom called Taylor over to the edge to help him make a cairn and to take in the scenery of El Capitan in the distance. As she went to rejoin the group Tom asked her to stay for a moment longer. The uncertainty grew in the air that there was something more at hand than just the view. The moment was kind of like right before one those confetti poppers goes off, calm with a slight tension. Everyone knows something is about to happen but unsure of how it's going to look or sound. Tom then dropped to one knee and through the excitement asked Taylor to marry him. Well metaphorically the "confetti flew!" As the moment was happening there was yelling, jumping, laughter and tears of excitement. The moment lasted for about 10 minutes before they came back to celebrate with the rest of the group.
On-top of Half Dome that morning as Taylor said yes to Tom.
The trip down was much more light hearted than our trip up. Taylor jokingly kept calling Tom her "Fee-Fee" (short for finance) and the rest of the group played along. We all had smiles on our faces as we headed down the trail with our newly engaged friends.