Leadership Auburn Celebrated their graduation of the Class of 2013 tonight (Friday June 28, 2013) at Gold Hill Gardens in Newcastle. See the You Tube video of Class member Don Ales speaking on behalf of his classmates: http://youtu.be/1Oa0vbjttgM
Had so much fun today chasing my rock climbing buddy Gordy as a film crew from South Africa filmed him for an episode of Salomon Running TV based in France. http://youtu.be/D3Ic86Yna3g
I have been plotting to climb the cables on Yosemite’s Half Dome for about 2 years. About the time permits were required to access the cables, I started entering the lottery to win the permits. I thought this was my year. I entered for 7 different dates and did not win any, but 3 of my friends entered and amazingly, won for the same day, allowing 18 of us to climb together on Monday June 17th, 2013.
Rising nearly 5,000 feet above Yosemite Valley and 8,800 feet above sea level, Half Dome is a Yosemite icon and a great challenge to many hikers. Despite an 1865 report declaring that it was “perfectly inaccessible, being probably the only one of the prominent points about the Yosemite which never has been, and never will be, trodden by human foot,” George Anderson reached the summit in 1875, in the process laying the predecessor to today’s cable route.
Today, thousands of people reach the summit. For most, it is an exciting, arduous hike; for a few, it becomes more of an adventure than they wanted. Indeed, park rangers assist hundreds of people on the Half Dome trail every summer.
The 16-mile round-trip hike to Half Dome is not for you if you’re out of shape or unprepared. You will be gaining elevation (for a total of 4,800 feet) most of your way to the top of Half Dome. Most would say the reward is worth the effort. Along the way, you’ll see outstanding views of Vernal and Nevada Falls, Liberty Cap, Half Dome, and–from the shoulder and summit–panoramic views of Yosemite Valley and the High Sierra.
Most hikers take 10 to 12 hours to hike to Half Dome and back; some take longer. If you plan on hiking during the day, it’s smart to leave around sunrise (or earlier) we met at Happy Isles at 6am.
The most famous–or infamous–part of the hike is the ascent up the cables. The two metal cables allow hikers to climb the last 400 feet to the summit without rock climbing equipment. Since 1919, relatively few people have fallen and died on the cables. However, injuries are not uncommon for those acting irresponsibly.
Coming down the cables was my favorite part, it felt much like repelling. The hardest part was the trip back to base camp, being already tired from sleeping in a strange bed the night before, getting up early, having not enough coffee, making the climb up 4,800 feet and then back down the countless granite steps is exhausting. I wouldn’t trade the experience of making the hike with my husband and sons and friends for many things. The view was truly amazing.
I met Mr. Yamasaki 19-years ago when I first worked at AM950 KAHI Radio as the News Director. My morning show partner Dan Songer, truly the Voice of the Foothills, had a local expert in each morning to take calls and talk like like the good friends that everyone seemed to be to Dan. Don Yamasaki was the Garden Guru and Don would call his friend Dan Yamasaki each Wednesday morning. Dan would answer Dan’s questions and take callers questions and time would fly by. After Dan left the radio station to retire closer to his daughter and grandchildren in Kentucky, Don Yamasaki began hosting his own show on Saturday mornings with a full hour of the Garden Guru. Don invited his wife Cherrie to co-host and the pair have been local KAHI Radio personalities ever since.
Don began his horticulture education working on his parents plum farm off Kemper road many years ago. Don’s dad began growing decorative plants and soon moved the nursery to HWY 49 where it became the Yamasaki Nursery where Don, after returning from Ca-Poly with a Horticulture degree began helping Auburnites make beautiful gardens, fight pests and enjoy there little piece of heaven in the outdoors.
Don is the most humble man but the community needs to know what a kind and generous man he is also. Don prepared every show and gave the best advice and he cares about people. Mr. Yamasaki stopped by the station Tuesday to drop off some gardening books, as gifts, to staff at the station. I had the privilege of getting a horticulture and history lesson from Mr. Yamasaki. I hope you enjoy the message and the sound of the Garden Guru one more time. Don and Cherrie’s last show will be this Saturday at 9am June 8, 2013. You still may be able to catch Don shopping at the Saturday morning Farmer’s Market or around town running errands and with a chuckle, he will be happy to answer your gardening questions. We will miss you Don Yamasaki.