Before publicly announcing the epic physical challenge I’m taking on this summer and fall, I needed to test myself.

I’ve come a long way since last December.  I’ve lost nearly 90lbs, reversed diabetes and so on.  It’s great progress, but I really didn’t know what my body was capable of.  

So I decided to apply for a 48 hour lottery permit to hike the legendary Half Dome in Yosemite National Park and was surprised to actually get it. The permit was only good for last Friday, so off I went to take this challenge to take a measure of where I was at physically and mentally. I decided to go for it. 

drove 4.5 hours to Yosemite, stopping at REI outfitters to get some last minute gear – new shoes, socks, hat and gators. I packed my gear that night and managed to get about 4 hours of sleep.  I woke up at about 4:30am, drove to the base of the mountain and drank 80oz of water.

Then, it was time for a hearty, Whole Food Plant-Based breakfast!

  • Can of Cannellini beans with shredded carrots seasoned with Cumin, Smoked Paprika, Garlic Powder
  • ½ tray Blueberries
  • ½ tray Blackberries
  • 3 Dates
  • 2 bananas 
  • 4oz fresh lentil and mung bean sprouts

I brought 140oz water and got another 40 on the way from a guy with a filter pumping it from a stream.  We started at 7:15 and was at the base of Half Dome cables at 1:15 got back at 8:15 13 hours later.


  • Hike Distance:  14.2 miles (22.7 km) round trip via Mist Trail
  • 16.5 miles (26.5 km) round trip via John Muir Trail
  • Half Dome Elevation:  8,842 feet (2,695 meters)
  • Total Elevation Gain:  4,800 feet (1,600 meters) from Yosemite Valley
  • Hiking Time:  10 – 14 hours
  • Difficulty:  Extreme. It’s long, steep at the beginning and end, and more dangerous than most Yosemite hikes. It’s probably the most difficult of all Yosemite day hikes. On the traditional 1 to 10 scale, this one rates an 11.
  • Insanity Factor: 9 out of 10.  Wait ’til you get to the cables, and you’ll see.

Here I am starting the hike:


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Look at this epic view from the top of a water fall!

Here I am at the base of one of the cable sections.  Look how steep that is!!
This climb challenged my endurance, my physical ability, and required the right kind of preparation, but most of all it challenged my mind.
Never in a million years would I have imagined I would not only be hiking, but standing at 8,840 ft of elevation knowing that I pushed through every physical and mental barrier to get there. It was an adventure, and one I didn’t know if I’d be able to complete, but I did and I feel alive!

I owe a big thank you to this inspiring community of thrivers. Your support, your encouragement, and your own commitment to thriving is what keeps me going and pushing through these challenges. To be able to show others what is possible and that we can escape the prisons we put ourselves into is a reward in itself.

Hearing from just one person that they decided to take a step in the direction of fitness and health is all I needed to make it up this mountain. That reward is what’s going to get me through my next BIG challenge, too.

I’m going to need your continued help and inspiration to make it through the big one. 

Stay tuned for fun ways you can participate in the challenge I’m announcing soon!

How will you be active this week? Share with me in the comments below.