Zachary Elliott Special to Valley News Years ago, my wife Laura and I decided to hike to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park without ever training. Let’s just start off by saying this together, “That was really stupid!” Yeah, we realize that now. If you don’t know, the hike is about 15 miles of switchbacks with about 5,000 feet of elevation change. It’s truly not for beginners. We should have at least walked up and down the driveway a few times before we left. I am proud to say that we finished. Even though we had to start in the dark and finish in the dark, we made it there and back again inside of 16 hours. But boy, we were exhausted… for about a month and a half. The lesson we learned: get ready for the big hill by practicing on smaller hills first.