Day 13 & 14 - Yosemite

Published: August 17th 2006
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Day 13&14

Yosemite National Park - Half DomeYosemite National Park - Half DomeYosemite National Park - Half Dome

View of Half Dome from the Valley.
We broke camp early the next day and headed for the Valley to try and get a campsite closer to the Half Dome trailhead in anticipation of this hike the following day. When we arrived at the reservations office, we met a woman, Naomi, outside the office. She had a pass for a site that some of the members of her group did not need as they had to leave early. We bought the pass from her and considered ourselves lucky as all the valley campgrounds were full.

After setting up camp in the Upper Pines campground, we talked with Naomi about our plans for the Half Dome hike the next day. She and her friend Karen gave us several tips and then offered two of their bikes to use for touring the Valley that afternoon. This was a great option as the park was extremely crowded and travel by car was difficult.

We went to bed early that evening and tried to get as much sleep as possible. The next morning we woke up at 5:50 and were on the trail to Half Dome by 7 AM. This strenuous, 17 mile hike can be done as a two
Yosemite National Park - BuckYosemite National Park - BuckYosemite National Park - Buck

Aaron spotted this buck on his bike ride through the Valley.
day overnight backcountry trip but many bite the bullet and do it in a single day as the backcountry permit is hard to come by.

Along the hike to the top are two waterfalls, Vernal and Nevada Falls. Vernal Falls is along the portion known as the mist trail because it sprays the trail with a fine mist which creates rainbows in the late afternoon sun. This portion of the trail has over 800 steps.

The elevation climbs 4,800 feet in the 8.5 mile trip to the top where the altitude is 8,842 feet above sea level. The last quarter mile of the grueling hike to the top is a slick granite face that at times is so steep you have to pull yourself up using the metal cables provided and hope you can make it to the next 2x4 to rest for a moment! When we finally reached the top we were both exhausted to say the least. The view from the top was well worth it as was the feeling of accomplishment.

Unfortunately this feeling quickly gave way to dread as we realized we had to make the long trip back. Hiking downhill and down
Yosemite National Park - Mist Trail StaircaseYosemite National Park - Mist Trail StaircaseYosemite National Park - Mist Trail Staircase

Johanna marches up the trails. It must be early, we still have energy!
all of the steps was brutal punishment to our knees. Two days later our legs are still aching and we look a little funny when we go down stairs!

We finished the hike at 6:30pm - 11.5 hours after our start time! Needless to say, we crashed pretty hard that night. Our tent never felt more like a bed!

Additional photos below
Photos: 11, Displayed: 11


Yosemite National Park - Vernal FallsYosemite National Park - Vernal Falls
Yosemite National Park - Vernal Falls

Aaron and Johanna pause for a photo. A good excuse for a breather!
Yosemite National Park - Half Dome TrailYosemite National Park - Half Dome Trail
Yosemite National Park - Half Dome Trail

Aaron with Half Dome in view.
Yosemite National Park - Ants MarchingYosemite National Park - Ants Marching
Yosemite National Park - Ants Marching

This picture almost puts the cables portion in perspective. Can you make out the people crawling up the rock face?
Yosemite National Park - Triumphant!Yosemite National Park - Triumphant!
Yosemite National Park - Triumphant!

We did it! (half way anyway...)
Yosemite National Park - The DescentYosemite National Park - The Descent
Yosemite National Park - The Descent

Johanna is a rock climber!
Yosemite National Park - Vernal Falls RainbowYosemite National Park - Vernal Falls Rainbow
Yosemite National Park - Vernal Falls Rainbow

A rainbow on the Mist Trail in the late afternoon sun.

18th August 2006

Hey you two - I am still just amazed at all of this - thanks so much for letting us all do this trip vicariously!!! Your photos are inspiring and exhausting!! I would love for the two of you to be MY tour guides on this trip, but I think I might just wait for you at the bottom of the Half Dome. You two are incredible! We love you and can't wait to see you and hear about it all in person!

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