one hell of a day hike
11.06.2012 - 11.06.2012 90 °F
Okay, so here's my official disclaimer, I am actually blogging about my day hike up Yosemite's half dome this last week just for practice. I am going on a large vacation in September and wanted to see if I like this website's formatting and style for chronicling my adventures. Also, I haven't freely written anything for pleasure other then text messages in quite a long time and I wanted to be sure I still knew how to form a proper sentence. A much harder task then I remember! This makes anyone reading it my Guinea Pig, so thanks in advance. I will say we had quite an adventure on this trip and I hope that anyone planning to hike up half dome in the near future gets some use out of it.
I was not a participant in the planning of this hike at all, in fact I managed to invite myself onto a trip that a friend of my husbands had planned so I only had about 3 days to get myself ready. Getting ready included buying new hiking shoes (an absolute no-no). I had to get shoes because I only had my running gym shoes and while comfortable on most trails I've been on, half dome is unique in the mountaineering portion at the top of the hike and you have to be able to obtain traction on the slippery granite. I also obtained a pair of super thick wool hiking socks which were wonderful, protected my feet while never getting itchy or hot. We drove into the park the afternoon before our hike and because there was no forecasted chance of rain, we left our tent behind. <br/>
We slept the night in Crane Flat campground on an airmattress lying over a tarp in our sleeping bags. This was amazing, I had never slept under the stars before, while cool it didn't get uncomfortable. The only downside was the fine layer of dew on our bags in the morning which made for a horrible moldy smell in the car by the end of that day. Our ambitious friends wanted to be on the trail by 5am. Not being an early riser and knowing that our group consisted mostly of women, my husband suggested we try and break trail at 7am. We actually managed to hit it at 730am. I think if he had known how long we would be on the trail that day he would have pushed himself and us to be up and moving a little quicker!
The first few miles went quickly even though they seamed like they were straight up. It was, I think, natures version of a stair master. Beautiful though as you travel up 2 different waterfalls. First, Vernal Falls, is hiking up what they call the mist trail. It was not too misty this year, my husband and I have been on this trail before and renamed it the monsoon trail. We even packed along ponchos but ended up not really needing them.
The second waterfall was Nevada Fall and it seemed a shorter hike to get to the top but the granite steps were much more uneven. At the top we stopped for some brunch calories.
After this point we made it to little Yosemite Valley, a blissfully flat portion of the hike that sadly does not last very long, after which we started through some forested switchbacks. This section was deceptively long, and we kept thinking we were very close to the cables only to be disappointed by a 2 mile marker when I kept chanting to myself, just around the corner. At one of these corners we had our first bear encounter of the day, or I should say my husband had his first bear encounter. He had wandered off trail to do some business when I saw the family following us start to point at something and wander toward him, I thought we might have an embarrassing explanation of "no, that's not a bear, that's my husband" When my husband called out "bear" in a calm but firm voice. We all managed a quick glimpse but the bear quickly scrambled downhill when my husband stood up and called out "bear". <br/>
It's debatable which section of the hike was hardest but they came back to back and occured just as we were nearing top of our trail. The beautiful torture is divided between the granite stair subdome and the cable system itself. Honestly I did't know I had a real thing for heights but this is no Disney roller coaster or ski lift chair, this was mother nature, and there was no safety system if I decided to be my usual clutzy self and stepped the wrong way. Pictures certainly don't do these sections justice. Suffice to say you have to earn your beautiful hike and the right to say you made it to the top of half dome
So, all of us made it to the top, and we are alive to tell the story! I don't honestly think I will do it again as I did not really enjoy the views or the top do to my newly found fear of heights, but I'm certainly glad I've done it and I'm proud of my accomplishments. I'm estimating that we hiked about 17 miles that day and had a total of 4800 feet in elevation change. The most important things for the day were packing plenty of water, I brought a little over 4 L my husband 6L, enough food and good shoes.
Well that's it, hope you enjoyed :-)