Home A - Z FAQ Bookstore Art Prints Online Library Discussion Forum Muir Weather Maps Lodging About Search
CalHotels.US--online reservations now CalHotels.US Lowest Hotel Rates Guaranteed. Click Here For Yours!
Hotel photos, maps, reviews, & discount rates.

U.S. Hotels in California (Yosemite, L. A., San Francisco ), AL, AK, AR, AS, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, FM, GA, GU, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OK, NV, MH, MP, NM, NC, ND, OH, OR, PA, PR, PW, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, VI WA, WV, WI, WY

[Yosemite]

Route ideas -3/4 nights backpack in Yosemite? (1st timers)

Hiking, backpacking, running, biking, climbing, rafting, and other human-powered activities in Yosemite National Park

Moderators: Wickett, dan

Route ideas -3/4 nights backpack in Yosemite? (1st timers)

Postby laurenlisa721 » Sat Dec 17, 2016 5:19 pm

Hi there!

My husband and I are planning a trip to California in 2017 and looking for some help in setting our plans. I'd appreciate any information/tips you can provide as to our potential route, camp sites, and dates of travel.

As for the route - we are considering doing Cathedral Lakes --> Sunrise Trail --> Clouds Rest --> Half Dome --> then either Mist Trail or Panorama Trail. We'd plan to keep it to about 7-8 miles a day to avoid over taking on too much (if we decide to keep pressing on then we will...but don't want to bite off more than we can chew).

Some background info: we are hikers, in relatively good shape, but have never back packed before. (We have camped and will do a short overnight in our area before leaving to Yosemite but just a 1 day thing...to test out gear...so it's nothing that will give us a ton of experience, but it's something). We have hiked some challenging trails, and done 10-12 miles in a day (only with day packs though) so I'm not concerned with our abilities - so long as there is no snow/ice to deal with. We have not set a specific month, yet, but are thinking spring/early summer (June or early July?) because we would like to see waterfalls, wild flowers, and hopefully not be too freezing at night. If we go after school lets out, we will plan to be in the park during the week, rather than the weekends.

Questions:
1. Does our plan look reasonable for 4 nights? If we only have 3 nights, should we modify it by just cutting out Cathedral Lakes or should we look at another route entirely?
2. Should we do the Panorama trail or the Mist trail? I'm partial to the Panorama trail but also want to see the 4 waterfalls on the Mist trail. I was thinking of maybe hiking out the Panorama trail and then doing the Mist trail as an out and back on either our first day in the park (pre-backpack) as a way to acclimate ourselves or doing it after the backpack (if we're up to it).
3. What month? We were initially planning on mid-June or early July (just after the 4th of July). We're partial to July to hopefully avoid the mosquitoes but have considered June to avoid crowds. Thoughts?
4. Any good suggestions for camp sites on the above trails?
5. Do people hike Half Dome with their full pack on (sounds like not the best idea) or do they just leave packs at the bottom of the dome and pick them up upon return?

Thanks so much for all of your help!
laurenlisa721
Newbie
Newbie
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Dec 17, 2016 4:41 pm

Re: Route ideas -3/4 nights backpack in Yosemite? (1st timer

Postby AlmostThere » Sat Dec 17, 2016 6:25 pm

laurenlisa721 wrote:Some background info: we are hikers, in relatively good shape, but have never back packed before. (We have camped and will do a short overnight in our area before leaving to Yosemite but just a 1 day thing...to test out gear...so it's nothing that will give us a ton of experience, but it's something). We have hiked some challenging trails, and done 10-12 miles in a day (only with day packs though) so I'm not concerned with our abilities - so long as there is no snow/ice to deal with. We have not set a specific month, yet, but are thinking spring/early summer (June or early July?) because we would like to see waterfalls, wild flowers, and hopefully not be too freezing at night. If we go after school lets out, we will plan to be in the park during the week, rather than the weekends.

Questions:
1. Does our plan look reasonable for 4 nights? If we only have 3 nights, should we modify it by just cutting out Cathedral Lakes or should we look at another route entirely?
2. Should we do the Panorama trail or the Mist trail? I'm partial to the Panorama trail but also want to see the 4 waterfalls on the Mist trail. I was thinking of maybe hiking out the Panorama trail and then doing the Mist trail as an out and back on either our first day in the park (pre-backpack) as a way to acclimate ourselves or doing it after the backpack (if we're up to it).
3. What month? We were initially planning on mid-June or early July (just after the 4th of July). We're partial to July to hopefully avoid the mosquitoes but have considered June to avoid crowds. Thoughts?
4. Any good suggestions for camp sites on the above trails?
5. Do people hike Half Dome with their full pack on (sounds like not the best idea) or do they just leave packs at the bottom of the dome and pick them up upon return?


1. Reasonable in terms of mileage, if you are fit enough. That's subjective, since I know people who have done this route in a single day. Others who take longer than you're planning. You'll probably be fine if you already hike.
2. You are going to end up on Glacier Point if you do the Panorama -- that's not what you mean. The real choice is between the John Muir switchbacks and the Mist Trail. If going down huge stone steps wet with snowmelt, getting soaked by a waterfall, and getting jostled by hordes of tourists is okay with you, the Mist is a bit shorter. The switchbacks are the route the horses take, slightly longer, with slightly different views -- the best view of Nevada Falls is from the top of those switchbacks. You'll miss nothing by doing them since it rejoins the Mist Trail before descending to the Happy Isles trailhead and the waterfall views are the same.
3. You are not going to avoid crowds or mosquitoes regardless. June and July are spring, not summer, when we've had a fairly average snow year, and it's looking much nicer in terms of snow than it's been the previous drought years we've had. To avoid mosquitoes you go in September. To avoid crowds, go in December and January -- you also avoid mosquitoes because there's snow and ice. To avoid crowds in spring and summer, you go where the crowds don't -- to do that you avoid the valley, Tuolumne Meadows, the JMT, Half Dome, and Clouds Rest area -- which is exactly where you plan to be, so you can anticipate that there will be plenty of people and also, plenty of horribly habituated bears, meaning strict adherence to the food storage and handling rules on the Yosemite website should be observed.
4. There are plenty of really obvious well used campsites -- to be in line with the park rules and Leave No Trace ethic, use them, and avoid areas that the rangers tell you to avoid. There are a ton of illegal fire rings and overused areas that are now closed to camping thanks to that overuse, the rangers will give you information on what they expect when you pick up the permit.
5. Half Dome consists of the subdome, which is switchbacks, and the main dome, which has the cables. I would leave the packs on the subdome instead of all the way at the bottom as there are plenty of people around. Bears steal full backpacks but not if there are people around. (Actually, I would never go to Half Dome, but that's because I hate lines, hate being on cables with idiots and terrified people and jerks, and think the thing is so overrated and overpopulated that it shouldn't be called wilderness -- but I digress.)

If you don't get permits for Half Dome (that's not an automatic thing - read the instructions on how to get it on the wilderness permit) don't be too torn up about it. Nearly every other big tall rock you can find -- Hoffman, Watkins, North Dome, Clouds Rest, Moraine Dome, El Capitan, Eagle Peak, etc. -- will be superior in at least two ways over the Half Dome experience. No cables, no permit, no lines, no problems. The best views in the park are OF Half Dome, not from it.

Don't forget your bear canister has to contain all food, trash, hygiene items, anything with a scent -- mandatory to have one, leave enough room in the backpack for it, use it.
AlmostThere
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 1695
Joined: Fri May 15, 2009 6:57 pm
Location: Central Valley California

Re: Route ideas -3/4 nights backpack in Yosemite? (1st timer

Postby balzaccom » Sat Dec 17, 2016 7:36 pm

AT has given you great advice. One thing I would ass is that the trails you are considering are elevation--over 8,000 feet and more. So if you've never hiked at this altitudes, you'll find yourself short of breath and maybe worse...so take it easy the first couple of days and stay hydrated.
Check out our website and blog at: http://sites.google.com/site/backpackthesierra/home
balzaccom
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 1173
Joined: Sat Nov 22, 2008 7:51 am
Location: Napa CA

Re: Route ideas -3/4 nights backpack in Yosemite? (1st timer

Postby transponster » Sat Dec 17, 2016 10:04 pm

On this route, with your desired mileage, I'd spend the first night at one of the Cathedral lakes, which are only a few miles in. The second night, it would be about 7 or 8 miles to Sunrise lakes. There are 3 lakes, all are very nice and have plenty of campsites, but the lower one (which you will encounter last coming from Cathedral) will be the most crowded. The third night, after going over Clouds Rest, you will probably end up camping above the John Muir trail junction in the Sunrise creek area (9ish miles that day). Then the 4th day you would summit Half Dome and then either you could hike out (via Mist or JMT) that same day, or spend a 4th night in the same area or in Little Yosemite Valley.

Yes there are a lot of people on this route, but you will have a great time. The JMT from Cathedral Lakes to Sunrise Lakes is just amazingly beautiful, as is Clouds Rest.
transponster
Regular
Regular
 
Posts: 17
Joined: Thu Jun 04, 2015 6:54 pm

Re: Route ideas -3/4 nights backpack in Yosemite? (1st timer

Postby laurenlisa721 » Sun Dec 18, 2016 7:07 pm

AlmostThere wrote:
laurenlisa721 wrote:2. You are going to end up on Glacier Point if you do the Panorama -- that's not what you mean. The real choice is between the John Muir switchbacks and the Mist Trail.


Thanks for the replies & information! AT - what do you mean about not going to Glacier Point (as, that was where I was planning we'd end up if we did Panorama). It looks like there's parking there...is there no overnight parking? After more research, I'm was really hoping to get to Glacier Point and Panorama Point so hoping there's a way I can make this work.

Also - we are now thinking late July because a friend is getting married in June which messes with our original plans. I know you all said that it will be busy but how busy are we talking? We hike in the ADKs (46ers) all the time in the high season, and have done Acadia, some AT sections, etc also in the high season so are generally used to having other people on trail with us. We don't mind seeing other people as we hike but we do mind feeling like we're going to be overrun by people / not having the ability to have a few minutes to ourselves.

Thanks so much for the help!
laurenlisa721
Newbie
Newbie
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Dec 17, 2016 4:41 pm

Re: Route ideas -3/4 nights backpack in Yosemite? (1st timer

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Dec 18, 2016 7:16 pm

I assumed you wanted to exit at Happy Isles instead of Glacier Point, as it will complicate things -- it'll add another bus ride to your trip that may not mesh with your schedule, or require you to hike all the way down the four mile trail and all the way back to the trailhead parking in the valley floor. I suppose you might have friends with another car or perhaps extra days at the start to do all the bus riding needed? It would require driving up to the Glacier Point parking area, then hiking or taking the tour bus back to the valley floor, then getting on the YARTS for the Tuolumne Pass area -- which may or may not have a second run during the day, the run I am aware of starts at bus stop 13B in Curry Village aka Half Dome Village. You'd get a night in the backpacker camp for 5/person regardless, and if you show up in Tuolumne Meadows by bus you can stay in the backpacker camp there regardless of whether you get there in time to pick up your permit. So perhaps you have those pieces worked out?

Exiting Happy Isles simplifies things, quite a bit.

By "crowded" I mean hiking along the trails and meeting an ongoing stream of people day hiking and backpacking, particularly between the turnoff to Half Dome and Happy Isles. Clouds Rest has seen a dramatic uptick in popularity now that the permit system regularly thwarts Half Dome hopefuls. I do mean ONGOING. And groups are limited to 15 for backpacking, but there are a square bajillion of hikers who only day hike, and day groups can be 35 people big. It's as crowded as the valley floor itself, and the crowd thins as you go farther from the trailhead, but it's definitely the most crowded patch of "wilderness" in California other than the Giant Forest over yonder in SEKI. I've long since limited my hiking on these trails to very early in the morning, as being elbowed off the Mist Trail has been fatal at least once in the past decade, and there are places where I can have a square ten miles of granite and marmot-ridden alpine complete with lakes all to myself so I tend to go there and leave the tourist traps alone.

And climbing that steeply in open full sun ain't my cup of tea. For me, hiking in the full sun in July in lower elevation parts of Yosemite is a risk of heat exhaustion, if not heat stroke, as I'm sensitive to heat in general. I also sunburn if I think about the sun -- I had to pause to apply sunscreen typing that sentence (I'm mostly kidding here, but only mostly) -- and the granite rockwork in the trails in the open treeless areas makes it hard to hike with a full pack at 3 pm. Thus I am far more likely to drive straight to 8000 ft elevation or higher to start hiking, and stay off the Panorama/Ilillouette trails, if the itinerary would have me hiking them in the afternoon.
AlmostThere
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 1695
Joined: Fri May 15, 2009 6:57 pm
Location: Central Valley California

Re: Route ideas -3/4 nights backpack in Yosemite? (1st timer

Postby laurenlisa721 » Sun Dec 18, 2016 7:29 pm

AT - I don't have those things simplified and thinking I misread something! What we were thinking was to park at the 4 Mile Trail Head then catch a shuttle to Cathedral Lake and then hike down to the car (at the 4 Mile Trail Head). I thought there was a shuttle stop near the 4 Mile Trail Head? If not, then it sounds like we'd have to walk to the shuttle which may not be so wonderful at that point. I just have my heart set on Glacier Point & Panorama Point so trying to figure out a way to get that as well as Clouds Rest & Cathedral Lakes. Thoughts? (or, is the only option that which you listed?).
laurenlisa721
Newbie
Newbie
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Dec 17, 2016 4:41 pm

Re: Route ideas -3/4 nights backpack in Yosemite? (1st timer

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Dec 18, 2016 7:38 pm

There's no overnight parking at the 4 mile trailhead. And I suspect, unless you plan the last night's camp for somewhere upstream from the trail on Ilillouette Creek, that last four miles will be a death march. I've done the Happy Isles - Panorama - Glacier Point - Four Mile Trail as a day hike - if the shuttle is full, it doesn't stop, and if it's late enough in the day they are less frequent, and rather than wait that last half an hour in the dark at a stop without a bench we hiked on to the car at Curry Village. It was a gnarly fifteen miles of walking. We weren't in good enough shape for that. Don't try it at the end of a backpacking trip.

You aren't going to catch a shuttle to Cathedral trailhead. You may catch a shuttle to the bus stop where YARTS picks people up and takes them to Tuolumne Meadows an hour away, where the Cathedral trailhead is. Probably not since YARTS picks up at 8:30 am and the shuttle schedule is less regular in the wee hours at the start and end of the day. In Yosemite there are free area specific shuttles, and for-fee busses to take you between the areas of the park with a less regular schedule. You may have one chance per day to get that bus to the Cathedral trailhead. You'll need to get to Tuolumne Meadows ranger station FIRST, to pick up the permit in person, and then go to the trailhead, if you don't manage a reserved permit.

I would do it as a day hike, the other direction -- ride the tour bus up to Glacier Point and day hike back down the Panorama trail or the four mile trail. Walking around at Glacier Point is much nicer without the afternoon crowds.
AlmostThere
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 1695
Joined: Fri May 15, 2009 6:57 pm
Location: Central Valley California

Re: Route ideas -3/4 nights backpack in Yosemite? (1st timer

Postby laurenlisa721 » Sun Dec 18, 2016 7:51 pm

AT - thanks for the great input! We're going to revise and just end at Happy Isles...and then see about adding another 1/2 day in the park to do Glacier Point / Panorama Point before we head out....unless, you think there is a far better 1/2 day hike we can do on our way out of the park (we're heading to Lake Tahoe via the east side of the park)??
Thank you!
laurenlisa721
Newbie
Newbie
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Dec 17, 2016 4:41 pm

Re: Route ideas -3/4 nights backpack in Yosemite? (1st timer

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Dec 18, 2016 8:03 pm

Here is the page with links to the YARTS and the hikers bus and the shuttles. You have to navigate a system to leave the car and hike back to it.
http://www.travelyosemite.com/discover/ ... /shuttles/

If you are sticking with the original plan, I highly recommend leaving the car in valley trailhead parking and taking the YARTS to Tuolumne Meadows, using the backpacker camp the night before your bus ride to the trailhead. Whether you return via Happy Isles or 4 mile trail is immaterial -- they are most strict on the entry point and on food storage. They are not so strict on the exit point, and so if you get to the junction of the JMT and the Mist Trail at the top of Nevada Falls, and you feel like going the extra 13 miles, go for it. Or drop the two miles down getting the Vernal Falls shower on the way, and exit at Happy Isles. Make it depend on the state of your feet at the trail junction.

Given you want to go out via 120/395 to Tahoe, however, you could do the opposite -- leave the car in Tuolumne Meadows and YARTS back down to Happy Isles, and hike up to the car. That would save you an extra 1 -1.5 hours of driving. Sticking around to hike Panorama might not be in the cards but a more spectacular six mile peak is attainable from the Tioga Gate before you leave the park -- Mt Dana is the tallest walk-up peak in the park, and the second tallest peak in general. Superior to the hikes in the valley, IMO, in some respects. There is also Mt Hoffman, a similar hike to a shorter peak that is the geographical center of the park, and there is Saddlebag Lakes loop -- a hike with a ferry at the beginning and end, one of those great places to take beginner backpackers as the walking is easy way up above 10,000 feet in beautiful alpine lakes full of trout. Not in the park, but just outside it.

I usually suggest to people that they not try to backpack for their first time to Yosemite. Too many excellent day trips to be had. Just walking around the valley floor itself is superlative scenery. Day hiking Yosemite Falls, Vernal/Nevada Falls, Four Mile Trail, Sentinel/Taft, etc and then going to Tuolumne Meadows, to do Lyell Canyon, Pothole Dome, Waterwheel Falls, Lembert Dome, Gaylor Lakes/Peak, Mono Pass, Mt Dana, Saddlebag, Mono Lake, and then there's Bodie, and a zillion other things along 395.... it's really hard to narrow it down once I start.
AlmostThere
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 1695
Joined: Fri May 15, 2009 6:57 pm
Location: Central Valley California

Re: Route ideas -3/4 nights backpack in Yosemite? (1st timer

Postby laurenlisa721 » Sun Dec 18, 2016 8:12 pm

Why do you like day hiking better for first time Yosemite visitors? My thought was we would get more hiking (and less driving/parking frustration) in if we did a backpack situation. You know far better so would love to hear your thoughts.

For a bit more info - we are heading from Sequoia to Yosemite to Lake Tahoe (via the east side). Any suggestions for this span is very appreciated. We really want to backpack but if day hikes are better we'll think about that for sure!
laurenlisa721
Newbie
Newbie
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Dec 17, 2016 4:41 pm

Re: Route ideas -3/4 nights backpack in Yosemite? (1st timer

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Dec 18, 2016 8:26 pm

Everyone wants to do Sequoia, Kings and Yosemite. Seems to me I was just answering questions someone else with that exact plan just last week.

My recommendations usually include simplifying things. If you want superlative backpacking with an alpine flavor, without the incredibly food-crazy bears, do the trails in SEKI instead of Yosemite. The Lakes Trail and Alta Peak/Meadow are awesome day destinations for the ambitious and strong day hiker. If you want less people the SEKI backcountry wins again. If you want the iconic splendor of granite domes and walls and the incredible waterfalls, plus some sequoias, skip SEKI and go to Yosemite, visit Mariposa Grove, visit and day hike trails in the valley, visit Tuolumne Meadows for a couple days.

I don't know how many days total you have, but you can easily spend them in one park and not see everything. If you stick to the schedule you have, you'll burn a day driving down from Sequoia and up to Yosemite, and get there late in the day.

If I were you, I would go straight to Yosemite. Ride the shuttles and buses around and day hike the crap out of everything, visit the visitor centers, play in the sequoias, take pictures of everything. Go over Tioga and spend any extra time visiting Mono Lake, take a canoe ride in the tufas, then driving north, visiting Hoover Wilderness and other side trips as you go. Save Sequoia/Kings for another time when you can spend a whole week backpacking -- there are some great places to go wild in there.
AlmostThere
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 1695
Joined: Fri May 15, 2009 6:57 pm
Location: Central Valley California

Re: Route ideas -3/4 nights backpack in Yosemite? (1st timer

Postby balzaccom » Sun Dec 18, 2016 9:16 pm

Excellent advice, especially if you don't want to spend most of your time driving from one place to another. There are at least three really spectacular parts of Yosemite with car access: Glacier Point, Yosemite Valley, and Tuolumne Meadows. Each one has at least a full day, if not more, of stunning day hikes. It takes about an hour to drive to Glacier Point form Yosemite Valley. It's a longer drive from the Valley to Tuolumne Meadows. If you just spend three days in Yosemite trying to see those three amazing places, you'll still be spending a lot of time in your car. SEKI is a couple of hours South of Yosemite...but there's just as much driving in those parks as well.

Pick one and do it right, rather than trying to see everything in all the parks...and going home with memories of your steering wheel and sun visor.
Check out our website and blog at: http://sites.google.com/site/backpackthesierra/home
balzaccom
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 1173
Joined: Sat Nov 22, 2008 7:51 am
Location: Napa CA

Re: Route ideas -3/4 nights backpack in Yosemite? (1st timer

Postby Phil » Mon Dec 19, 2016 7:19 pm

No shortage of great advice, but I would just add that you should probably try to spend more than one night in advance becoming familiar with your gear and set up. Screw some things up, learn how to fix them. Go through setting up your equipment in the dark, alone, together, and by headlamp only. Know how to use and maintain your water filtration system and stove. Have a lousy night's sleep, figure out why that was and adjust. You don't necessarily have to go camping if you have a backyard, or even a living room floor and a small deck. If you day hike, take the full rig out for a few test runs so that you can learn how to pack and adjust your loads, as well as get used to how it all feels. Figure out what you really need and what you can do without when you really think about it (most new backpackers have a strong tendency to overpack EVERYTHING!). Maybe most importantly, if possible, get your bear cans in advance and practice packing them until you get it right, not on-the-fly in the back of the car or at the trailhead.

Sorting out your route is just a small part of the planning process. The sooner you get the logistics of everything else that makes you more savvy, prepared, and comfortable, the better the trip is going to be. And the more often you practice when it doesn't matter, the better you'll be able to deal with it when it does...second nature.

Lastly- blow off HD. If you go to the top of CR, you have absolutely no reason to bother at all.
Phil
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 894
Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2015 5:02 am
Location: Healdsburg, Ca

Re: Route ideas -3/4 nights backpack in Yosemite? (1st timer

Postby CarolE » Tue Dec 27, 2016 4:52 pm

I did 2 short trips in Yosemite last year as I'm just getting back into Backpacking.
trip 1: June 6-9
Curry Village overnight-
Day 1: up early and headed up to Little Yosemite Valley via the JMT (got it ridiculously early so went for a day hike up towards Merced)
Day 2: up early and left tent & gear at LYV and just took pack with basics up Half Dome (w/permit). I absolutely enjoyed it and as I got there early (~830am) I shared the cables with only around 10 others, saw lots of people on the way down but I thought it was inspirational to watch the "Pilgrimage". I then headed up Clouds Rest for a quick stop and then back to LYV. That was abit of a long feeling day as it was stinking hot. While the view from the top of Cloud's Rest is pretty cool following my next trip I can say that didn't think the hike up from the Valley side is half as interesting as coming from the Tenaya side (trip 2). The downhill trudge to LYV feels like the longest few miles EVER as it's big wide switchbacks.
Day 3: Packed up out of LYV and headed up the Panorama to Glacier Point and then down 4 mile and trudged into Yosemite (missed all shuttles). Beautiful trail and, while busy, I'm glad I did it. Again, freaking hot. Mad me re-assess my clothing (and need for sun sleeves/gloves) for my next trip.
In summary- this was a good trip to just try out hiking and easy camping in a "well supervised" situation. Got to try out packing weight in and out but not around. Not many mosquitos out but there was still snow on the other side of Clouds rest so pretty early conditions due to lots of late melt up higher.

Trip 2: I took what I learned from Trip 1 and went back with a new plan. A friend came this time. We had a spectacular time/route. July ~6-10
Overnighted at Tuolomne Lodge (would skip that next time if I could get in as far as Cathedral Lake to camp instead)
Day 1: Cathedral Lake to Middle Sunrise Lake (glad we didn't do lower as the Mosquitos were epic, apparently). We camped a bit away from the lake so we could get at the water but stay away from the worst of the Squeeters.
Day 2: Middles Sunrise Lake to Little Yosemite Valley via Clouds Rest (freaking awesome from this side as you climb up the spine and then back down the other side towards the Valley). Again, super hot/brilliant sun (which I'm no good with). We got to Sunrise Creek/JMT Jct around 330 pm and soaked in the water which revived me enough to make the decision to go for Half Dome (permits again) while my friend headed to camp. I stashed my gear off trail in a garbage bag, with the bear canister well away, and took my pack and some essentials and headed up. Amazing how fast you can go once you dump 15-20 lbs! As it was late in the day the trail was shading in in places so not too bad at all to hike. When I hit the Cables I again only had to share the cables with a few others and saw almost nobody on the shady fast hike back to my gear. I got into LYV at 630. Bear Boxes for food.
Day 3: Magnificent! LYV to Merced Lake. A hot hike dream as it followed water for the majority of the way so we did lots of cooldowns and breaks by the water. Merced High Sierra Campsite was great (flush toilet even!) and, while we didn't eat there you can order ahead and eat with their guests, thereby eliminating some weight to be carried. The had Bear Boxes too.
Day 4: On to Vogelsang High Sierra. Uphill hike but so so beautiful! We camped just past the Vogelsang High Sierra Camp which was still closed but would be open in late July so you could also do food there. Bear Boxes. Over 10000' so a chance to see how I did with some elevation before getting myself in deeper on my next trip. Did great.
Day 5: up early and down to Tuolomne by 11am for a quick shower (snuck in to the Lodge showers as we didn't feel bad as we had stayed there at the start). You can also stop for a swim in the River near the Lodge.
Summary: I'd go back and do this trip anytime, HUGE bang for the buck stuff. Half Dome was skippable if the weather (afternoon storms are common) or fatigue didn't work out but I'm glad I went for it. It's still very "slack country" so, while you can certainly get into trouble as a newbie there's a greater chance of kind strangers to help and professional options (High Sierra Camp food) to bail you out abit.
One warning- my buddy on the second trip hiked alot but hadn't practiced with weight. I worked my way up to full weight (28lbs) over 3 months. He certainly did the trip well but said he sure had wished that he'd practiced with weight prior and wouldn't make that mistake again.
Enjoy your trip and feel free to let me know if you'd like to chat more!
CarolE
Regular
Regular
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2015 8:36 pm

Next

Return to Yosemite Hiking & Backpacking

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests