Yosemite NP, California

October 2-6, 2017

 Yosemite was our first taste of “winter”, all summer long we had been (unintentionally) following the heat and now we were waking up to temperatures in the mid 30’s! We had trouble finding availability to camp here so we had to spend 2 nights at Hodgdon Meadow (north west in the park) and then 2 nights in the Valley.

Yosemite was our first taste of “winter”, all summer long we had been (unintentionally) following the heat and now we were waking up to temperatures in the mid 30’s! We had trouble finding availability to camp here so we had to spend 2 nights at Hodgdon Meadow (north west in the park) and then 2 nights in the Valley.

Yosemite Valley

Yosemite Valley is the heart of the park, it’s where most of the popular sought after sights are, along with the visitor center and a few cafe/eateries. There are 3 campgrounds for tent camping or RV’s and one campground strictly for tents. I couldn’t believe how busy this park was, even off peak season traffic was unbelievable. People were camping outside the tents only campground to wait for a spot to open up in the morning - say that again….people camped out to pay for a camping spot?! 

Beware of the BEARS!!!

After a summer full of nature and National Parks we finally saw 2 bears - safely from the car of course!

North Dome Trail

North Dome is an 8.8 mile round trip hike, it starts at the Porcupine Trailhead off Tioga Pass road (where we saw the bears)! This trail is unique in the fact that North Dome is lower in elevation (about 600 ft) than the start of the trail head, but there’s plenty of ups and downs along the way, a pretty tough hike with stunning views of the famous Half Dome. We took a slight detour to check out Indian Rock too. When we finished the hike and made it back to the car, it was pretty cold and started snowing, nothing heavy at all but I wasn’t expecting snow!

Half Dome

 Half Dome is definitely one of the scariest things we have done this trip and toughest hike to date. Half Dome is the hike they say “you can’t die without trying, and the one you’re most likely to die while doing”. It’s 16.5 mile round trip, with a total elevation gain of 4,800 ft, and you must obtain a permit in order to be able to climb. The permit is a lottery system that you must apply for two days before you plan to hike - you can apply by phone or online. David and I applied and were both successful in getting a permit - visiting on the off season has it’s perks. I was very nervous because I had read a lot about Half Dome and knew it was going to be a challenge. Here are some highlights from the day, sweaty palms at the ready!

Half Dome is definitely one of the scariest things we have done this trip and toughest hike to date. Half Dome is the hike they say “you can’t die without trying, and the one you’re most likely to die while doing”. It’s 16.5 mile round trip, with a total elevation gain of 4,800 ft, and you must obtain a permit in order to be able to climb. The permit is a lottery system that you must apply for two days before you plan to hike - you can apply by phone or online. David and I applied and were both successful in getting a permit - visiting on the off season has it’s perks. I was very nervous because I had read a lot about Half Dome and knew it was going to be a challenge. Here are some highlights from the day, sweaty palms at the ready!

 There's not many days on the road that have us up before the chickens but this was one of them. Alarm was set for 4:30 am and we were on the trail by 5:30 am.

There's not many days on the road that have us up before the chickens but this was one of them. Alarm was set for 4:30 am and we were on the trail by 5:30 am.

Hiking in the dark, although a little daunting, was pretty cool. We could hear the waterfalls and wildlife around us but we couldn't see sh**!

And the sun came up! You can see the top of Half Dome in the top right picture - that was where we were headed!

The Cables: this was the scary scary part! The final 400 ft ascent was on the cables, which you can see are almost vertical up the side of the mountain. You don't want to hike this without some good gloves - although gardening gloves do work! The entire time up and down you are holding on for dear life, you need to keep one hand on the cables at all times. If trafficy, as you can see in the pictures, you have to communicate with fellow hikers and help each other out. This is scary but so worth it for the views at the top and the adrenaline factor once you get down the cables!

As you can see the views were out of this world and well worth the scary cable climb!

A few more from the decent in the daylight! Top left is a natural spring for refilling water about 3/4 of the way up. And the last picture was at the end of a very challenging, but rewarding 16.5 miles/10 hour day! Big shout out and thanks to our friends Ellie and Cam who watched Moose while we embarked on this adventure - much appreciated!