A few weekends ago my college roommate James came out to visit. We went to Yosemite for four days. It was pretty sweet. Here are some pictures; I picked ones that I liked, so they’re not necessary comprehensive, and some might look very similar to each other.
On Saturday, we did a 14 mile hike from the valley floor up to Glacier Point, then down Panoramic Trail to Nevada and Vernal Falls, and back down to the valley. The first 5 miles were pretty strenuous, with a 3200′ altitude gain, but after that it was very pleasant and quite beautiful. Probably the most scenic hike in Yosemite. The domes are immense. It’s hard to appreciate their size until you happen to notice a tiny-looking tree or three on the top to put things in perspective.
On Sunday, we checked out a number of spots on Tioga Rd: Olmstead Point, Tenaya Laka, and Tuolumne Meadows.
Because we didn’t get permits in advance, we waited til Monday for our most challenging hike, up to Half Dome. It was about 17 miles roundtrip, with a 4900′ altitude gain. We made great time, about 3.5 hours, up to the base of Half Dome (the top of the sub dome). But the cables up Half Dome were crowded, and it took us an hour to get up to the top. By the way, I last did Half Dome 8 years ago, and in the intervening time I had forgotten how intense the cables are. Even now it doesn’t seem that bad… but when you’re actually on the cables, leveraging yourself up and down steep, steep granite rendered slick by thousands of human feet, your adrenaline is pumping.
Third photo here courtesy of James. On the last day, we checked out Mariposa Grove, home of some huge sequoias. That last photo is of
some moss a staghorn lichen (thanks Chris!) on a sequoia.
Yosemite is a pretty dangerous place, especially in bad weather. Luckily for us, the weather was perfect. If you want to read about some amazing search-and-rescues, though, check out the Friends of YOSAR rescue page. Read some harrowing stories here, here, here, and here. Oh, and there’s a good photo showing the steepness of the cable ascent (this shot is taken pointing almost straight down; note, if you can, how small the people and supplies at the bottom are, and imagine climbing it without a carabiner or anything else to tie you on).