Strenuous, but you'll feel like a champ

Yosemite National Park Travel Blog

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Sitting on a rock ledge at the top. Check at the gaping freefall behind me and the entire valley below (where we started)

This was a 17-mile long hike up to the dome and back to the trailhead, so we had to leave around 2 a.m. from the bay area to get to Yosemite at 5 in order to finish up by sundown.  I'm not a morning person, so if you're like me, take a sniff of the cold, crisp, and fresh air and you'll feel like a million bucks, far away from the 1000000 toxins of the urban ecosystem.  If you want to be rewarded with seeing the sunrise, however, this is not the hike to take. This is a really mountainous hike (5000 ft to the dome) decorated with the famous upper and lower Yosemite falls.  The terrain varies from rock to dirt to lush vegetation.  The first few miles are pretty green, making for some nice shots of the lower falls with tree arches in the foreground.

The daunting face. The climbers look like ants from here.
  There are some really nice vantage points for checking out the falls.  One section of the trail actually starts at the base of the lower falls and wraps around it as it ascends.  My only complaint was that the trails were really decrepit; the rocks used for steps looked like they were heaped on.  Also, there are often no handrails albeit the trails are narrow, so be cautious and don't act a fool now, speedy.  After the first 3 or so miles you take a long flat trail that's highlighted with some nice areas to chill by the river, but it leads into a deceptively tough climb through a relatively dry forest.  Little eye candy here; rather the trail seems to only get tougher as it leads into a set of switchbacks (zigzags on a steep incline).  The last part of the trail going up is all rock.  By now I could see almost all of Yosemite Valley below, so we took a few moment to inhale some much-needed carbs, along with the breathtaking views.  We scaled a huge rock face before you get to half dome.  I imagined the steps that were carved into the face to be like the steps to ancient acropolis. 

At last, came the daunting face of half dome.  There are a set of cables that we had to use to scale it due to steepness.  What fascinated me was how little I minded that there the crowds.  There was definitely a sense of genuine community, if it was only fleeting, when you were struggling together.  People of all ages were supporting each other the entire way up, and you suddenly trusted the people behind you to save your ass if you lost your grip.  Also, there were at least a dozen seniors doing the climIt was a beautiful moment, even though I'll probably never talk to these people again.  Reaching the top is every bit as rewarding as I hoped it'd be.  I could see the entire Yosemite Valley, and sitting on the edge of dome with my legs hanging off the cliff, la vita รจ bella. 

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At the end of our hike, my friend and I decided it'd be a great idea to go into the water.  It was a sunny day, but we didn't realize that the water was melted icecaps and a frigid 30 degrees.  Still we went in, and it was so refreshing after sweating the entire day.  The next episode was even more idiotic: I decided to climb up a 15-foot waterfall that crashed into a mound of huge rocks.  I was wading my feet on the bank, and before I knew it I slid down the algae-covered bank into the water.  I remember frantically flailing my arms for something to grab onto, and low and behold, there was a log jammed between two rocks right before the waterfall.  It was funny at the moment due to endorphins, but as Pedro would say, whoever put that log there is my daddy. 

thenewextrememimi says:
That sounds awesome. Dangerous, yet awesome. Where on the trail did you go in the water?
Posted on: Oct 25, 2007
Eric says:
Pics of you flailing in the water? Just kidding. Glad you finally got your trip uploaded!
Posted on: Nov 18, 2005
Sitting on a rock ledge at the top…
Sitting on a rock ledge at the to…
The daunting face.  The climbers l…
The daunting face. The climbers …