Wednesday, August 10, 2016

More pics of an epic hike

Here's some more pictures from the hike to Half Dome.  You start on the Mist Trail and pass two waterfalls, Vernal and Nevada.  Well, pass is an easy way to say it.  It's a pretty steep ascent, up carved in steps, that can get slippery depending on how much water is flowing and how much wind is blowing it around, hence the name Mist Trail.  This is at the early stage of the hike after some normal inclined switchbacks.  It's a proper workout, and for a lot of people, plenty of hiking on the day.  I was feeling fresh, with a full backpack of food, water and tent, and somehow cruised up, passing people with the scent of a summit to keep me going.
Hiking some steep steps up to Vernal Falls, on the way to Half Dome

Nevada Falls from below.

After the two falls, you are way higher up, and have a level mile of hiking with good views of Half Dome through the trees. Then solid forested switchbacks start and take a while before coming to the last bit before the cables.  Here, you are again on carved in steps, that are just as steep as before, except you've now hiked over 7 miles.  The views of the surrounding mountains start to get amazing here, a little taster of what you will see on top of the Dome.
Working my way up more steep granite stairs to get to the base of Half Dome's peak, where the cables are

View from the last switchbacks before the cables

Some epic scenery all around above the trees

That classic post hike shot of the feet, 13+ miles on the day, and plenty filthy

The river by my campsite, perfect to wash off a sweaty body that made it to the top of Half Dome in 4 hours
That water was so amazing.  Not as icy cold as fresh snow melt in the springtime, but still refreshing as hell to get the sweat and dirt off.  Some nice rocks to lie out on and snooze.  Also, mighty tasty, as this is the water source once you're up in the wilderness.  You need to treat it, but, cold, refreshing water after a great hike is always a win.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Sights around Yosemite

That's not a blue screen folks, that's the real deal.

Here are some pictures from my hikes and time around Yosemite.  Pretty damn amazing everywhere you look, from the river, to the redwoods, to the pines, to the huge rock faces all around.  Plus, the United States' tallest waterfall.  This place has it all.  Such a pleasure to have time to hike around, stop and enjoy the view.  Can't pass up a good trip to a US National Park!

View from Tunnel View
Looking back at Half Dome through the trees

El Capitan on the right to go with the great Yosemite Valley
Capturing the Merced River, with my favorite Half Dome

View from the valley floor looking back at the sights, with El Capitan on the left, Half Dome at the Back and Bridalveil Falls on the right
Half Dome as seen from Mirror Lake (more like Puddle Lake in the summer)

In the glorious El Capitan Meadows

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Hiking to the top of Half Dome

The infamous cables, straight up the rock face for the final push to the summit
Going straight up!

The last 500 feet of the Half Dome hike (17 miles roundtrip) are the craziest.  You're faced with a shear rock wall of granite that you looks unassailable.  And yet, the cables which were installed almost 100 years ago (proper upkeep along the way), are a great way to get up there.  You pretty much pull yourself up, with 2x4 pieces of wood every 10 feet or so at the poles.  Gives you a spot to stand without worrying about slipping down, and take a breather, or let someone pass.  That's right, the cables are a two way path, despite being about 4 feet wide.  People need to figure out who goes first and where to move to the side with their packs on.  Tight squeeze!  Sometimes it's just easier to to sit and get most of your body out of the way and rest your feet on the pole:

It's a solid workout, but the views up top are worth it, to go with major feeling of accomplishment which hits you on top.  The 360 degree views of Yosemite are some of the best out there, although most people would prefer to look at the glorious Half Dome instead of be on top of it.  Being 4,800 ft off the valley floor, you get a whole new perspective of the park.

One of the iconic pictures on top of Half Dome is out on a ledge overlooking the valley.  You're out there on a ledge with pretty much nothing below you, feeling on top of the world.  Here I am flexing the muscles, having conquered the dome:

Kicking back with the feet over the edge

So yeah, it's worth the trip to the top, even when you're climbing the cables and look down:

See if you can find the people standing at the base of the cables (they're mighty small)

And of course, there's that happy feeling when you've made it back down off the cables, knowing that you accomplished and saw greatness on top:

Friday, August 5, 2016

Half Dome

That's me in the red shirt overlooking the valley almost 5000ft below

Just spent 3 days in Yosemite, with the highlight being hiking Half Dome.  An unbelievable hike, with some of the best views I've ever seen.  The last part of the hike is up a shear cliff, where you use cables to help pull yourself up the granite face.  Once believed to be "perfectly inaccessible", it is now limited to 300 people per day.

Here are a few pictures from the top, with more to come soon.  Such an epic hike, and great time in Yosemite, there will be several posts about this majestic National Park.