May 2004
Planning & Links

Initial Itinerary Planning for the trip:
Please RSVP by Feb 28

Close your eyes and imagine the world's most beautiful place. Picture soaring cliffs, domes, and peaks of granite so clean you could eat off them. See an incandescent sky of blue and more alpine tarns than the Milky Way has stars. Now add rivers that spit foam and roar like madmen as they leap from chasms hundreds of feet high. What other place than Yosemite National Park.
It's time to break away from our workplace, thankful that the rainy season has ended. What's better that a trip to Yosemite before the start of the tourist season and the maddening crowd.
We will drive up very early Friday morning to check into our campsites. I have reserved sites 121-123-125 in the Upper Pines Campground. These sites are adjacent to each other. Click on the map to see an enlarge view. Our Sites are right in the middle facing the river.

Campground Overview - A PDF Map of the valley and the location of the campgroup in the valley. We have a good view of Half Dome, Royal Arches and Glacier Point.

Day hikes

Friday -
Hike to Lower Yosemite Fall, Bridalveil Fall, Bike the Valley, relax and enjoy the outstanding views without any climbing.

Saturday -
Some can do a a day hikes up Half Dome. This is a 17 miles strenuous hike, 5000 ft elevation gain, with the last 600 ft up the cable stairway. The 5000' climb from the Valley to the top of 8842' Half Dome will give your spirits a boost for weeks to come. People looking for easier hikes, can just go the first 3 miles to Vernal-Nevada Falls.

All trails starts from Happy Isle on the Mist Trail. The closer you get to the fall the more you realize why this is called the Mist Trail. Be careful as you climb the 200 odd very steep and sometimes slippery steps to the top of the fall. Picture of Vernal Fall during the spring time. Notice the amount of water compare to when I went in September 2003.

Vernal Fall - Spring flow

Vernal Fall - Fall of 2003

Vernal Fall: Once you reach the top of Vernal Fall you are greeted by a fenced off area (poles actually) that keep you from getting to close to fall. Off to the right of this area you find the Emerald Pool fed by the Silver Apron. A great place to relax for an hour, the trip to Nevada Fall is another hour hike, Even to the base is a great view.
Later, the day hikers can hike out to Mirror Lake. Years of sediment buildup has started to turn the lake into a meadow. A normal process of erosion. An alternative is a drive up to Glacier Point.

My Trip up Half Dome last September

Excepts from Half Dome Hikers

"...You can't actually see the cables (~1-inch thick), but you can easily tell where they are, from the line of ants (people) climbing up. The cables are gnarly. Exhilarating. Something you shouldn't miss. Put Half Dome on your short list.
We dug it so much that we returned the following year. Climbing Half Dome reminds us that we're still alive .. no matter how badly we ache & pain .. no matter how big the blisters get, we know that we can make it. There's something spiritual about hiking to the top of a moutain. You can almost hear God whisper in your ear."

Clouds Rest Tripmap

The adventurous ones can drive up to Tenaya Lake off the Tioga Road, Head up the Sunrise trail to Clouds Rest (approximately 5 miles to Cloud Rest). Clouds Rest is the highest point in Yosemite National Park. Below is an excerpt from a hiker's description of his climb.
"...The last 1.5 miles of the trail are quite steep, gaining about 800'. The trail disappears on the knife-like ridge of Clouds Rest itself, giving way to a fun boulder-hop. "Exhilarating Class 2"? The closer one gets to the top, the more apparent is the majesty of the panorama from this point. From the top, the view is nearly incomparable: Half Dome/Yosemite Valley to the west; the 5000'+ drop into Tenaya Canyon to the north and west; the Matterhorn spires at the northern boundary of Yosemite; mighty, omnipresent Mount Conness to the northeast; Mts. Gibbs, Koip Peak, Lyell and the Ritter Range to the west; and most impressively, Mt. Clark and the Clark Range to the south. The weather was perfect: 65 degrees, light cloud cover, and no wind."

Sunday -
We can do the Mariposa Grove and look at the giant redwoods, hike out to Sentinel Dome, the Fissures, Dewey Point and Taft Point. The world holds few points as spectacular as Taft Point.

Links to informational Sites:

Great Pictures of Yosemite Valley

Some more Great Pictures of Yosemite Valley

Planning notes on Half Dome

Commercial Trip up Half Dome

Hints and Suggestions - Half Dome

Links to sites that describe users' experience:

Campers 1 - A family description of Half Dome

Campers 2 - Stanford Group description of Clouds Rest

Campers 3 - Cal Bears Group description of Clouds Rest

Campers 4 - Stanford Group description of Clouds Rest

Campers 5 - 32 mile day hike of Clouds Rest and Half Dome


©Copyright 2004 by jkjue, all rights reserved
last updated 04/12/2004