May 2004
Yosemite NP
Car Camping

As the days drew close to our planned camping trip to Yosemite, the pressure of work and deadlines forced a great many of the original participants to cancel out at the last minutes. Still we had people willing to fly back from the East coast, pack and drive up late Friday night to do the event. Also Jason and Justin drove up from Irvine after classes on Friday afternoon.
Almost everyone arrived around midnight on Friday night. As it was, I was the only one that drove up on Friday morning. I checked into our campsite, set up the tents, packed away the food and gear. It was a great spring day, as can be seen from the photographs taken from various places around the valley. The spring runoff has just begun in earnest. It still amaze me at the number water falls that can be seen throughout the valley. The wind is so strong at the higher elevation, that the water in some instance is blown into the air, creating showers at the base of the falls. These can be seen at Vernal, Bridal Veil, Yosemite, and San Francisco Falls. The shower like condition at the base of Bridal Veil ruined all the photos taken at the base.
As we entered the valley, the magnificence view of El Capitan is still awe inspiring. As I was taking photo of this monolith structure, I spotted a coyote strolling through the meadows in front of me.
We all woke up early Saturday morning to do the "Big" climb up to Half Dome. We ate a hearty breakfast, packed our gears and headed out. As the photos showed, the Mist Trail earned its name from the water breaking up at the base and creating a huge rain shower on the craved steps up the side of the canyon wall.
After several hours of hard climbing, we reached the last hurdle at the peak of Half Dome, the dreaded cable ascent up to the top. But alas, the cable are still down, and are not scheduled to be place up until next week. Even the 2x4 foot rest are gone. Jenny and Jamie decide to make the ascent up to the top. I went up about half way, but decided not to continue. Only about one out of ten arrival here continue up the cable. It is a daunting sight to look up the vertical climb.
It is late in the afternoon, and Jamie and Jenny finally make the decent down off the top. As we prepare for our decent, I happen to feel the weight of Jenny and Jamie's day pack. It reminded me of Kenny, who was taking an extra 20# of snacks for the hike. Their pack weight more than mine did when we first started. No wonder they were so tired, they must have started with 20# packs. The group is tired, and the decent off the mountain is slow. We reached the trail below Vernal Falls for the last mile, and decent the steps as darkness drew near. As the reached the last 1/2 mile of the trail, it is now total darkness and we have a hard time finding the Happy Isle bridge to cross the Merced River. How can you miss a bridge??? After some searching, we found the bridge and continue our last leg to the parking lot.
After a quick late dinner, everyone hit the sack and was out like a log.

Links to Itinerary Planning and other informational Sites

  1. Layout of the Campground - Our site was 123
  2. Topo map of the 17 miles hike up to Half Dome and back
  3. First view of the Valley coming out of the tunnel on Hyw 120
  4. Upper Yosemite Falls can be seen from several miles out.
  5. A long coyote making his way across the meadow

  6. The Next Vista is a marker explaining the history of El Capitan.
  7. El Capitan from several miles out
  8. A long coyote crossing the meadows
  9. A view of the Valley from Hwy 41 looking back toward Half Dome and BRidal Veil Fall
  10. El Capitan from a different angle

    Several shots of Yosemite Falls, One of the highest fall in the world

  11. A view of the falls from the South Side Drive
  12. Upper Fall displaying the high winds that turns the fall into a local rain storm
  13. The wind is shifting and creating different effect on the fall
  14. The Upper Fall is now breaking up into several blocks of water

  15. A late evening shot of the one of the meadows with the granite wall as a background
  16. A view of all tHRee falls that make up Yosemite Falls, Upper, Middle, and Lower
  17. Facts about Yosemite Falls
  18. Hike in to the base of Yosemite Lower Fall - Notice the unusual rock formation
  19. The river as it heads away from the falls

  20. More information on Yosemite Falls
  21. XXXXS as view from Mirror Lake
  22. A reflection at dusk of the distance mountain range off of Mirror Lake
  23. Our Destination for the next morning - The dreaded Half Dome

  24. Jamie checking the bear trap to see if he was lucky enough to catch one. Darn!! He got away again :-D
  25. The gang with a smile on their face, it just the beginning
  26. Vernal Falls can be seen in the distance
  27. The start of the Mist Trail - Looks dry to me
  28. Close up of some of the steps that leads to the top of Vernal Fall

  29. Jin taking a break about half way up Vernal Fall
  30. Another look at the fall
  31. Taking a rest break after the first hard climb up to the top of the first fall
  32. An hour later, and we reached the base of Nevada Falls

  33. Trail Marker on the John Muir Trail, about half way between Little Yosemite Valley and Half Dome
  34. Jason and Justin taking an early lunch break, while waiting for Jamie and Jenny
  35. First view of Half Dome from the Trail, the cables are seen as very faint white line just left of CENTER. Click on the picture and look closely at the climbers ascending the cables.

  36. Several views from the ridge line before we start the first steep ascent

  37. Several Photo Ops before and after the ascent

  38. Several views from the top

  39. Jin demonstrating his forward repelling techniques
  40. Jamie and Jenny on their decent from the top


©Copyright 2004 by jkjue, all rights reserved
Last updated 05/15/2004