Climbing up Half dome and high trail to red peak

Trip Start Feb 19, 2010
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Trip End Jan 31, 2012


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Where I stayed
Camping in yosemite NP

Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Intro
Liked this hike probably the best. Didnt have to worry about booking individual campgrounds sinde there are none. You just had to get a permit for a trailhead and could then hike anywhere. Camping was basically anywhere you could find a flat spot, preferably near water.

Day 1

Rocked up in Yosemite valley around 9:30am and headed to the wilderness center. Luckily for me a number of groups had cancelled and so I was able to hike out from the valley. If I hadnt gotten one of those permits I would of had to catch the bus to toulimine meadows and get off at one of the trail heads along the way or spend the night in the meadows campground and head out the next day since the bus didnt leave til after 5pm

Like yosemite valley with its high and shear granite cliffs that surround the valley floor.

Headed up the trail that went past Nevada falls past little yosemite camp ground and up to half dome. On the way up the trail heard some noise below and behind me. Ended up seeing a black bear digging around in a rotten trunk looking for grubs. Spent som etime watching the bear as it made its way uphill and over the trail behind me. While the bear could smell me it didnt particularly pay much attention to me.

Ended up hiking until I reached a point 1/2 - 1 mile from the top of half dome just below the tree line. Saw a few deer on the way and after setting up camp headed up the trail to get above the tree line and see the valley below.

During the night heard some noise outside my tent near my bear canister. Scrunch, scrunch of twigs and bark. Ended up yelling out, hearing a bit more scruch, scrunch and then it was quite. While it may have been a deer or some other animal I did find the bear cannister knocked over and a meter away from where I had put it so I am guessing its a bear.

Unfortunately due to all the people around here doing the wrong thing, bears can associate people with food. In the past lots of bears did lots of damage to cars in which they broke into to get food. Unlike other parks that allow food to be stored out of site in vehicles, yosemite requires all food to be stored in bear proof lockers.

Day 2
At around 4am heard some more noise in the forest. This time it was hikers coming from little yosemite to get up half dome before before sunrise. Considered getting up but decided against it. In the end probably a good choice since by the time I got to the top of half dome there were only three other groups up there since the morning rush had gone and it was another hour before the made rush of people arrived.

From the bottom of half dome the cables looked pretty steep but on the way up and down didnt think it was all that steep except in one or two place. Definately would want the cables there on going up and down since they definately reduce the chance of slipping.

Lots of nice views into Yosemite valley and the granite cliffs that surround it. Could also see the valley with the Merced river and red paek pass where I was planning to hike.

From half dome headed back down to pack up camp and continued onto merced lake where I camped the night. Some nice views of the valley in which the river flows, the river and the lake.

Spent the night in the Merced sierra high camp and since there was a fire ring and enough wood to make a fire, had a fire that night. Also had to watch out for the squirrles who were out in force and dropping pine cones from the trees. Every so often you would hear a pine cone hit the ground and the squirrels starting chattering wildly.

Day 3
Had a choice to make. Take the shorter and easier low trail or the more demanding high trail. In the end decided to take the high trail since I usually prefer mountain views to river views. started the day with about 2 and 1/2 hours of walking up hill. Once I got to the top of the trail couldnt see much due to the trees so I dropped my pack and headed up a nearby hill. Lots of nice views of the lake, hlaf dome and the nearby mountains from here.

Continued following the trail throughout the day though it didnt run near the canyon edge so decided to cut out from the trail to reach the cliff tops and look down into the valley and nearby mountains. Had a couple of nice views of the next lake further upstream from Merced lake and the nearby mountains.

All the way along the trail it was not as clear as those I had previously walked and I didnt see any people on it either. Wander a couple of times if I would loose it and was thinking I defiately wouldnt want to try and follow it in the snow though after a couple of hours I did noticed that some of the trees had T cut into them to help mark the trail.

Given the condition of the trail I guess most people take the lower trail. Given that near the end of the day you spend time walking down to a river and then over half an hour heading back up a steep slope back up the mountain I can understand why. In my case the views were worth it.

Had hoped to reach the interesection where the path split and on of them headed to red Peak pass but with all the side trips ended up about an hour or so short of it when I set up camp. Decided after climbing out of the river gully to hoike it for the intersection but an hour before dark decided that I should look for a place to set up camp and did that maybe 10 minutes later.
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