Today we would be leaving Yosemite Valley for the PCT again. It would obviously have been nice to stay longer but staying in the valley is problematic because of permits and there is still plenty of the PCT to hike.
Yesterday we had both mostly sorted our resupply so we decided to do our own thing until we had to leave the campground at 1200.
The day before I had decided I wanted to try and do the Upper Yosemite Falls Trail with the extension to Yosemite Point. The Upper Yosemite Falls Trail in itself is officially rated at 6-8 hours for the roundtrip. I took the first shuttle to the trailhead and arrived at 0715 so to be back in time to pack up camp I had at max 4 hours to do the whole thing. The hike is 8 miles with 3446 ft of ascent and descent. I decided to do the hike with a minimum of gear consisting of: rain gear, gloves, my fanny pack with snacks and mobile.
The climbing was relentless but I enjoyed it and quickly overtook most other people on the trail. The views on the way up were amazing and I stopped multiple times for pictures. After about 1000 ft of climbing the trail descends a bit before coming continuously pretty much the rest of the way. The views at the top of the falls were great but were really dwarfed by the views at Yosemite Point. I arrived at Yosemite Point at 0900 and started descending at 0912.
On the way down I passed most of the people I had passed on the way up. Going down was a bit sketchy as I was kinda running on the dirt covered rocks. I had a few near misses where my feet slipped but nothing serious. For the most part I really enjoyed the descent. I arrived at the shuttle at 1020 so it took me 3 hours and 5 minutes to do the roundtrip. I can highly recommend the roundtrip
After this I went to the Visitor center to confirm the bus times if we had to take the bus to Toulumne Meadows. The store was close by so I had to go and get some snacks and something to drink.
I went back to camp and spread out my items to dry them out completely. Soon Avocado arrived and we packed up everything and went to get Pizza at Half Dome Village. Here we located the nice Guest Lodge which we could have used the night before as we were looking for a place to stay indoors.
At the Pizza Patio we were approached by a man who had done the PCT the year before. We talked a bit and he gave us surprise trail magic by paying for our pizzas. We thanked him many times and I was once again amazed by the generosity. The pizzas we really good, best food I have had in the Valley.
After eating we had to get back to the PCT at Toulumne Meadows and we did not want to hike back which we would have needed permits for anyway. We had two options hitch a 1.5 hour drive or take the bus which would arrive quite late after which we would have to hike 6 miles to be allowed to camp.
We went to camp 4 to hitch but were not to hopeful. I held out our sign and my thumb. After about 20 or 30 minutes a car stopped and we were offered a ride by a nice man going over the pass to his family in Las Vegas. Avocado and I were a bit apprehensive about if the long hitch would be awkward. Luckily he was happy to have us to help him pass the time and the conversation flowed easily. We arrived around 1600 and after thanking him for the amazing hitch we started hiking.
We had around 6 miles to do and the hiking was easy in beautiful weather and some of the most beautiful landscape. We arrived at camp around 1810 in high spirits. Not having to setup camp near snow in the cold was nice change.
We decided to start at 0530 the next day to give us some extra time the following day as we are crossing a pass late in the day and have a lot of climbing to do. When we see the conditions tomorrow we can make adjustments to our plan for the rest of the stretch. Once we make it past Sonora Pass we have heard the trail gets a lot easier, we hope to do that pass 3 days from now. Generally we hope to do more miles per day in this section than we have previously done.