Day 57 (20180526): Heading down to Yosemite Valley

Today we will be going the rest of the way to Yosemite Valley and on the way do two amazing trails: Half Dome and Mist Trail.

When my alarm sounded in the morning it was a very cold morning awaiting me. It took a few minutes before I even got starting on packing. When I got to my socks and shoes I noticed that both were completely frozen. This is a first for me on the trail. This meant I had to use my other pair of hiking socks even though that meant I would have two wet pairs of hiking socks.

The big snow covered meadow on the JMT

The big snow covered meadow on the JMT

When we started hiking we struggled a bit in finding our way back to the John Muir Trail which we would be following most of the way to the valley.

Amazing mountains started to reveal themselves in the morning as we progressed closer to the valley

Amazing mountains started to reveal themselves in the morning as we progressed closer to the valley

When we reached the trail we found that there was a lot of snow on the trail and that the trail climbed still more. Both things we had not exactly hoped for. Looking ahead on our apps we could luckily see that the trail would eventually stop climbing and descend quite steeply.

Once we got of the snow the views started to open up a bit more and we could enjoy some of the many impressive mountains

Once we got of the snow the views started to open up a bit more and we could enjoy some of the many impressive mountains

So many impressive views as we got closer to the Half Dome junction

So many impressive views as we got closer to the Half Dome junction

As the trail started descending the snow immediately disappeared and we could move much quicker. We had initially thought we would be at the junction to Half Dome at 12 or 13 but instead we arrived at 11.

The impressive Half Dome

The impressive Half Dome

The climb up to Half Dome presented us with great views

The climb up to Half Dome presented us with great views

After a short break we started up the Half Dome Trail which was initially a very steep dirt trail. After some climbing the trail became some very steep stone switchbacks up the mountainside. This continued for quite some time until the last 400 ft which go straight up the mountainside between two steel cables that hikers use to ascend.

Some of the stone steps up Half Dome

Some of the stone steps up Half Dome

As we climbed the mountains I could see clouds move in and I tried to hurry up. However there was a lot of congestion on the trail with people who had to take a break every 20 seconds. By the time I arrived at the top everything was clouded over and I could not see anything. Luckily I had amazing views on the way up and the climb itself made it worth it.

The steep cables section for the last bit of climbing up Half Dome

The steep cables section for the last bit of climbing up Half Dome

There was plenty of congestion on the cables section

There was plenty of congestion on the cables section

When Avocado reached me we decided we might as well descend before any potential rain would make it dangerous.

On the top of Half Dome completely envelope in clouds

On the top of Half Dome completely envelope in clouds

Descending the cables was scary but after those the rest of the descend was easy. As we reached the junction with the John Muir Trail we had a break for lunch before continuing towards the valley.

The impressive Nevada Falls from the Mist Trail

The impressive Nevada Falls from the Mist Trail

For the last section towards the valley we decided to take the Mist Trail which provided amazing views of Nevada and Vernal Falls.

Vernal Falls also on the Mist Trail

Vernal Falls also on the Mist Trail

Looking towards the valley on the Mist Trail downstream from the two falls

Looking towards the valley on the Mist Trail downstream from the two falls

Once in the valley we headed to the Backpackers Camp where we are allowed to stay one night after our Wilderness Permit. Avocado and I have now almost hiked the entire John Muir Trail South to North.

After setting up camp we headed to Yosemite Village for some food and resupply until South Lake Tahoe. The food was disappointing but the store had a good selection for resupply. Looking at the resupply I bought it looks mostly like cake and candy for 5-5.5 days I am bringing:

  • 10 Snickers
  • 5 Luna bars (trying them)
  • 17 Tortillas
  • 6.5 bags of stuff mixed trail mix
  • 1 jar of peanut butter
  • 5 Brownies (500+ calories a piece what's not to love)

I even managed to fit everything in my bear canister together with the other stuff I need to fit in there.

When I reach South Lake Tahoe I will lighten my pack quite a bit by sending home at least the following:

  • Bear Canister
  • Iceaxe
  • Microspikes

Tomorrow I hope to do one day hike before packing up camp and heading back to Toulumne Meadows and the PCT. Hopefully we can get a hitch otherwise we have to take the bus at 1700 which gets us to Toulumne Meadows at 1845 after which we have to hike 6 miles to get to a place we are allowed to camp at.

I hope to move a bit faster on the section to South Lake Tahoe as the elevation generally is lower and the passes also see quite low. Last real obstacle should be Sonora Pass.