To Yosemite!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


"Yosemite Valley, to me, is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and golden wonder in a vast edifice of stone and space." - Ansel Adams

On top of my other travels this season, I'm going on a trip out west to spend some time in San Francisco, camp on the beach at Manchester State Park, make a stop in Napa Valley, and spend 3 days backpacking from Yosemite Valley to Illilouette Fall in Yosemite National Park. It'll be my second backpacking experience, although I anticipate a handful of shorter camping trips before then.

Star Trek in Yosemite National Park
Kirk and Spock in Yosemite during "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier."

A lot about the park has changed since Captain Kirk and Spock first climbed El Capitan back in a 1989 movie (that's right, a nerd reference), mostly though, it's just the crowds. Throngs of people which we're hoping to avoid by not doing the Half Dome Trail and instead doing Illilouette and Glacier Point. Besides, who wants to use chains to climb up a giant rock that two people have fatally fallen from in the past five years anyways?

The chains on Half Dome in Yosemite
Lines at Half Dome. No thank you.

A recommendation to people interested in backpacking Yosemite: start planning early. Car-accessible campgrounds are open to reservations 5 months in advance, and often fill up within hours of being released. If you're backpacking, you'll need a wilderness permit, available 24 weeks in advance (Half Dome wilderness permits are sold out within minutes as well). If you get a wilderness permit, then you can stay at backpackers' campgrounds, typically located ~1 mile from the car-accessible campsites. It's possible that the Yosemite High Sierra camps might solve some problems related to not having a lightweight tent and/or backpack, but I haven't looked into it much since we've already chosen our trailheads. Don't forget the Perseid Meteor Shower that happens in the 2nd or 3rd week of August every year!

Planned Yosemite Trails
Our Yosemite trail map, paths highlighted.

My thoughts are all redwoods, beaches, mountains, and Golden Gate bridges right now. It looks like I might make it to Muir Woods after all...


Destinations on the California trip.


[Edit 5/15/11: Due to the Blogger outage on Friday, the comments from this blog post were deleted/lost. Apologies!]

5 comments:

Ajax said...

Sounds like a fabulous trip. One thing I love about backpacking is planning the menu...lightweight, nonperishable, and yummy. Your post has inspired me to start planning my summer backpacking trip!

Laura @ First Class Great Outdoors said...

Looks like you have an excellent loop planned! The crowds are definitely the downside to Yosemite Valley - I knew it would be busy, but I had no idea just how busy until we went.

And I'm right there with you on the Half Dome cables. First, I think the heights would just freak me out. But combine that with a crowded line - No thank you.

iris said...

Haha, there's not a whole lot of planning in the meals (I think we take the easy route). It usually consists of: (1) going to REI and buying all the freeze-dried meals they have, and then (2) buying all the 'Cherry Pie' LaraBars we can find.

christine donee said...

just read this... I was in Yosemite last weekend for a wedding and am already dying to go back.. for a more adventurous weekend!

iris said...

christine- I'm glad you had an awesome time at Yosemite. I think I will, too :)

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