I hiked #36 on Saturday. It was very cold at night (40F) and remained so in the morning. I usually begin at 5:30 am, but hid in my sleeping bag late and headed off at 7:30. It was still cold, so I wore a fleece jacket and long pants. By the time I got to the top of Vernal Fall, I was sweating and ditched the jacket under a boulder…it was there when I returned at 4.
The trail was mellow but the chill wind continued. I did not have a permit so I practiced what I preach. I asked if anyone had an open slot on their permit. I did this up near Sub Dome so I would not have to go s l o w with a novice group. After only 10 minutes I snagged one. A group of 5 had one guy get sick the night before, so I was golden.
The cables were mellow. With only 300 total permits – plus the 2-day mini-lottery of 50+, there was no crowd. The ranger told me that even though there are about 350 possible hikers, only about 200+ showed up on the inaugural day (May 24) and my day, the 25th.
There was hardly any mist at all off Vernal – no rain protection needed. I bet the falls will be dry by mid July.
Two big shocks:
1. The Curry Buffet is gone. It’s now an expensive restaurant with ala carte pricing. $12 for 1 entre and 2 sides; everything else is a few bucks more…drink, salad, another side, soup, dessert. My humble plate cost $23.
2. The Curry Village Tent cabins are getting pretty darn expensive. It was $137 per night for a 2-man.
I took a gob of photos and will share with anecdotes later.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “The power of imagination makes us infinite.” – John Muir
MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com