Yes, fans, Radio Free Half Dome is back on the air. I spent the last week hiking the Yosemite High Sierra Camps – all 5. So it was 6 days of 7-10 miles per. And funny how most were uphill. I am now in the best shape ever. And my system was purged of all junk food as I feasted on the nutritious meals prepared by the staff at each tent cabin complex. I actually lost 2 pounds. We did the clockwise loop: Tuolumne Lodge to Vogelsang to Merced Lake to Sunrise to May Lake to Glen Aulin to the car in Tuolumne. Great views, but at times it felt like the Bataan Death March with a 30-lb pack. You really appreciate just how BIG the park is. For one thing it soured my interest in hiking the 210 mile John Muir Trail. That could be like15-20 days of walking with a heavier pack. I think the scenery we saw was the best. The Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne was superb. I made it down to Water Wheel Falls on a “haul-butt” 6-mile RT trek before dinner at Glen Aulin. The flow was low but still really nice.
We really lucked out in getting into the park at all. The fire closed the Big Oak Flat route and to the north the day before we left. So we took the Sonora Pass – Lee Vining route (4 extra hours) and came in from the east. They re-opened it just in time for our return home. If you want to do it in 2010, go <here>. The lottery process has already started. For the first time, a computer based system will replace the paper one. You can choose the $1100 Ranger led trips, the $800 self trips, the mule ride, or just the meals option via a $5.00 Wilderness Permit and the price of food. You have until Nov 1 to apply. My advice if you go: Pack light (less than 25 lbs), bring a down sleeping bag (their 3 army blankets don’t cut it), earplugs, use hiking poles (the downhills are up to 3,000 ft), train in advance (the uphills are up to 3,000 ft). Bring enough batteries for your camera – there is NO electricity at the camps. Thanks to my hike mates: Kathy, Steve and Jim. Andn ow some photos for your dancing pleasure.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Just got home from Illinois, lock the front door oh boy! Got to sit down take a rest on the porch. Imagination sets in pretty soon I’m singin’ – Doo doo doo Lookin’ out my back door.” – Creedence Clearwater Revival
*Mr. Half Dome -Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com