About time for a critical gift suggestion. Water treatment. I run into many people on the trail with maybe 1 or 2 quarts of bottled water, or a single Camelback. Amazing. The single greatest thing to a successful and safe hike up Half Dome or any other Yosemite Trail is to be hydrated. That means ya gotta drink. Then drink some more. You will be sweating a lot as you go up 4,737 feet from the valley. You will exhale a lot of moisture and (hopefully) you will be, er, ah, “voiding” urine as you go. (Using the composting toilets or 100 feet from any trail or water.) You can get water at the Merced in Little Yosemite Valley or from the Little Spring above the “2 miles to go” sign. I tell you wehre to find it complete with GPS coordinates in the book, “One Best Hike: Yosemite’s Half Dome.”
So what’s a hiker to do?
Don’t drink the natural water – giardia and cryptosporidium lurk.. Hmmm. OK, iodine or other chemical treatment? Well, they take 30-minutes to work, plus they do have a shelf life – about three months once opened. Iodine is not good for your bod. Emergency use, yes, but not a regular diet.
UV light? Better idea. The Steripen is a neat UV generator. Basicall,y when zapped, UltraViolet light inhibits the ability of DNA to reproduce. So it works…even against viruses. Only drawbacks are that it’s battery powered so you need extras and it’s pretty hard to get water into it and not contaminate the bottle threads at the Little Spring. It’s only a couple inches deep. They have a few models to choose from and will set your gift giver (you?) back about $70.
So, I suggest putting a mechanical water filter on your list. Should be mandatory gear for Half Dome hikers, IMO. They are small, light and bullet proof. A simple lever action will fill a 1 quart Nalgene Bottle (another gift idea) in about a minute. It’s a good idea to get several Nalgene’s. They are indestructible and hold a quart. There are many filter brands to choose from. Just make sure they are giardia –rated. Several brands are out there MSR and Katadyne are the leaders. MSR is really part of Cascade Designs. I like the Katadyne Hiker Pro. Figure about $80.
Whatever you end up getting, be SURE to clean these devices out. If you let water sit in them, you can grow man-eating bacteria that can ruin your next outing. Run a tad of bleach through them and air dry.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “I believe every human has a finite number of heartbeats. I don’t intend to waste any of mine.” – Neil Armstrong
MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com