I’ve been waiting for this permit for quite some time now. I sprained my ankle playing ball at the gym so that threw me off of the Yosemite/Half Dome summit real quick. After I received a call from my friend saying she won the lottery, I checked my email and to my surprise I WON THE LOTTERY TOO! I already booked my flight around the days and decided to go regardless if I won the permit lottery or not.
I got to Los Angeles airport (LAX) using miles from my Southwest card. It cost me $10 and I was off. My friend works for an airline, so it was just a matter of figuring the best meeting spot and what time. We met at the rental car station at the airport and the adventure started! They finally pulled up in a sporty, little blue Hyundai GT, handed us the keys and off we went. We were heading to Half Dome Village in Yosemite National Park, which was about 6 hours away.
We finally arrived in Half Dome Village, pretty much on schedule, and checked in to our “tent cabin”. It was a little pricey at $160/night but you couldn’t be in a better spot to start or end the hike up Half Dome. The village has showers and bathrooms plus pizza and beer so it’s a great spot to hang after a day exploring the park. Often times people reserve spots early in the year and then cancel to get their money back if they decide not to go. I would recommend checking accommodations again when it gets really close to the date of your trip, like 7-10 days, and see if anyone canceled. That’s how we lucked out in the village. Before that, the only thing I could find was an RV in some guy’s driveway, an hour away from the park. After organizing all of our stuff, and getting “trail ready” we went to sleep after a couple celebratory shots of whiskey.
Today is the day and I couldn’t be MORE EXCITED! We started the hike from the Mist Falls trailhead entrance. When we were hiking up close to Mist Falls, it was apparent, this wasn’t a mist, it was a FREAKIN’ DOWN POUR! The trail was narrow, slippery and super sketch but worth it. Every step here has to be on point or something bad can happen very easily. After escaping Mist Falls, we headed for the summit of Half Dome. From the bottom, the hike to Half Dome is 8.2 miles, one way. Hiking through Yosemite National Park is definitely special, so much history. As we got closer to Half Dome, you must first hike up “Sub Dome” which is a tad brutal. It’s a bunch of small, cut out steps in the rocks that were spaced pretty well so it made it easier to climb. The elevation at this point is about 8,000 ft. so I wasn’t doing too bad, I’m from Boulder, CO and we hike at this elevation all the time. When we were approaching Half Dome, it hit me. I definitely was a little intimidated by the steepness of the rock, especially looking up right before the cables. Pull by pull, step by step, I climbed to the top only looking back to take a pretty cool picture showing how steep it really was. I’m glad I brought gloves, but if you didn’t, there were tons of old gloves from people who previously climbed to the top. After about 30 minutes, my friend met me at the top and we celebrated. The heat in the summer on the summit is the real deal. I began to work my way down, which I think was a little scarier than going up. I was leaning back and my forearms were getting super pumped from me gripping so tight. It was about 20 mins later, and I was off Half Dome. Summit and back, I checked one off the bucket list and it felt awesome!
At this point, I haven’t had a drink of water since the summit of Half Dome. I was desperate and was seeking the small “savior” stream I saw on the way up and that was mentioned in some research my friend did. I had half of my 32 oz. Nalgene before going up but it wasn’t enough at all, big mistake on my part. At last, the stream is in front of me and people are filling their water pouches and bottles as well. After almost chocking on the water from drinking it too fast, I filled up my Nalgene and we continued down the trail after a short break. After hiking for several hours, it was apparent that we were going to be hiking in the dark for some of this hike. We hiked the last 30 mins in the dark and it was a little intimidating for sure. Not being able to see anything and hearing strange noises, adventure at it’s finest. We got back to the car and were totally exhausted. We changed clothes and headed to get some beer and pizza. I was so tired, I could barley eat pizza and I LOVE PIZZA!