Day 3: Yosemite, the road to Half Dome

The road to half dome, well actually there isn’t one, as my legs will tell you.

Day 3 begins with another early rise but most likely because Scott had a two person tent, which for 2 guys was a tight fit, not to mention the sleeping pad I borrowed from his brother only went from my shoulders to my knees!  The combo made sleeping not entirely efficient!  Both cars were in two sites, so we packed up our tents and headed over to the other site.  The crew has a little higher standards than I would normally be used to, including cooking a full french toast breakfast that morning. I have no complaints about it and was pretty happy to have a nice breakfast, but we were only there one day before we head out on the hike the next day.  For me time is sunlight and eating is just about getting in calories on a trip like this when there is so much to see.

Cooking some morning grub.

So we don’t even get out on our planned day hike until about 11 a.m.  The weather is perfect at about 75 in the day and 50 at night which turns out to be pretty pleasant for just about anything outside.  Once breakfast is eaten, cleaned up and everyone gets their things situated and there nails done, we drive up the the trailed head to hike to Glacier Point.

“Mullet,” (yeah thats his nickname) and Michelle plan todays route.

L-R. Nate, Scott, Mullet, Giselle and Sara fresh out of the metropolis of San Diego.

Yosemite is an amazing place and today I realize just that.  The views of 3,000+ ft rock faces are not a common sight in this world.  On the hike, we see a few of the many bears that inhabit the area, a mom and two cubs.

Look at me, I can stand on a cliff.  Take my picture

Also are numerous points where we summit on a peak with cliffs and everyone has to go to the edge and get a photo of them close to it.  This always amazes me.  Its got to be a power trip.  Thus still people do it and die every year from getting too close to cliffs.  Such an easy way to avoid dying yet people still continuously do it.

The downside of Yosemite.  Semis pulling tourists.

The bears and people in Yosemite are a pretty ugly story.  Bears are very used to eating or trying to eat food in tents, cars, campsites and pretty much everywhere people are!  Its sad, same goes with all the other animals, including squirrels, birds and others.  There are warnings everywhere and fines given if you don’t store anything giving off an oder or scent into the bear steel storage containers.  Thus everything is always considered to be put into the bins.  This interaction gets the animals used to humans and our food with serious consequences down the road ending their lives in one way or another.  Don’t feed the animals, anywhere, not just Yosemite either!

Our ultimate goal two days from now, Half Dome.

We finished up our hike after a nice break at Glacier Point  about 3 pm and head back to camp.  The first day is all about getting our feet “wet” and adjusting to elevation and a little 5.5 mile hike.

Scott taking my favorite type of shot on top of Sentinel point.

Upper pines campground is about 4,000 ft  and half dome (our eventual summit) is over 8,000 ft.  Its not too bad but coming from sea level, it can get ya sometimes.  We cook up another feast for dinner that night, not really camping food, but it was good!  Hamburgers, hot dogs, etc.

Post dinner stories around the fire

After cooking on the fire and the camp stove our stomachs are all happy and we top it off with some quality stories and even smores!  I wasn’t expecting that!  We get lucky on this trip and are given a full moon by chance.  As I waste no opportunities shooting in a place like this, after smores I head out to shoot some stars and possibly some rock faces.  Deep in the valley covered in trees makes it hard to find a clearing to shoot.  With my headlight on I find the Merced River and an opening I can cross the rocks to the middle.  Got a few 2-5 min exposures and I was done.

A peak in the distance from the bottom of Yosemite Valley.

Head back to camp and everyone seems to be ready for bed.   Scott and I set up camp and get cozy with our small tent and square footage for a midget couple, except I am over 6ft tall.  Oh, well beggars can’t be choosers as I was unable to pack all my gear from Florida!

© 2012 Ben Hicks