Mike's Yosemite Trip
by The Backpackers Shop on October 06, 2012
Bears, bears, and more bears. My trip to Yosemite was filled with hard days, beautiful scenery, and wildlife! It didn’t take long to stumble upon some wildlife. I started my trip on the North Rim trail with an unusually rainy day. Hours into the hike, the clouds parted, and the sun came out. I was enjoying the high country and sun and not paying attention to my surroundings. Moments later I heard a terrible scratching sound. I looked over to see a large bear crawling up the rock slope. As I started to yell, I noticed three cubs climbing up a tree… not exactly how I wanted to start my trip. After giving the bears some space and time I was able to walk by. This encounter got my blood pumping and was soon forgotten as I made my way to the top of El Capitan and the spot for my first night in the woods. I had some amazing views of sunset and sunrise from this 7,000 ft granite giant.
The next day involved a good amount of elevation change. I was rewarded with a nice swim in Yosemite River. Due to the low amount of rainfall I was able to swim in this river 30 yards or so from Yosemite Falls. After some R and R I was able to hike to Yosemite Pointe and North Dome. The afternoon heat was getting to me and the lack of water meant I had to push on. I ended up a few miles from North Dome in an area called Snow Creek. This would be the site of another bear encounter. After setting up camp and dinner I was getting ready for bed. Moments after turning my headlamp off, a bear came into camp. I started barking like a dog to spook it. My crazy barking worked as the bear headed for the hills. I barely slept a wink that night. Every few minuets I would hear something. Could be a bear… could be nothing… but I would get out of my tent shine my light around and make some noise. I got moving extremely early that morning due to no sleep and wanting to get into the Valley. I enjoyed a large decent into the Yosemite Valley while taking in beautiful view of Half Dome! I enjoyed a day and a half in the valley eating some real food, taking in a film about the park, and taking the shuttle buses around to different parts of the park.
I then left the Valley for the high country again. The second part of my trip was a section of the John Muir Trail. The day started off with a large climb to 9,000 plus feet. The scenery was amazing at this altitude. Got to take some breaks at a few alpine lakes. After avoiding an afternoon thunderstorm I set up camp. I was able to camp with a few guys from Australia trying to thru-hike the John Muir. We shared some funny hiking stories as we cooked and then called in an early night. I was awoken by one of the guys singing. I yelled to the guy, “ why are you singing?” He said there was a bear by his tent. I laughed and then said, “you have to yell at it!”. I started yelling while getting out of my tent. We investigated and then got to take in some amazing stars. I got some great sleep that night and felt well rested in the AM. I was off early in the morning to make my way to Half Dome. A few minutes into walking I came upon a mom and her cub at a safe distance. Once again I yelled and the bears took off. It’s always a manly feeling when you can look at a bear, yell at it, and have the bear run away. A few hours later I was at the base of Half Dome. It was a rough hike up to the sub dome. Once I was here I hid my pack and kept going. There were granite steps built into the mountain. After the steps came walking up the rock face followed by the cables. The cables made their way to the top. This section was rather scary as I tried to take in the views around me. At the top I took some great photos and made a few phone calls. I then reversed my path back down Half Dome and back to the John Muir Trail. As I made my way to the valley I passed crowds of people making their way to North Dome. I took the time to chat with many of them. All of them would ask me, “how much further”. After a long day of hiking in the sun I made it to the Valley floor. I was able to shower, eat pizza, and grab a few beers! This is always a great way to finish a trip. I have had the blessing to hike a majority of the east coast. However, noting compares to hiking out West.