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Yosemite - Tenaya Lake to Happy Isles, CA
mini location map2014-06-11
25 by photographer avatarTough_Boots
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Yosemite - Tenaya Lake to Happy Isles, CA 
Yosemite - Tenaya Lake to Happy Isles, CA
Backpack avatar Jun 11 2014
Backpack25.00 Miles 5,600 AEG
Backpack25.00 Miles3 Days         
5,600 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
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This was the first of two fantastic backpacks that Chumley put together for us:

We got to Yosemite early Wednesday afternoon and headed out of Tenaya Lake. It was a short and easy first day to our campsite below Cloud's Rest. We had a creek flowing near by so water was easy. Mosquitoes on the other hand were out of control-- 100% DEET was necessary.

We woke up the second day and headed to Cloud's Rest. Its not long before the views start opening up and its worth every step of the climb. We all headed up at our own pace and 9L was nice enough to let me summit first since I'd never been up there before. Amazing views-- absolutely amazing. We all snapped tons of photos and spent a good amount of time up there. We then headed down the other side which is even better than going up the other way. Chumley wanted to head off trail and check out Quarter Domes so we hit those on the way down. We found the loosest and steepest way to get there but their views were worth every shaky step. We then headed to Sunrise Creek where we would camp the second night.

At Sunrise Creek the deer were plentiful and didn't seem to be scared of people at all. We went to bed early to prepare for the most anticipated part of our trip-- a full moon summit of Half Dome. I woke up at about 2:30 am and waited to hear others stirring. Chumley forced everyone up. 9L decided he didn't want to wake up and Liz had to coax him out of his tent. We headed off as 9L finally dragged himself out of his tent but of course he soon overtook us all. We reached the intersection with the Half Dome trail and met another headlamped group who had the same idea as us. Chumley and Liz brought up the rear as Liz is nursing an injury, 9L of course was in front and out of sight, and Larry and I stuck together in the middle. Making it up Sub-Dome is steep but I think the dark made it easier. I hadn't really done any research and had no idea how the approach to Half Dome would be so I just chugged along until the climbing ended. On top of Sub-Dome, we could see 9L's headlamp ascend the cables.

We made it to the cables and it's as crazy steep as it looks. There are a pile of gloves that people leave but I put mine on and headed up behind Larry. I should have grabbed a pair of work gloves from the bottom because as the cables got steeper, my gloves started slipping. I had a little moment of panic about a third of the way up. In the dark, all I could see was Larry's headlamp which appeared to be directly above me. There was no end in sight. I calmed myself down and decided to power through. I finally made it to the cold and windy top. We had the summit all to ourselves for a little while which I think is a rare thing on Half Dome. Chumley and Liz then made the summit and other night hikers started trickling up the cables. The sun began to rise and it was time to brave the cables again and head down. Nervous at first, I quickly found a comfortable method to maneuver down. As people were heading up, it became mildly amusing to see the look of fear on their faces as we passed. Needless to say, I was really happy to be done with the cables. We headed back to camp and tried to get a couple hours of sleep before heading out.

On day three, the plan was to head into Yosemite Valley and finish via the Mist Trail. It was a nice easy hike and quite pleasant until you start hitting the crowds at the top of Nevada Falls. From there down it gets more and more crowded. After making it through a bottleneck of people at Vernal Falls, I was done. I shot down the rest of the trail as fast as possible. Its a beautiful hike but the people kind of ruined for me.

We all met up in Curry Village where our friend Claire was waiting for us with the rental van and we could all enjoy pizza, beer, and showers. We camped that night at the backpackers' campground. Soon after going to sleep, the camp was under siege by bears for about an hour. Every time I was about to fall asleep, I would be woken by a camper yelling. The final time was Liz-- I sat up and could see the shadow of a bear cast by the moon against my tent. Things then quickly settled down.
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