This summer my family took a trip completely unlike anything we had ever done before….we went on a backpacking adventure to Yosemite National Park. The last time we visited Yosemite was in 2002, and one of the main things I remembered was my parents “forcing” my brothers and I on an 8 mile hike…The Mist Trail. It was very ironic that know we were embarking on a “vacation” that involved constant hiking.
We flew into San Francisco on a Saturday and drove down towards Yosemite. We stayed about an hour outside of the park. My dad found the greatest house using VRBO (similar to Airbnb). Our little house had everything! Wifi, TV, a Badminton Court, Mini Putt Putt Course, but most importantly a beautiful view! We were staying in this mountain house for a few nights before we started our adventure. My dad wanted to give us a few days to practice hiking.
Our first practice hike kicked my butt. I may or may not have had a mini anxiety attack about ¼ mile into the hike. Pathetic. I had convinced myself I was ready for this trip…but like my dad said hiking in Florida is nothing compared to hiking in California. The mountains killed me. It was very difficult for me to get my breathing under control…the whole mental break didn’t help much. Luckily, I made it to the top of Lembert Dome. The views were absolutely SPECTACULAR. I felt like I was standing on top of the world. My brothers were much braver and wanders over to climb the actual dome…but my fear of heights kept me pretty grounded where I was.
The next day we decided to hike Taft Point and Sentinel Dome…proving to me that hiking is HARD. Dang! The hike to Taft Point wasn’t too bad, mostly flat with a little downhill part…but all my brain could think while enjoying the downhill stroll was that if we were going down now there would be some hardcore UPHILL soon.
Taft Point was one of my most favorite spots in all of Yosemite. You are treated to a breathtaking view of the entire valley. There are crevices right along the trail that have plunging drops into the valley. After we reached Taft Point we still had a good four miles to reach Sentinel Dome and then the parking lot. I was not in a good mood this day…I’m not exactly sure why but I was VERY grumpy. I had a Cliff Bar and that seemed to help…I can get hangry. The poor man hiking near us witnessed my grumpy attitude.
The thing about these Dome hikes is you can see the Dome and the fact that you are going to get to the top seems absolutely impossible, which makes getting there even more challenging. We made it to Sentinel Dome and I did not crawl to the tippy top (fear of heights…and my bad attitude combined). We got quite a spectacular view of Yosemite Valley and Half Dome from what I thought was the top of Sentinel Dome….so I was pretty content.
After our hike we cooled down with a swim in the FREEZING cold river. We had a great view of the climbers on El Cap! I wasn’t brave enough to dive all the way in, but Ryan took the plunge into the chilly waters!
We took the next day pretty easy…we drove into the Valley to meet up with our backpacking guides John and Don…Don was coming with us, but John had all the gear. It was pretty fun getting all the gear ready for our trip.
We had to pack EVERYTHING we would need…food, TP, sleeping bags, tents etc. Then we drove to pick Chelsie up from the train! The real hiking would start BRIGHT and EARLY the next AM.