Backpacking in Yosemite: Part 2

beginner'sThe real adventure begins…we left the comfort of our wonderful mountain cabin and piled into our suburban. Our backpacks were PACKED, and we were eager to get going on the trail. We met up with John at Curry Village. Curry Village is one of the most popular places to “camp” in Yosemite Valley. I use quotation marks, because Curry Village has legit tents set up…real bathrooms…showers…and a pool…not exactly the camping we would be doing.


John drove us up to the trail head and dropped us off. He had to pick up Don who would be joining us on our trip! While we waited I had my first official peeing in the woods experience. Honestly not as bad as I imagined it…probably TMI but when you’re in the backcountry you have to carry out everything including TP! I totally thought you could leave it (if it was biodegradable) but nope…the animals can eat it so you have to bring it out…okay enough rambling about using the bathroom in the woods…on to the hiking!


Don arrived and showed us the game plan for the day and I was very pleased to hear it would only be about 3 miles, and mostly downhill. I was still feeling pretty unprepared after our “practice” hikes kicked my butt.


The first hike was absolutely beautiful, we hiked through a meadow and through giants trees. The mountains were visible in the distance, and the overcast weather made for a cool hike. After about an hour, the sky decided to open and DOWNPOUR. We stopped and put on our rain gear. Trash bags are the best for covering your pack.


We spent the rest of the hike walking through a steady downpour. You would think this would be absolutely miserable, but it was surprisingly fun! There is something about carrying everything on your back that instantly makes you feel like a bad ass…the rain just added to that feeling.


My favorite part of this hike was the fact that we saw ZERO people. Our group was the only ones on the trail and when we got to our “camp ground” we had our pick of the spots because no one else was there. I really wanted to camp RIGHT by the river, but in Yosemite there is a rule where you can’t camp right along the river…to protect the river from waste (smart idea in my opinion).


A little blurry, but this is right after we stopped hiking while we searched for the perfect spot to camp. We were SOAKING wet and once we stopped we began to freeze. It was JUNE and I was so cold. It took forever to warm up, I slipped on my long underwear and polar fleece and I was still cold!


We set up in a very spacious area with plenty of space for all of our tents. Prior to this trip I had NEVER pitched a tent…so I was a tad nervous that we would epically fail…shockingly Chelsie and I were the first done with our tent. The river was a short walk away from our camp site. Our camp site was also DEER central. They would wander right through our campsite.


All of our snacks had to be kept in bear cannisters, and we had to filter all of our water. We had hanging buckets we could fill at the river and hike back to the camp site. I absolutely loved our filter. It was a UV light filter and I totally recommend it! It cleans your water in 90 seconds. Yosemite water is DELICIOUS! I was worried I wouldn’t like the taste of the water, but it was better than bottled.


We had the BEST fire that night. It took a while to get it going, but it was so warm and toasty. The night sky was phenomenal and the experience was perfect because we weren’t sandwiched between other campers.


seriously the night was perfect…I was very nervous about sleeping in the tent. I was convinced my brothers would spend the night trying to spook me! Of course at about 1 AM I had to pee. I made Chelsie come with me and I am CONVINCED I saw a bear staring at me! Needless to say the rest of the night was spent waiting for a bear to come and eat me…thankfully that did not happen and I did fall back asleep!


Our hike the next day was ROUGH! So much uphill…and just imagine that with a GIANT backpack on your back. I really wasn’t feeling well…possibly because camp food is gross and I really hadn’t eaten. The day was absolutely gorgeous…the sun was shining and the views were beautiful.


We hiked all the way to Nevada Falls and spent a good portion of the day on the John Muir Trail. This was the first part of the hike where we were somewhere I had been before! Back in 2002 we hiked up to the top of Nevada Falls on the Mist Trail. It was very cool to pass the trail head on our way to the next campsite.


Don saved the best news for last…our campsite for the next two nights had a BATHROOM…well not a real bathroom but I would not have to go in the woods again! We were staying in Little Yosemite Valley. This was a more populated camp site. As much as I loved staying alone in the woods the previous night, it was very fun staying with other backpackers.


Little Yosemite Valley is a good stopping point on the way to Half Dome. We were going to be tackling that hike the next day. Our campsite was very close to the river. We spotted a total of 7 rattle snakes during our stay here! Spooky! Be sure to check back for part 3 to hear all about our adventure to Half Dome and then back to civilization.

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