Clouds Rest, Half Dome
By: Mark Day
The need to pre-plan a trip into Yosemite during the summer starts months in advance but too many would be weekend backpackers haven't got the clue yet. We drove up Thursday and stopped at Wawona golf course in time for a 1:00 pm tee off. If you play golf this nine-hole course can deliver something I've never had, a deer. I've had eagles and birdies but on #7 I plunked a deer, (She was unharmed). Then we drove down to the Curry village were we had reserved a room. Not a tent cabin, been in them and don't trust the neighborhood. The line and wait outside the reservation office was over an hour long with people trying to rearrange their stay. Friday morning we caught the tour bus that takes you up to Tuolumne Meadows. Luckily I had a reservation for this because it was packed and some were on standby. Although the bus cost $12.00, we were dropped off twenty feet from the trailhead. From there we packed in eight miles on the John Muir Trail to Sunrise High Sierra Camp. This time of year it was closed so we got a great spot. Saturday an early start got us to the trailhead for Clouds Rest before noon. Nobody was at the intersection camp so we set up (This site had a bear bag cable) grabbed our daypacks and took off. This class I trail from the southeast was hot with not much tree cover. Around four miles and near 3,000' gain brought us to the top. The view of looking down onto Half Dome was shared with ten others who had come up from Tenya Lake. A fifteen-mile day got us back to camp and a waiting bear. We had bear bagged and carried in a bear canister so she was just browsing.
Next morning we raced up the cables and were the first ones on top of Half Dome. Not for long though as a dozen people trudged up. Back down to our packs, then to Happy Isles were we had left the car and on to Visalia in time to make our 3:00 pin tee off at the Links.
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