After leaving Hoh Rainforest it was quite a trek south to get to Crater Lake in Oregon. It was looking to be about a 10 hour drive to be exact. So, we loaded up and headed South! We decided to go through Bend so we could take in all the views driving by Mt. Rainier (from a distance), pass through Mt. Hood and the snowboard camp I used to work at (Windell’s), and bypassing traffic through Portland and other major cities.
By the time we reached Crater it was after midnight. As we rolled in, we noticed HOW MUCH SNOW THERE STILL WAS! There was at least still 4 ft of snow, at the beginning of July! Which meant many of the campsite areas were not open yet. So, we decided to camp across the road at Diamond Lake. Before we headed over to set up camp, I tried to take some night shots while we had a view of the lake.
Besides a crazy amount of mosquitos because of all the moisture, it was an awesome campsite. It was right on a beautiful lake with awesome views to wake up to before we packed up and headed into Crater Lake NP to explore. There is boat tour you can take around the lake, but it had not started running yet. It was going to be starting that weekend, which was 4th of July. So, double check before you make plans for that!
We were pretty tired from living in a tent and in the 4runner for over a week, and thought it might be nice to stop in Sacramento and get a nice shower and do some laundry… and see my family! So, we continued south into California stopping to see my Aunt & Uncle for the evening on our way to Yosemite National Park. It was so nice to spend the evening back in the comforts of a home. A real shower (not having to wear flip flops and fit everything in a small stall with you), toilet (guaranteed to have toilet paper!), and bed (even if it was a blowup… it was a queen!) were mighty nice at this point in the trip. We had big hopes for Yosemite, even though we were worried the park might be way overcrowded gearing up for 4th of July weekend. We set our eye on hiking to the top of Half Dome. But, we knew it was one of the most sought after permits in the park and it could be hit or miss with holiday weekend coming up. If you don’t apply early in the year for the permit, you can only apply 48 hours before the day you are hoping to hike Half Dome, and you find out 24 hours before. So, we both put our name into the lottery and hoped for the best. They send you an email right after midnight, so you really don’t know until you wake up the next morning and then you have 24 hours to prepare! We woke up to the good news that we had received the permit, so we loaded up and headed for Yosemite.
We had to find a place to keep our pup for the day that we’d be hiking Half Dome, and grab a few items to ensure we were ready for the hike. We found a dog sitter via Yelp named Clouds Rest Pet Sitting, which was about 30 minutes outside of Yosemite, so we set things up with her to take Oakley the night before the hike (since we’d be starting the hike around 5AM) and have her stay until the morning after our hike (since we knew we’d be dead tired and finish after 5PM). We also had to stop in town and make sure we grabbed a few necessary items like gloves. You can hope to find a pair that fit in the random pile they have sitting at the bottom of the cables before you start to climb to the top of the Dome, or you can spend $5 at Ace Hardware and get a good set up new leather gloves to use.
Here’s the top things I recommend packing for this hike:
- Backpack- You may think you won’t need much for this day hike, but that is wrong! Make sure to take a pack that is big enough to fit enough water, snacks, extra layer, and a few other items that are important.
- Leather Gardening Gloves- Grab some cheap leather gardening gloves. They will be your lifesaver when you go up and down the cables that take you to the top of the Dome. The cables can shred your hands up pretty bad.
- Water and Water Filter– I know this should be obvious, but a lot of people don’t pack enough water for this hike. Average person needs 2 liters per day *when not hiking* so ensure you have enough for you. Water can be very heavy, so I recommend packing a water filter because you will pass a creek a few times throughout the day which is the perfect time to make sure your bottles are filled up. I personally prefer the pump filters because you can fill up a lot more than one water bottle fairly quickly.
- Jetboil– This hike can take about 12+ hours depending on your ability, it’s smart to have more than snacks on the trail. We packed some ramen & on the way back down we stopped for a quick lunch which was nice to relax for bit & refuel. Jetboil is great because it’s small, light & boils water super quick!
- Sunglasses & Hat- The sun is no joke out there! As you hike your surrounding environment changes from below tree line, shaded, and in the direct sun hiking on hot granite. So, it is important to have the proper protection for all of the possible climates.
If there are items you didn’t think of before you started your trip, you can head into the town of Mariposa which has an outdoor store with all the essentials you may have forgot (hiking poles, fuel for your Jetboil, clothing) and you can stop in at the True Value in town for some cheap gardening gloves. We got ourselves loaded up on the essentials, dropped Oakley off, and made our way back to Yosemite to find a camping spot.