After a long trek around Yosemite National Park looking first come- first serve campsite a few days before 4th of July, we finally came up on an available spot after stalking a person who looked like they were packing up. But, it was at the campground that was located about 45 minutes away from the Yosemite Valley. This is not a campsite for the weekend traveler, because it has minimal services and is very far off the grid. If you do apply for the permit early, you can reserve a camp site at one of the 13 campgrounds. But, since we only found out 24 hours before that we received the Half Dome permit, we had to wing it. As we set up camp, a car came in asking us where the closest grocery store or restaurant was. We got a kick out of that considering we are in the HEART OF THE WILDERNESS! We set up our camp & our backpack to get an early start to the valley floor to begin our trek up Half Dome.
We left camp around 4:30AM, since we had a 45 minute drive down to the Yosemite Valley floor. When we parked, we were surrounded by hikers starting the same trek. It was quite busy as we left the valley floor, but quickly became quiet as we ascended up towards Half Dome. We both took a backpack, but Drew carried our larger hiking pack to carry all the essentials. I carried a bladder that held smaller items and extra water. I chose to wear a bear bell as we left the valley floor & start our ascent, and Drew made fun of me the entire time as I made the “ding ding ding” sound down the trail. But, hey… we didn’t encounter a bear and we made it out alive! That is all I care about. This hike is INTENSE, and is no joke. You need proper gear and proper knowledge of what to expect. It is a long day of 12+ hours on the trail. If you don’t want to do it in one day, you can apply for a permit to camp along the way, but that is also a permit you need to apply for.
Take a look at the video I put together from our hike and tell me what you think!