I came up with a plan a bit ago for a nice outdoor challenge and it’s almost time to try and pull it off! I’m going to try to do The Grand Canyon (South Kaibab to Bright Angel), Mt Whitney, and Half Dome all in the same week. Seems like a fun week of vacation, right?
I’ll be heading to the Ten-X Campground just outside of Grand Canyon National Park on Friday, September 2nd. My friend is celebrating his birthday up there and reserved one of the group campsites. I’m going to head out midmorning to get up there, get the tent set-up, get comfy and chill. I’m excited for the adventures, but also for some car camping, living in comfort in the outdoors! After a night of relaxing outside, I’ll get up, drive into the park and hop the Hikers Shuttle out to the South Kaibab Trailhead. My goal is to do the hike in under 8 hours, but I’ll be happy just enjoying myself on the hike. After hiking I’ll head back to the campground for some chilling out and helping my friend celebrate his birthday.
Sunday morning I’ll going to get up, enjoy some breakfast and coffee, pack up my stuff and hit the road. I’ll be heading for a stop over in Las Vegas during my drive to Mt Whitney. It’s too long of a drive in one day so it makes for a nice stop over and one last shower before a solid week in the tent.
Monday morning I’ll get up, grab some breakfast and hit the road around 8am. I’ll stop by Star Wars Canyon again in my hopes of one day seeing some jets there and hopefully get to the Whitney Portal Campground around the 2pm check-in time.
After getting my campsite set up, I’ll do a little walking around and then relax before an early dinner. I’ll crash out for as long as possible and probably get up around midnight.
Since I didn’t get a Half Done permit in the lottery I need to drive down the portal road until I get internet service and get in the 2 day out Half Dome lottery for Thursday. After that I’ll drive back up to the trailhead and get the hike started.
I hope to get started by 1 or 2 am, so I can set a nice sustainable pace for a just after sunrise summit. After a bit on the summit I’ll head down and try and rest up as much as possible. Later that afternoon I should find out if I got the Half Dome permit, fingers crossed!
Wednesday morning I want to get up early and get on the road to Yosemite. I might just grab breakfast in Lone Pine, we’ll see. It’s a four hour drive (not including any lines to get into the park) and I want to maximize my time in the valley.
If I get a permit I’ll pick it up and then cruise around the village and check out some of the sights. I’ll probably start the hike about 4am, I want to get up and down the cables before any crowds or afternoon weather.
If I don’t get a permit I think I’m probably going to do the Clouds Rest Hike, it’s supposed to be pretty awesome, just no cables. Overall I’m stoked to be able to hike in Yosemite Valley and I’m going to try to have as much fun as possible!
So that’s the plan , I think it’ll be fun no matter what, definitely expect some tough hiking. Also very looking forward to some car camping in amazing places!
The Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne was unbelievable. This was a long discussed backpacking trip for 3 friends who hadn’t really seen each other for over 20 years. None of us had visited Yosemite and we were finally able to make it happen! We got to experience many amazing waterfalls, classic Yosemite views, and saw so few other people. We almost always had this impressive trail to ourselves, and I feel lucky to have had this initial Yosemite experience.
I picked up my friends in Las Vegas and we headed to Mammoth Lakes to stay for the night. We stayed with an old friend from Crested Butte, it was great to catch up and chill in this cool place.
Sunday morning we got up early and headed into Yosemite National Park to start our adventure. We picked up our permit at the wilderness center and strolled to the YARTS bus pick up spot for the ride to the starting trailhead and camp for the night. The White Wolf Campground was nice, and wasn’t too crowded considering it’s summertime in Yosemite.
Day 1: The next morning we loaded up the packs and headed into the backcountry for a 4 day trip. The first day we descended almost 4000ft to the bottom of the canyon. While the miles of steep downhill were a bit rough on the knees, we were super stoked to have the packs on and start our hike.
The hike starts out in the forest as you leave the trailhead and climbs a bit to the edge of the canyon and then it’s time to descend!
This was the only day we experienced any smoke issues from the wildfires, fortunately it didn’t seem to effect our breathing. After a final cruise along the river we made it to Pate Valley and found a nice campsite. We had easy river access and a quick swim in the river to cool us off and rinse off the dirt was most excellent.
The Day 2 hike starts to follow the Tuolumne River, so we started to see small waterfalls and pools. After a bit we got to the good size climb up the Muir Gorge. We got really lucky with the weather, as we started this tough climb we got great cloud cover and little bit of rain to keep things cool. We saw 0 people all day on the trail.
That night’s campsite was almost certainly the best one I’ve ever had, with a waterfall and great swimming hole. After a quick set up in the rain and a little tent time while it down-poured, we dried out and went for a swim!
We got to relax on some big granite above camp to watch the sunset and then again to stare at the stars for a bit!
Day 3 was the day of so many waterfalls! There was more climbing than I thought, but it was totally worth it. Around almost every bend of the trail is a waterfall, pool or beautiful river view. We couldn’t help but stop to take so many pictures!
Waterwheel and Le Conte Falls were huge and it was so cool to be able to walk out into the rock right next to the rushing waters! We definitely spent a good amount of time with the packs off exploring these amazing features.
The afternoon of day three we finally started to see a few other people as we approached Glen Aulin, it was an almost weird experience after 2 1/2 days of seeing no one. We found a nice sheltered campsite and relaxed for our last night on the trail.
Day 4 was a great day of hiking. The climbs weren’t as tough, both White Cascade and Tuolumne Falls were awesome (and we had a great swim).
The last few miles are a great ending, as you walk into Tuolumne Meadows with it’s iconic granite domes and peaks. We stopped by the Parson’s Memorial Lodge, talked with a couple other backpackers and headed to the Tuolumne store for some ice cream!
After hiking out we headed to Independence for some me food, and hit up the Onion Valley campground for the night.
After a nice night in the tents at 9,200′ we headed towards Vegas so my friends could fly out the next day. After stops at the Möbius Arch, Star Wars Canyon, and Badwater Basin we cruised to our hotel. We relaxed for a bit in our rooms, went out for an excellent dinner, played a little gambling, and then crashed out!
Everything on the trip worked out so well, great friends, awesome scenery and hiking, and pretty much perfect weather. We only dealt with smoke from the wildfires on the first day, after that it was clear skies. I’ve never seen so many waterfalls, Yosemite is an amazing place and I feel so lucky to have such great long term friends.
I’ve been getting together the plans for this summer and the outlook for excellent adventure seems high! The first and main backpacking trip of the summer is the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne. I have never been to Yosemite and it’s been on the list for a long time. Since it’s in the middle of the crowded time I was pretty happy that this is the permit I ended up getting my hands on! We’ll be in Tuolumne, the Yosemite high country, which should be a little less crowded than the valley, To make things better I’ve got two longtime friends coming along, one I met the first day of kindergarten.
The hike is a 33 mile point to point hike that follows the Tuolumne River through an amazing looking canyon with a number of awesome waterfalls. We’re planning on 4 days and 3 nights of hiking, most of the days shouldn’t be too bad distance-wise so hopefully we’ll get some time to chill by the waterfalls and check things out! My friends are flying in and out of Vegas, so we’ll cruise through Death Valley National Park on our way back. Maybe stop by Star Wars Canyon or Badwater Basin! Really looking forward to a point to point backpack in an amazing place with good friends.
The next adventure will be a big one! It’s my friends 50th birthday the first week of September, and he reserved a group campsite right outside of Grand Canyon National Park. I’m going to drive up Friday, get the campsite set-up and chill for the evening. The next morning I’m going to wake up early and do the South Kaibab to Bright Angel Hike. I’d like to do it under 8 hours, so I’m going for fast and light mode. That puts me back at the campground in the early afternoon. I’ll hang out Saturday night and Sunday assisting my friend in his birthday celebrating.
Monday morning it’ll be time to get up and get on the road to the Whitney Portal. That’s right, I scored a day permit for Mt Whitney! I have a reserved campsite at the Whitney Portal Campground, and hope to get there and get all set up by 4pm. After that I’m going to try to sleep for a few hours and get started with the hike about midnight. I’d like to do the hike in about 12 hours, putting me back at the campsite around noon. The rest of the day will be about refueling and resting up as much as possible, while still getting a good night’s sleep.
Wednesday morning will be another morning to get up and get going because we’re headed back to Yosemite. It’s time to tick Half Dome off the list! I’ll hit the road to the Lower Pines campground as early as possible, once I get to the valley I’ll get set-up, get my permit and take in the majesty of Yosemite Valley. I hope that being there in September will take the crowds down a little compared to the height of the summer, we’ll see…
Thursday morning I’ll probably try to start hiking about 3-4am to ensure I beat the crowds and any weather. After what I think will be an amazing hike, it’ll be back to the campsite to chill the rest of the day and then head back to Phoenix Friday morning.
Permit/reservation-wise, the Grand Canyon campsite is taken care of and I don’t need a permit for a day hike. I have a Day Whitney permit and reserved campsite at Whitney Portal. The only big hurdle left is the Yosemite stuff. I find out Monday the 11th if I get a Half Dome Permit, and on the 15th I can try and make a Lower Pines Campground reservation. If I don’t get a half dome permit but am able to get a campsite I’ll probably still go and try and get a daily permit lottery slot.
I’m going to have to be pretty fit and get a little lucky with the weather, but I think I can pull this off. It’ll be fun to try, one way or another!