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Jeff's Backpacking Trips

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Yosemite - Half Dome 2003

June 2003
This was the year for our 10th Annual Camping Trip with our nephews and niece. A few years back we got the idea to hike Half Dome for our 10th annual trip. After some logistical planning and coordination of 4 high schooler's schedules, we began our trip. Scott was the oldest nephew, followed by Matthew, Christina  and Thomas. Jennifer and I were without the kids. We are all determined to hike to the top of Half Dome.

We began our hike at Glacier Point and followed the Panorama trail around to Nevada Falls. From Nevada Falls we hiked to the backpackers camp and set up camp. Before dinner we went down to the Merced River, pumped water, and waded in a shallow section of the Merced for a nice cool down. Back at camp we made dinner and played some card games. From our camp we had a nice view of the Half Dome hump where the cable trail was. We watched with amusement as we could see about 75 people up and down the cables. What a mess. People waiting for others to move, others hiking outside the cables, what a traffic jam. Glad we were doing it first thing in the morning before all the days hikers made it up there.

Matthew and I slept outside under the stars and had a great view of the stars.

Next morning we packed day packs and were off and upward. Within a few hours we were at the base of Half Dome and yes the pile of gloves was still there. Some real nice new gloves. I was tempted to take a few back with me but thought that might ruin the experience. We all made our way upward slowly but surely. Before long, we were standing on top. We made it. Scott pulled out his can of Coke he was carrying just for that occasion. How much weight did that Coke weigh? Matthew began snapping pictures while wearing a big grin. Christina was bubbly with excitement. Thomas was carefully assessing the best place for a picture as close to the edge as he could.

We enjoyed a great relaxing view from on top. We took pictures of everyone to capture the experience. With a sense of accomplishment, we headed down only to find the multitude of people on their way up. Glad we beat the crowd. In total that day, we must have passed a few hundred people on their way up.

When we got back to camp, we discovered that a bear had visited our camp area. We could tell because the breast pump my wife brought and had set out to air dry was strewn all over the ground. Everyone thought that was pretty funny. Everything else was fine. We packed our packs and headed down to the Valley. On the trip down a few of us got to see a nice size golden brown adult bear real close. Perhaps about 40 feet away. We snapped some pictures. I was excited to see the bear and everyone kept making fun of me for that. Oh well. Just grin and "bear" it I told myself.

We went down the steeper side of Nevada Falls, hiked down the mist trail and proceed to head to the bus stop for a ride back to our campsite. The next few days were spent under the looming Dome we had just conquered. Each time we glanced up, we grinned real big. What a great trip!!