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Last updated on 03-03-2010
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Jeff's Backpacking Trips

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Yosemite - Porcupine Flat and Yosemite Falls Trail 2009

July 26-27, 2009

We took our family vacation this summer to Yosemite with two other families. A group of us planned to do a short backpacking trip. There were 3 dads and 6 boys. Since I did this hike a few years earlier, I felt it would be a great hike for us to do with the boys and a few new guys. This would be a 8 mile trip.

Early in the morning July 26, my wife Jennifer drove us all from our camping sites in the Yosemite Valley up Tioga Road to the Porcupine Flats Trailhead. This was about a 45 minute drive. We arrived and got our gear out and everyone got ready to hike.  We took a few pictures at the trailhead and then we were off. Jennifer drove away and we proceeded to hike.

The great thing about this hike is that it is mostly on a descending path. We knew we have some touch downhill knee busting miles tomorrow, but for today, we enjoyed the easy hiking. A few miles in we arrived at the Indian Creek crossing. We all took an extended break here and the boys enjoyed damning up the creek and making a wading pond.

We continued again a few more miles. We knew we wanted to find a camp spot near the Yosemite falls but not too close as there were camping restrictions in place for camping too close (about a quarter mile from the river). We found just the spot with an amazing view of the Half Dome face just across the valley. There was no water here so we planned ahead by pumping a lot of water at the previous creek spot. We just carried enough in. We also knew that the next morning, it would be about 20 minutes hike to the top of Yosemite Falls and the river there. This was an outstanding place to camp and we all got our camp set up. A few of us decided to sleep outdoors under the stars. We enjoyed our dinner and the sunset glow on the face of Half Dome. We enjoyed a small fire and just hanging out. 

The next morning, we got up and relaxed a bit. We ate breakfast and broke down camp, stuffed our backpacks again. We hit the trail and quickly reached the top of the Yosemite Falls. All was quiet. We waded in the stream far enough upstream so we wouldn't risk slipping and being carried over the you know what. We pumped and purified more water and relaxed a bit. After that we crossed the big foot bridge over the river and proceeded to the Valley overlook. For those faint at heart, it is not something you want to do. The ledge is very narrow and the path is fenced in with a sheer drop on one side.

After a few minutes peering over the edge. We proceeded to hike down, down, down and down. The trail down from here is very steep and exposed to the hot sun. The nice thing would be that we were going down hill. Most of the boys set off ahead down the path. Our friend Jon is a U.S. Postal Service mailman. He needed to protect his knees going down so a few of us hung with him going down a steady pace. His knees are worth gold. It is a nice trail and it is neat hiking down the side of the Valley. We passed many folks going up. Like the last trip down this trail, I made my usual observation of the different types of people going up the trail from the Valley floor. Those that lead the pack are usually fit and got the early start and carry a packpack with gear and food. About midway down, you start seeing the people who are making good pace but are usually not quite as fit and they have a water bottle. Finally towards the bottom third of the trail, you find the day walkers who are heading up the trail with no gear nor water. They usually have street shoes on and will likely not make the top. Cheers to everyone for being out walking or hiking. Can;t go wrong doing any walking in Yosemite Valley.

The bottom part of the trail gets kind of dusty. We made it to the bottom mid day and proceeded to the store to treat the boys to a nice cold drink or ice cream. We lounged around the Yosemite Falls lodge area and then proceeded to take the shuttle bus back to our campground.

Another great backpacking trip. Most everything went as planned. The weather was great and so was the company.