I started this blog post 2 years ago after my trip to Yosemite, no time like the present to finish it.

Into the Wilderness

We woke early in the morning in the overly crowded backpackers camp, collected our things to catch the first park shuttle in the morning. Then off to where the bus was parked and we were off to our trailhead. We did get a chance to see some deer while waiting for the early morning shuttle.


Arriving at the Porcupine Flat trailhead there was still plenty of evidence of the heavy snow fall in the past winter. Even into early July there was patches of snow and cool temperatures at 8200ft elevation. The creeks were running high due to the snow melt and we had prepared for several creek crossings and possibly lots of mosquitos due to all the water in the meadows. We were all in high spirts and ready to hit the trail.

backpacking group

The first couple of miles were all relatively easy going. We did hit our hardest trail crossing right at the beginning and had to do some navigating to find the best area to cross at which ended up being a fallen log which took us off course a bit but we eventually found our way back and were head down the path to North Dome.

On our way down the trail various members of the group took turns navigating and leading the pack. As this was an experience trip for the WTC students in the group they had to demonstrate their navigation skills in order to get created. In doing so we took a bit more breaks than I was accustomed to but there’s nothing wrong that, we were all out there to enjoy the great outdoors anyways.

When it came my turn to lead though I made a rookie mistake and didn’t really take in the bearings before setting off. We had stopped right where we were about to take a bit of a detour to head to a natural arch rock that was a little ways off the trail. I had lead the group right past it about 1/3rd of a mile later we stopped and looked back to see we had passed the arch. I felt like a bit of an idiot for leading the group in the wrong direction. It was a great learning experience though for myself and the group and a good lesson in learning from your mistakes, luckily we didn’t get that far and no one really seemed to mind. We hiked back to the arch took a pack break, ate some lunch and took a lot of pictures of the awesome natural rock formation.

After stuffing ourselves with a hearty lunch it was time to head down the rest of the trail towards North Dome. Ironically I had done almost this same exact trip 15 years prior after my freshman year of college during my first trip to Yosemite with my step-dad. That was a fun trip although a little brutal since I had used my old Boy Scout backpacking equipment which by that time was showing it’s age and didn’t really fit all that great anymore. It was great to return to North Dome though and take in Half Dome and all of it’s wonder from across the valley, it really is awesome to get a head-on direct view of the  iconic face of Half Dome from such a vantage point. It always amazes me how something so natural can also look like a fake movie backdrop all at the same time.

North Dome 2002

My first trip to North Dome in 2002 which included a fall and scrape, also no hiking boots...

After hanging out at North Dome for a bit it was time to head to our camping spot for the night near Lehamite Creek, which wasn’t too far away. We found a good clearing not far off the trail and short walk down to the creek where we could all filter a re-supply of water, and gather for what the Sierra Club likes to call an epic Happy Hour of shared goodies amongst the group. I had brought a bottle of wine in a bladder and some chocolates to share. Although I felt like I had ate a lot during that dinner it really wasn’t since it was a lot of salad and not enough carbs and protein to help me recover for a days of hiking and being at a high-altitude, I would come to regret this the next day as it took it’s toll on me. I’ll have those details in the next post!

The Journey continues and concludes in: Day 2/3: Down Yosemite Falls