Half Dome

My hiking buddy Tom and I had already walked about a mile to reach this sign at the trail head, putting the overall hike distance at about 18 miles.  You will gain (and lose!) more than 3/4 mile of elevation.  Start early, wear comfortable shoes, and take plenty of water!  Moleskin on the backs of my heels prevents blisters.

Vernal Falls is the first photo op when using the aptly-named Mist Trail.  Bring a waterproof parka, or at least a large plastic trash bag, to keep dry.  Don't forget to poke a hole in the bag for your head!


The trail is fairly steep here, and close to the falls, so you will likely be surrounded by mist.  The circles indicate hikers.  Since we started at dawn, the temperature was still only in the 40s, so that mist was cold.   At the top, a fence and signs remind us that venturing into the stream, that appears calm enough for wading, could easily result in the (last) ride of your life!


Nevada Falls comes next.  The "trail" is quite steep here as well.  My recollection is that we were climbing up tumbled rocks rather than a steep, but groomed, path.  The picture below-right shows Vernal (lower left) and Nevada Falls in context.


The next two pictures provide an early peek at what happens after the trail leaves the forest.   The arrow points to a clue.


Those aren't film defects, those spots are tiny hikers!  (I mean film quite literally.  All these pictures are scanned film prints.)


The trail has taken us around the back side of Half Dome.  It's time to get a good run at the final ascent.  If you think you see the trail scar shown in the previous two pictures, you're right.  As we closed in on the final ascent, hikers became visible again.


This is going to be fun!  And yes, it is as steep as it looks.


It's time for the famous Half Dome cables!


The two pictures below are similar, but the one on the right is taken from a vantage point quite a bit further up.


Made it!  That's hiking buddy Tom facing me in the left-hand picture.  Half Dome has a prominent "eyebrow".  The folks on the right are sitting on it.


On the left, Yosemite Valley from the top of Half Dome.  On the right, yours truly getting as close to the edge as I cared to.


The obligatory "looking over the edge" picture.  On the right, the view from somewhere along the way.  I've forgotten the exact location.


Finally, two views of Half Dome from Glacier Point.  I could see hikers on the top with my binoculars, but the camera did not capture them.