Being in the central valley of California and so close to Yosemite National Park, last summer Troy and I had planned to hike Half Dome in a day. As I did more research I realized the crowds hoping to summit Half Dome would ruin the trip for Troy and I. I also doubted my ability to hike 14 miles and deal with the elevation gain. (Lets face it I Hate To Work Out!!!)
Upon further searching I came across another summit that actually looks down upon Half Dome and does not boast the same crowds, CLOUDS REST! The planning took several months because Yosemite is incredibly busy during the summer months. To secure a permit to backpack and camp in the back country it took submitting requests five months in advance. Now that the trip is over I can say this.....IT WAS WORTH IT
We left Visalia at 4am and reached Yosemite Valley at 7am. We ate breakfast, then a two hour wait to pick up permits we already had reservations for (we were slightly annoyed). Next, back into the car for another hour of driving up to Tuloumne Meadows and Tenaya Lake. We started out on the Sunrise trail head. Above is a pic of Troy and Mark after a 3 mile hike, and a climb of over 1,000 feet in elevation (all done in a series of switchbacks that were a killer). In the distance was Clouds Rest, our destination for the second day of our hike.
We stayed our first night at Sunrise Lakes. A few other hikers passed through, but we had the lake to ourselves that first night. Can you see two heads in the water? Mark and Troy the "bathing beauties".
Our destination for day #2 was the summit of Clouds Rest, 10 miles round trip and an elevation of 11,000 feet above sea level. It was a beautiful hike with awesome vistas....Clouds Rest was breath taking. You can see Tenaya lake in the background next to Troy. This is where we began our journey the day before. After a lunch below the summit we headed back to Sunrise Lake for a final night then back to civilization on Sunday.
Ice cream and hamburgers never tasted so good!