I’ve been attached to Yosemite since I got into climbing freshman year at Brown, and I was thrilled I finally had a chance to visit the park. Lizzy and I planned to do a three day backpacking trip to really get out into the wilderness. She also hadn’t been backpacking before, so it was a great chance to teach her all about backcountry camping! We spent the first night in the Crane Flat campground so we could get a backcountry permit the day before starting our hike. We also explored Yosemite valley at this time, including the famed mirror lake (not pictured: half dome off to the right of the photo).
For dinner that night: lentil curry that turned out way better than you would expect for camping stoves. It took about two hours of cooking, and we didn’t pack our bags as planned, but it was worth it!
The next morning we packed and headed to the chilnualna falls trailhead, the starting point of our hike. How’s that heavy pack feel?
We were greeted by 5 miles of steep uphill terrain in 95 degree sun. Reaching the waterfall at the top was a perfect reward.. there were pools of water flowing into each other and eventually over a cliff, hundreds of feet down into the valley below. Perfect spot for lunch and an afternoon swim! We spent the first night at a site a few miles upriver from the falls, and the second by a mountain lake. Every day we had spectacular views, mountain meadows and granite monoliths that had stood the test of time along the way.
We covered about 20 miles over the three day trip, most of it on steep terrain. Not bad for a first-timer! Yosemite is a huge park with a wide range of different environments, though. We only scratched the surface of what it has to offer. I can’t wait until the next chance I get to explore more of the park!