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Re: My First Trip to Yosemite - 1993

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avatar My First Trip to Yosemite - 1993
March 16, 2014 09:50AM
Since I haven’t been to Yosemite in far too long, I figured I’d hop in the “way, way back” machine and write a report of my first trip to Yosemite.

Although I had been car camping a few times and done a bit of mountain biking, I really wasn’t a hiker and had never been to Yosemite. I did love to explore though, and one of my best friends convinced me to hike Half Dome once he was done with his summer job on the road.

I think someone at his college gave a presentation on the hike and planted the seed in his head. I believe this was the first mention of our impending trip:






He borrowed a bunch of gear from his aunt and I brought my cotton clothes and my heavy Coleman sleeping bag:






It was his trip so I left all the planning up to him. We picked up a permit at the Big Oak Flat ranger station on the afternoon of August 19th, to enter Mono Meadow with the stipulation that we couldn’t camp in LYV the first night.
Our permit, which I have kept all these years:






We began our hike and stopped for a rest and photo in Mono Meadow:






We ended up crossing Illiloutte Creek and setting up camp just on the other side. Looking back, I think our campsite was too close to the water, but we were noobs (check out the cut off sweats for hiking shorts) and I’ve learned better now.






When I went back a couple years ago to fish Illiloutte I tried to find the actual campsite, but the preceding 20 years changed things enough with flood and fire that the actual spot was no longer flat and the two fallen trees were gone.






I really enjoy camp photos like this because I can see little details that remind me of the trip, like the orange water bag hanging on the branch and those things remind me of other things.






We chatted and hiked and I remember being very impressed by the views once we joined up with the Panorama Trail.









Of course we stopped at Nevada Fall for photos and lunch.






And then we continued our hike, still feeling good:






Taking time to get photos along the river apparently:






We set up camp, still in high spirits and goofing off:






And then the climb began, and I remember seeing this through the trees and wondering if that was where we were headed. I had never been to Yosemite and don’t recall seeing Half Dome as we drove down Big Oak Flat road to the valley (we must have but I don’t remember), so I don’t know that I even knew what “Half Dome” was or what it looked like from the “front”.






The cables were a sobering sight:






No quotas back then, and no crowds either.






I was very impressed by the cables and took lots of photos:






We grabbed some used gloves from the pile and headed up. When it started to get really steep, my friend paused and looked back at me and said “What do you think? Should we keep going?” I was nervous but muttered something about regretting it if we didn’t keep going, so we continued and before too long:








I recall feeling like I was literally on top of the world:






And arguably, my first real look at Yosemite Valley came from the top of Half Dome.






From that point, the photos definitely become few and far between as we were tired and thirsty, having hiked from Illiloutte that morning and having only one canteen each for the climb up Half Dome. As I mentioned before, I’ve learned a lot since then.
I remember being miserable the last part of the hike back to camp, and dreading the extra effort that it would take to walk to the river to filter water. We hardly talked that evening because we were exhausted and ate our dinner half cooked just so we could get to bed quicker.
I slept the sleep of the dead that night.

The next morning I was stiffer and sorer than I had ever been in my life and wondered if I’d even be able to hike out. But as our muscles warmed up the stiffness and soreness disappeared (only to reappear when we’d stop to rest) and we made it back to the car about 48hrs after our hike began.


I do find it ironic that I climbed Half Dome on my very first trip to Yosemite and didn’t really see the Valley itself other than Bridalveil Falls and what I saw from the car window as we drove to the El Capitan bridge to begin our drive home. I don’t even think we drove into the valley to see what we had climbed, I don’t know that we knew we could.

As I mentioned earlier, I returned to Illilouette a couple years ago and recognized two locations from the 1993 trip.


Me crossing a creek in 1993, note the rock in the background:








My friend sitting at Illilouette Creek at the trail junction in 1993:






It was truly one of the greatest trips of my life and started my continued interest in Yosemite, hiking and backpacking; which really got underway a few years later when my future wife and I visited in 1997, just after the park reopened after the floods. I hope you enjoyed reading the "way, way back" report.
Re: My First Trip to Yosemite - 1993
March 16, 2014 10:27AM
I enjoyed it immensely. Thanks for reminding me of the importance of preserving our precious memories with photos and thanks for sharing yours.
Re: My First Trip to Yosemite - 1993
March 16, 2014 11:13AM
Wow! And I thought that I was behind in my TR's! Rolling on floor laugh Seriously, though, Jason...this was a really cool read...in no small part because it is from so long ago. Thanks for taking the time to write this up!
avatar Re: My First Trip to Yosemite - 1993
March 16, 2014 11:41AM
Definitely enjoyed reading your trip report of your 1993 visit. It was fantastic! Thanks for sharing. Kudos!

Bowing to his greatness



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/16/2014 06:59PM by plawrence.
Re: My First Trip to Yosemite - 1993
March 16, 2014 05:18PM
Thank you for sharing your trip down memory lane with us.
avatar Re: My First Trip to Yosemite - 1993
March 17, 2014 06:57AM
Love it.

(now get ur booty up to Evelyn)

tongue sticking out smiley

Cereallessly, love it. Reminds me of starting backpacking... we had small car camping tent...
like the one you have in your peekchures... worked just fine and dandy.

Pretty darn awesome u went to Half Dome first time. Wow. I dunno you heard me say this
before... but first time wifie and I went to Yosemite we went up Mist Trail... crazy...
soooooo packed... took one step... wait... one step... wait... got to top o Vernal...
swam in Emerald Pool... looked at sign "Nevada Fall .." and said o well... we'll never
get up there. (looks like there was no railing on n. side top o Nevada back then from ur pix)

Anywho. Go. Explore. Have fun



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: My First Trip to Yosemite - 1993
March 17, 2014 07:42AM
Thanks for the great post!
That brought back some great memories of my first trip to Yosemite in the early '90s. That was the Coleman and cotton trip!
My best memory was eating canned chili with fresh caught trout from Lake Emeric. Our ideas of backpacking light was taking the labels of all the cans of chili.
avatar Re: My First Trip to Yosemite - 1993
March 18, 2014 08:24AM
I'm glad everyone enjoyed reading the report. I'm looking forward to getting back to Yosemite soon and writing a report that's a little more "recent".

Chick-on, regarding Evelyn, it's still on the "list", but I don't have any firm plans or permits for this year. I am seriously considering a one night stay on top of Watkins early this spring though.
Re: My First Trip to Yosemite - 1993
March 18, 2014 10:14AM
Can't get enough of these trip reports.

Jason - You two are both wearing basketball shoes for this trek. How
did the feet/ankles hold up?
avatar Re: My First Trip to Yosemite - 1993
March 19, 2014 08:34AM
Quote
AnotherDave
Jason - You two are both wearing basketball shoes for this trek. How
did the feet/ankles hold up?

I honestly don't remember any issues with shoes, clothes or gear. That being said, I was 22 years old and maybe it just didn't affect me. I had never been backpacking, knew nothing about it, and probably got away with stuff. I probably had a jacket (not a rain shell) but I don't remember. If I saw "me" on the trail now, I'd probably be wondering what that guy was thinking wearing basketball shoes and cutoff sweats for shorts.
avatar Re: My First Trip to Yosemite - 1993
March 18, 2014 08:09PM
Great job Jason. Thanks for the effort on this report, especially scanning the old pictures. My first trip to Yosemite was about the same time. I got there at night and didn't even see the valley. I could barely make out the silhouette of half dome in the darkness. I saw a sign for the mist trail the next day and thought that sounded cool. It was after Labor Day, and the falls were barely going, but they were bigger than anything that I had seen before. Went to the bottom of Nevada Fall. Saw Yosemite Falls later and it was just a trickle. I saw postcards of Yosemite Falls and wondered when did it look like that. Looking at Yosemite Falls I thought there is no way to the top. Arrived and left on HWY 140 and never even saw Tunnel View. Just seeing Vernal and Nevada I knew that I would be back at least a few times. I was shocked a few years later when I saw Tunnel View. How did I miss that. Shocked a few years later when I went to Glacier Point.
avatar Re: My First Trip to Yosemite - 1993
March 19, 2014 08:39AM
Quote
yosemitejim
I was shocked a few years later when I saw Tunnel View.

I know the feeling, I'm actually envious of people (not sure why) who come in that way and get their first real view of Yosemite at Tunnel View. It has to be absolutely stunning to see it the first time in that way. It's still an amazing view to me.

On that same trip, we did stop and make the short walk, we were hobbling really, part way up to Bridalveil, but didn't drive all the way into the valley "proper", we made the first left, drove past El Cap Meadow and headed for home. I didn't know Vernal or Nevada existed until I made my second trip, this time with my wife.
avatar Re: My First Trip to Yosemite - 1993
March 19, 2014 10:11AM
Quote
JasonS

I'm actually envious of people (not sure why) who come in that way and get their first real view of Yosemite at Tunnel View.


It's their reward for having to endure Hwy 41 and the Wawona Road to reach Yosemite Valley.

.
avatar Re: My First Trip to Yosemite - 1993
March 20, 2014 07:00AM
Confused by this. That is you a looking at Nevada Fall.
I presume you went to Glacier Point before or after Mono Meadow? If not... of course.... ooopsie, right?



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: My First Trip to Yosemite - 1993
March 20, 2014 08:29AM
Quote
chick-on
Confused by this. That is you a looking at Nevada Fall.
I presume you went to Glacier Point before or after Mono Meadow? If not... of course.... ooopsie, right?

You're correct, I must have known Neval Fall existed, as I was clearly looking at it and standing next to it. I knew it was a waterfall obviously, but that was it. On the first day we stopped the car at the Mono Meadow trailhead to begin our hike and never went to Glacier Point, as I had no idea it existed, not sure if my friend did either. When we got back to the car we made a left turn and headed home. I knew about as little about Yosemite as someone possibly could before our trip. It's strange to think about it now, being that close to so many amazing views and just bypassing it.
Re: My First Trip to Yosemite - 1993
March 19, 2014 09:47AM
This was really fun to read, Jason.

It brought to mind my earliest backpacks...One of which was with my younger sister up to Washburn Lake in about 1972. Levis, external frame pack, tube tent, and drinking water straight out of the river.

Actually, my first pack trip was in about 1960--Kings Canyon. Road's End to Paradise Valley, with my older sister and one of her friends. It was just an overnight, and what I remember was that my pack was made from a pair of my dad's pants. The two legs became the shoulder straps, and my clothes and sleeping bag were tied into the seat. My sister carried the food, and her friend carried the tent.

Yeah, we had fun.



Balzaccom

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