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Yosemite Backpacking via John Muir Trail {Cathedral Lakes to Little Yosemite Valley with Cloud’s Rest and Half Dome}

Somehow we scored a John Muir hiking permit for the most beautiful time of the year! Kudos to Jen who faxed that puppy in at literally 12:00am midnight the morning they started accepting applications (exactly 168 days before intended hike). We requested what some say is the most beautiful stretch of the park…from Cathedral Lakes to Little Yosemite Valley, hitting up Cloud’s Rest and Half Dome on the way. We only had 2 nights so we didn’t even consider throwing Half Dome into the mix but when we picked up the permit and we were offered a pass to hike the Dome for $8 additional, how could we say no? With the detours and added jaunts of the trip, we estimated 30 miles in less than 48 hours so definitely a butt kicker. I feel almost depressed posting these pics as the whole experience and aura was so much more than any image could capture. Just the feeling of being miles and miles inside the park only reachable by foot, was a life changing and introspective experience.

To get details on a Yosemite Wilderness Permit, click HERE.

To see the trail heads map, click HERE.

The beginning!

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Survival in a bear box. My new favorite backpacking additions included the Starbucks pumpkin spiced latte pack (easy now..it WAS fall and all) and the Inka corn…bomb diggity.backpacking yosemite john muir trail cloud

Night 1 at the third of the gorgeous and secluded Sunrise Lakes. Absolutely obsessed with our Big Agnes Rattlesnake Mountain GLO tent. We have hit some gnarly precip and wind and it’s stood up to all of mother nature’s demands.backpacking yosemite john muir trail cloud

Oh you know…just taking sunset selfies on the ridge.backpacking yosemite john muir trail cloud

Se the timer…run to the rock…photo fail…repeat until you get one halfway decent. I think Chris was collecting wood or something much more important.backpacking yosemite john muir trail cloud

When you are about to summit a place you’ve been dreaming about for years!backpacking yosemite john muir trail cloud

The last ascent to Cloud’s!backpacking yosemite john muir trail cloudbackpacking yosemite john muir trail cloud

The homies coming over the ridge. I mean seriously…that view!backpacking yosemite john muir trail cloudbackpacking yosemite john muir trail cloud

Half Dome there on the left and the rest of the most amazing place on Earth below.backpacking yosemite john muir trail cloud

The besties.backpacking yosemite john muir trail cloudbackpacking yosemite john muir trail cloudbackpacking yosemite john muir trail cloud

13 years of adventure together….never gets old with this guy!backpacking yosemite john muir trail cloud

The trek (Day 2) from Cloud’s Rest to our Half Dome base camp (somewhere near Sunrise Creek).

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Near Sunrise Creek to base camp before ascending Half Dome the next morning. Cards by the fire…#1 favorite backpacking hobby.backpacking yosemite john muir trail cloud

The life force. I may or may not have been known to eat the beans whole.backpacking yosemite john muir trail cloudbackpacking yosemite john muir trail cloudbackpacking yosemite john muir trail cloud

There aren’t any photos from the hike through the sub dome as we left camp in the pitch dark. The sunrise from sub dome.backpacking yosemite john muir trail cloudbackpacking yosemite john muir trail cloud

Another view of the sunrise on sub dome.backpacking yosemite john muir trail cloud

So…when we arrived at the top of the sub dome, this was literally our view of Half Dome…ya…nothing to see. I was adamant that I was not hiking that damn thing if there was even a lick of moisture on the rock. I must admit that this made me a little nervous.backpacking yosemite john muir trail cloud

As we chilled and waited for the clouds to pass, we made the decision to head up.backpacking yosemite john muir trail cloud

And up…and yes I stopped for a few pics. Maybe I am crazy but we started so early we nearly had the ropes to ourselves so I wasn’t holding up the line. I may have had some heart rate issues at this point.backpacking yosemite john muir trail cloud

This was my first view after coming over the last “hump”.backpacking yosemite john muir trail cloud

The buddies coming over the last section.backpacking yosemite john muir trail cloud

We were a little bummed that the visibility wasn’t so good but the super rare “brocken spectre” more than made up for it. I mean check out the human reflection inside the rainbow. No idea how it does that but I’ll take it!backpacking yosemite john muir trail cloud

Forget about the missing view of the valley…brocken spectre DUDE!backpacking yosemite john muir trail cloudbackpacking yosemite john muir trail cloudbackpacking yosemite john muir trail cloudbackpacking yosemite john muir trail cloud

The descent…which was surprisingly much less scary than the ascent. I usually enjoy uphill much better but not this time!backpacking yosemite john muir trail cloud

And over we go! Ya, that part was pretty much the steepest. I did not stop to take photos past this point.backpacking yosemite john muir trail cloudbackpacking yosemite john muir trail cloud

I am so stinkin’ happy I am almost to the ground!backpacking yosemite john muir trail cloud

Ya, we did that. Notice how empty the cables are still…go off peak and early and enjoy things with less people around!backpacking yosemite john muir trail cloudbackpacking yosemite john muir trail cloudbackpacking yosemite john muir trail cloud

The final jaunt to Little Yosemite Valley.backpacking yosemite john muir trail cloudbackpacking yosemite john muir trail cloud

#nerdalert

This was the last picture we took because we basically ran the last 5 miles so that we could get cheeseburgers and fries. Of course all the restaurants were basically closed so we were stuck with a bowl of pasta salad and a crappy pizza at Curry Village. Don’t worry…we stopped for 2nd dinner on teh way back to Sac.

If you have two legs that work and a passion for nature and adventure, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE put this journey on your bucket list and do it. It will change you. And make you feel like a bad ass if only for a weekend.

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In Love and Adventure,

The Clarks

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