Items of interest involving Yosemite National Park, a personal fave, for this weekend:
1. Permits for climbing Half Dome in August will be available starting Sunday (May 1) at 10 a.m. ET/7 a.m. PT.
While 400 permits are available for each day in August, expect the permits (which carry a nonrefundable $1.50 processing fee) to be gone in minutes. To try to get one, the website to visit is Recreation.gov. A previous REI Blog post explains all the details.
Earlier this month the Sacramento Bee reported the discouraging news that scalpers have been nabbing permits and reselling them at a high price on websites such as Craigslist. The same nefarious practice has spread to campground reservations inside the park.
It is a tough problem to fix. This week a Yosemite official told The REI Blog that the Reservation.gov has yet to devise a scalper-blocker (such as a CAPTCHA, a human-at-the-keyboard verifier that requires users to view and confirm a line of distorted text) to keep the reservation system free of bad apples. "To date, we have not made any changes to the system," the official said. "We just recommend that people be flexible on their dates and try to get the permits online."
If you're gunning for an August Half Dome permit, the advice here is to log on early, enter all your personal information in the required form before the top the hour and start clicking at one second past. Best wishes to all honest, earnest people.
2. The Mist Trail, the classic walk that starts at Happy Isles and climbs to Vernal Fall (317 feet) and Nevada Fall (594 feet), was declared open to the top of Nevada Fall on Thursday. With sunny weather forecast through May 3 and a huge snowpack beginning to melt off, Yosemite's waterfalls are expected to put on a great show during May, their peak month. The park's current conditions webpage is a good resource for keeping up to date on changing road and trail conditions within the park.
3. A new short film from park videographer Steven Bumgardner (aka Yosemite Steve), an entertaining time-lapse view of human activity in Yosemite, was released Friday. See if you spot anyone you know in the clip: