Our trip begins in Yosemite National Park, California. We meet our guides and our backpacking companions at the Backpackers' Campground, located at the far end of The North Pines Campground in Yosemite Valley. Group members must arrive at camp by 4:30pm for our orientation, gear check, and distribution of group gear and food. At the orientation, our guides provide invaluable tips about proper pack fitting for the female physique and discuss various other gear necessities with women’s considerations in mind. After our gear check and review of the upcoming itinerary, we have an opportunity to relax and enjoy dinner together at camp. Please allow yourself plenty of time to get to the campground, as traffic may get congested in the valley during peak season. Dinner included.
Today we enjoy breakfast before setting out on foot for our first backcountry campsite. We distribute group gear and food, review techniques for correctly packing a backpack, and discuss our route. Depending on our permitted route, we may start with either a park shuttle transfer to our trailhead (approximately one hour) or head directly to our trailhead from the valley floor. This is typically a full first day of backpacking, with time en route for lunch, a myriad of photo stops, and perhaps a dip in a mountain creek. Before dinner, our guides offer a primer on wilderness camping basics that covers such subjects as proper tent set-up in all conditions, sleeping comfort, fire building and backcountry bathroom etiquette. At dusk, look forward to camaraderie around the campfire as we watch for shooting stars overhead. All meals and snacks provided.
Backpacking: 5 to 7 miles; elevation gain/loss 1,000 to 2,000' depending on our route.
Another glorious day in the mountains awaits us as we don our packs and hit the trail. Depending on our route, this may be a summit day with only a daypack, or we may continue our hike with fully loaded packs to a camp on the shoulder of Half Dome. Our guides will share their passion for backpacking in the Sierras, and you may delight in a glimpse of a marmot or the call of the mountain chickadee. Before dinner tonight, the guides discuss a variety of backcountry cooking tips and techniques including stove and fuel choices, lightweight ingredient options, caloric goals, basic recipes and backpacking drink options. A hearty guide-prepared dinner will satisfy your belly and the Sierra stars will satisfy your soul. All meals and snacks provided.
Backpacking: 7 to 9 miles; elevation gain/loss: 2,000 to 3,000' depending on our route.
If this is our summit day, we'll rise early to enjoy the dome near sunrise, with a celebratory breakfast after we return to camp. Nevada and Vernal Falls will be both backdrop and soundtrack as we make our way down the Mist and John Muir Trails to the valley floor. At trail's end, we'll catch the park shuttle for a quick trip back to our cars at the Half Dome Village (formerly known as Curry Village) lot. Our estimated time of arrival back to our vehicles is approximately 4:30-6:30pm. However, please note that this may vary, as our return time is largely dictated by weather, trail conditions, hiking pace and other factors beyond our control. Breakfast, snacks and lunch included.
Backpacking 7 to 12.5 miles; elevation gain/loss 2,000 to 3,000'.