We wake up in 6 a.m., because we plan to leave at 7 a.m. We have to start early, because we don’t have reservation for next night. Most of the camping places need reservation, but there are some available upon arrival. So the earlier you get there, the bigger chance to get camping place. 5 minutes long team meeting and discussing of plans, and we are on our way.
At 7:50 a.m. we arrive in Bridalveil Creek campground. It occurs there are no instantly available camping places. All the campground is full. We are suggested by volunteer ranger to walk around and ask to people whether they leave today. It works and we find two camp places that will come available during this day. Ilgonis and his companions succeed to arrange co-camping with some German campers. They are only two persons, but the limit is six persons per camp place (and 2 cars). At about 9 o’clock we have camp places for all. As we are suggested to place some of our belongings there, we build up our tents before leaving. Cost for one camp place for six people is 18 dollars. I must say we cheated a little bit and lived more than 6 people in every place. As one of reserved camp places is set free quickly we all gather there for breakfast.
At about 11 a.m. we are ready to leave for hiking. There are thirteen of us who are going to do the hardest route to Glacier Point and back to valley. Other five are going to take the easiest route – Mist trail.
Route to the Glacier Point is 7.5 km long with elevation of 900 meters. It’s pretty steep and all the way is going up. Most of us move quite quickly and are up in some two hours or little more. It’s not so easy for me, Māris, Ausma and Inese, and we reach the end of the route in 3 hours and 20 minutes.
Finally we all are on the top of this mountain and can enjoy the view, the fact that we did it, cold drink and ice cream. It was worth to hike up, the view from the Glacier Point is beautiful. And I think this is one of the better reasons to climb mountains – to enjoy the view. We can see the valley down and higher mountains beyond it, including the Half Dome.
And yes, there is a shop up there, and pretty much of civilization, because most of people don’t hike up there, but arrive with cars and have to walk just some five hundred meters to the Glacier Point reaching of what was quite hard hiking for us (at least for some of us).
After some thirty minutes we are ready for the next 13.5 km route to get back to the Yosemite Valley. It is called Panorama trail and it takes the hikers along Vernal Falls and Nevada falls. Almost all the way it goes down except part of the route in the other side of the valley which goes up again.
We hike without rush enjoying the view and taking a lot of photos. Thirteen kilometers seem nothing to us. Somewhere at the Nevada falls we realize that it’s still some 5 km to walk down and it’s already pretty late. Twilight sets at about 8 p.m. and it gets dark at about 8:30pm there. It means we really have to fasten our pace to get down, because it’s pretty dangerous to hike in the darkness on the wet stones (it’s also raining from time to time).
So three of us decide to hurry down – me, Ausma and Inese. Others still decide to go till Nevada Falls and then down taking the longer route. We are down from the mountain little before 8 o’clock making it in the twilight still. The last 750 meters along the valley we walk in the darkness, but we have one flash light, so there is no problem with walking. Soon we are at the road where shuttle bus goes. It goes along the valley and is free of charge. We are happy to be down from the mountain, but are little worried about our group mates, who are still somewhere in their way to the valley. While we are waiting for bus, we succeed to contact them on radio (walkie-talkies). They are fine and will be on the shuttle road in a while.
Bus arrives in ten minutes, and after some round along the valley we finally are at the parking place where we left our cars. We get a text message from others that they succeed to catch next shuttle bus.
At about half past nine we arrive in campground. Our tent is wet and not only from outside – in the morning rush we did not fix the outer layer well. We dry it as we can, then some late supper and sleep. It was long day and everyone is quite tired.
Officially both routes together should be 21 km long, but our GPS navigation says we made 26 km.