Yosemite National Park, arrived Monday, June 18 and spent two nights in the Valley Floor at Upper Pines before catching the hikers shuttle bus up to Tuolumne Meadows.
Before we went up to the meadows we hired a raft for a three mile ride down the Merced river. This was cool craic and really enjoyable down the river, stopped for a swim too.
We got the bus up to Tuolumne Meadows which is fantastic although at 8,600ft it’s tough at first on the lungs and got cold at night. The meadows are really nice although it was very dry last winter, the ranger said they only got 28% of normal snow fall. This has reduced the usually flower coverage of the meadows.
Up in the meadows we just relaxed as the altitude took a while to get used to but we managed a hike around the meadows which is more of a walk. Also we hiked up Lembert Dome which is at 9,450ft (2,880m), but only about 800ft up from the meadows.
We got the bus back down to the valley and are here for a few days before continuing our trip.
We both hiked up half dome which was a long, difficult and steep hike. About 14 miles (22.5km) from our campsite round trip and very tough. We got up at 05:20 and started our hike about 06:20 and we reached the top around 14:00 before we started our descent back to camp, arriving at 21:00. So a full day hike but the views were amazing. Most of the hike is up as the dome is 8,836ft (2,693m) high and from the valley floor is 4,800ft (1,463m). Considering that the highest mountain in Ireland, Carrauntoohill is only 3,409ft (1,039m) it is a lot of altitude and your lungs really struggle at times.
Coolest thing we did at Yosemite was the rock climbing which was really great and we highly recommend it for anyone who goes to Yosemite. We did it with the Yosemite Mountaineering School which have all the equipment and shoes (even my size) and show you the ropes, pardon the pun.