When Jim and I did this trip as a day hike a few years ago, I remember saying on top of Half Dome that I would have to take lots of pictures (I carried a Video Camera) because I would NEVER do it again. Well I guess I was wrong.
I learned from the first trip to drink more water. I always carry a filter to get water to filter from streams, so I don’t have to carry all of the water I drink (probably a gallon). One thing I did differently on this trip was to use a hydration system (basically a plastic bag with a long tube and a "bite valve" at the end) for hands free, on-the-go drinking. This helped a lot, but because I was drinking just water (I used to bring powdered Gatorade) I was feeling a little drained and craving something salty (thanks John for the Cracker Jacks!). Next time I’ll add the drink mix…lesson learned.
If you ever decide to do this I would recommend doing it in two days. This will give you plenty of time to admire God’s Creation. If you do it as a day hike, definitely leave EARLY (unless your in really good shape). Either way you do it I guarantee you will never look at Half Dome the same way again!
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Occasionally I receive e-mails asking for more information on Half Dome and Little Yosemite Valley. Here is a sampling of the questions and answers…
Are restrooms available along the trail? Yes, 4. Vernal Falls Bridge, Vernal Falls, Nevada Falls at the intersection of JMT & Mist Trail and Little Yosemite Valley.
Is the trail to Half Dome well marked? Yes.
Do I need a permit to hike Half Dome? Yes, you now need a permit to day hike to the top of Half Dome.>
Where can I get water along the way? The last potable water is at the Vernal Falls Bridge. You can filter water at various points along the Merced River. The last available water is a small spring along the trail about 1.5 miles from the top of Half Dome. I have gotten water there as late as September. Little Yosemite Valley has no running water, just the Merced River.