Radio Free Half Dome

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

Yes, fans, Radio Free Half Dome is back on the air. I spent the last week hiking the Yosemite High Sierra Camps – all 5. So it was 6 days of 7-10 miles per. And funny how most were uphill. I am now in the best shape ever. And my system was purged of all junk food as I feasted on the nutritious meals prepared by the staff at each tent cabin complex. I actually lost 2 pounds. We did the clockwise loop: Tuolumne Lodge to Vogelsang to Merced Lake to Sunrise to May Lake to Glen Aulin to the car in Tuolumne. Great views, but at times it felt like the Bataan Death March with a 30-lb pack. You really appreciate just how BIG the park is. For one thing it soured my interest in hiking the 210 mile John Muir Trail. That could be like15-20 days of walking with a heavier pack.  I think the scenery we saw was the best. The Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne was superb. I made it down to Water Wheel Falls on a “haul-butt” 6-mile RT trek before dinner at Glen Aulin. The flow was low but still really nice.

We really lucked out in getting into the park at all. The fire closed the Big Oak Flat route and to the north the day before we left. So we took the Sonora Pass – Lee Vining route (4 extra hours) and came in from the east. They re-opened it just in time for our return home. If you want to do it in 2010, go <here>. The lottery process has already started.  For the first time, a computer based system will replace the paper one. You can choose the $1100 Ranger led trips, the $800 self trips, the mule ride, or just the meals option via a $5.00 Wilderness Permit and the price of food. You have until Nov 1 to apply. My advice if you go: Pack light (less than 25 lbs), bring a down sleeping bag (their 3 army blankets don’t cut it), earplugs, use hiking poles (the downhills are up to 3,000 ft), train in advance (the uphills are up to 3,000 ft). Bring enough batteries for your camera – there is NO electricity at the camps. Thanks to my hike mates: Kathy, Steve and Jim. Andn ow some photos for your dancing pleasure.

The journey begins

The journey begins


Beautiful lakes

Beautiful lakes


Breakfast at 7:30 am

Breakfast at 7:30 am


Water Wheel Falls

Water Wheel Falls

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Just got home from Illinois, lock the front door oh boy! Got to sit down take a rest on the porch. Imagination sets in pretty soon I’m singin’ – Doo doo doo Lookin’ out my back door.” – Creedence Clearwater Revival

*Mr. Half Dome -Rick Deutsch –


3 Responses to “Radio Free Half Dome”

  1. Frank Mussler Says:


    i did the loop in July. It was great, Waterwheel Falls were a blast then. So were the moskitoes at Vogelsang. What was the temperature at night this time of year ?

    Did it as a Ranger-hike with Ranger Mike Vanian. I can only recommend the guided hike, we were shown some “secrets” along the way, most hiker just pass by.

    The loop was the prequel to the hike up Half dome on my last day in Yosemite. Thanks to your book and the blog i follow since 2007 i survived the cables and Subdome easily.

    Greetings from Germany

  2. mrhalfdome Says:

    Frank – Hi back to Germany…note my last name!!

    No skeeters at all!! Perfect. Actually Vogelsang was one of the warmer nights. Odd that it is at 10,000 ft and the other camps were cold. We never could get a fire to stay in the the heater/stove. I REALLY liked my 700 fill down sleeping bag. And Balaclava. And Gloves. And earplugs. And eyeshades. Sleeping was sweet. Got in about 11 hours a night!

    We tailed Ranger Dick Ewart’s group the first day. He had 11. Yes, he tells you a lot of what you are looking at instead of wondering “What’s that mountain?”. But for $300 more AND they only did 3 camps – better our way. They also stayed 2 days at Merced Lake. We wanted to keep on the move.

    Thanks for the feedback on the book – What a great idea for gifts for all your dearest friends!!

    Carpe Diem!

  3. Steve Ryan Says:

    As one of Rick’s fellow travelers on this trip, I can second his comments. Conditions were great (aside from some Big Meadow smoke the first day or two) and the people running the camps do a great job.

    These camps would also be a great jumping off point for some real backpacking in the more remote areas. Nothing like one last shower and hot meal before sleeping on the ground for a while.

    If the link works you can see some photos from the trip, including one of the group featuring Mr. Half Dome himself :).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: