Open House!

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

Get or Give Half Dome permits<HERE>

Everyone is invited to an Open House at the Briceburg Merced River Center at Briceburg. Where? OK, it’s on Highway 140 just northeast of MidPines (which is northeast of Mariposa). It is on the left side going towards the park and looks like an old gas station. It’s where the Merced crosses over to the west and disappears from sight as you drive along Hwy 140. The Open House will be:

                                Friday August 20

            1 pm – 3 pm Book signing hosted by local authors

           3 pm – 4 pm Program and snacks

Did I say “snacks?”   Lobster? Abalone? King Crab legs?   Well, maybe pretzels.  The historic granite building has been recently restored and renovated.  Improvements include fresh paint, new floors and cabinetry, a permanent year-round restroom, and a mural created by Mariposa County High School art students depicting life along the Merced River. They have great detailed maps to refer to and are seasoned hikers – just ask for help. The building is staffed by the Bureau of Land Management and Yosemite National Park. Say hi to Tracy Greenwood who cheerfully attends to visitors seeking info on the park and rafting down the Wild and Scenic Merced. They also sell my book!! Stop by if you are in the area. Tell them Mr. Half Dome sent you!

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read and all the friends I want to see.” – John Burroughs

*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –


5 Responses to “Open House!”

  1. AL Says:

    speaking of permits, The Wave is probably one of the BEST if not the BEST one to have.

    Going around because we cant cross the flooded area
    • Sönke Says:

      True. Unfortunately “The Wave” is loved to death. Mainly thanks to my dear countryfellows once pictures have been published in a well known magazine in 1996 and 1998 (it has not been discovered by German hikers but it was published in 1996 in a German magazine – the site has been known for a long time before but kept relatively secret).

      It’s a tragic sight at the Ranger station each morning when it’s lottery time. 100+ people is common to fight for 10 permits for the next day. In my experience it’s more like 90% Europeans (and some Japanese people) but I’ve read reports that more US Citizens.

      I’m disgusted by idiots who are posting maps, exact GPS coordinates etc. on their websites just because they crave for attention.

      “The Wave” and the whole area of the Coyote Buttes North have suffered already and I’ve documented a lot of vandalism in 2008 (e.g. someone painted large colored direction arrows on the fragile sandstone to make it easier to find the way). I tried to create awareness to protect nature amongst my countryfellows (e.g. in photography forums) but an iconic shot on their living room wall seems to be more important than to behave responsible. 😦

      From my discussions with the BLM I know that the Japanese government has come forward with numerous requests to make access to “The Wave” more easy so tour buses can drive to the trailhead (the road to the trailhead is unpaved and can be a bit of a bumpy ride). They also want the limitation of 20 hikers per day gone.

      It’s just another sad example why sometimes regulations are a must (no matter how much I hate regulations).

      If you can’t get a permit for the Coyote Buttes North it’s more than worthwhile to try the Coyote Buttes South (permit required as well but way less travelled, access is not easy though due to very sandy roads that require HCV or at least a real 4WD and some driving skills). Also there are endless nice hiking and photo opportunities just outside the restricted area. The Buckskin Gulch (US$6 fee, no permit required) is also a nice day hike if you are interested in slot canyons (make sure to check out the weather forecast especially during “flash flood season”).

      • Sönke Says:

        I actually failed to complete my sentence:

        …more US Citizens have applied for permits in 2009 and 2010 than in the years before.

  2. AL Says:

    Thanks Sönke for the info. I think The Wave as well as Half Dome needs to be protected with a 24/7 permit system and quota. The Coyote Buttes is a dangerous place to be lost especially novice hikers. My family does not believe in GPS. We use maps and compass all the time. But for The Wave, the document provided by BLM was sufficient to find our way around. If a GPS runs out of battery, a novice would be in deep trouble. That’s why I teach my kids the basics.

    Here’s how I won the lottery permit for my family of 5. I selected the day with the least entries which is Friday the 13th of August. Then I entered 5x. The lottery entry keys off a unique email addresses instead of credit card numbers.

    I was actually prepared to get a raincheck permit for the Thanksgiving week because it had been raining the past two weeks prior to our hike. The road was impassable until August 11 with the last rain on August 9. We were so fortunate to have clear weather on the 13th because the road is probable flooded again today due to rain since Tuesday. August is considered the worst month for the Wave. It is the wettest month. It is also the month with the least visitors.

    If it is my first time in the area, I would do anything to get the Wave tickets than shoot for plan B in Coyote Buttes South or Buckskin Gulch. Every day is a risk for some novice idiot who could deface or destroy the beauty of the Wave. Upper Antelope Canyon became guided group only because morons started writing on its walls and punched holes for rock climbing.

    • Sönke Says:

      Big thumbs up, Al! We need more parents like you. 🙂 I think it’s a good and important thing to teach kids like you do.

      Smart thing how you’ve won your lottery permit. 😉

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