Backpacker’s Camp Utilities

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

      If you are planning to do your future hike up Half Dome in 2 days, you might be staying at Little Yosemite Valley. You are permitted to spend you first arrival night in the “Backpacker’s Lot” in North Pines. That way you can get all organized and get a fresh start in the morning to head up to LYV.  Today’s blog can be put in the “TMI” – Too Much Information folder, but let’s get educated.
     Yosemite is in the process of taking out the of current flush toilets in this area and putting in new vault toilets. Why? Because the gravity sewer line serving the Backpacker’s Camp bathroom crosses Tenaya Creek and is impacting the creek flowage. This  sewer line will be removed from the creek bed. Yes, but what the heck is a vault toilet? Most of you can leave the room, as I continue.

     The common solution for human bodily waste elimination in places without running water or access to a sewer system is what is called a “vault toilet.” Waste is held in an underground vault or tank, usually between 750 and 1000 gallons in size, which is pumped out periodically. Yuck – not a job I’d take. Picture a long deep hole in the ground. Vaults are made of concrete or reinforced cross-linked polyethylene. This material will not crack or leak, so it meets all environmental standards. A typical vault toilet installation has the vault buried in the ground with a concrete slab poured in place directly over it. A pre-fab building is installed on the slab with connections to the vault for the toilet and vent pipe.  Fresh air naturally flows through the building and out of the vault and vent pipe.       Class dismissed.

Big REI sale on until Sunday – example: 1 quart Nalgene bottles for $6.89

On the YNP Half Dome  page . . . We are now evaluating how this permit system worked and will announce changes (if any) to the permit system for 2011 by the end of November.


Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Ooooh that smell. Can’t you smell that smell? Ooooh that smell – The smell of death surrounds you.” Lynyrd Skynyrd

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch –


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