4am and we were up and out heading to the park. It was actually about 5:30am before we actually started hiking. Half dome is about a 15 miles round trip hike and we had heard it was best to start early - and that is the truth!
![blogPics](/static/img/ynp2018_3/ynp0.jpg "A fork in the Mist Trail")
We started off on the mist trail and ended up veering off to the John Muir Trail to the top of Nevada Falls. This ended up giving us a B-E-A-utiful sunrise view over the falls. The sky was still hazy from the wildfire, but i really think it gave a mystical jungle vibe to our experience. It was pretty!
![blogPics](/static/img/ynp2018_3/ynp1.jpg "Early morning half dome")
On the way up you get a brilliant view of half dome as well as a bit easier start than going the full mist trail ( which is about 19 billion stairs, but about 1.2 ish miles shorter - so we opted for the longer route) We stopped for 2nd breakfast at the top of Nevada falls which was awesome to be next to. Waterfalls are just beasts!
![blogPics](/static/img/ynp2018_3/ynp2.jpg "Nevada falls breakfast break") Continuing on, we only had about 4.5 more miles to the top of half dome, and it was a pretty long go. After a bit of climbing, the trail flattens out before starting on the next big uphill to get up sub-dome. You actually have to hike all the way around half dome and approach it from the back which makes the hike so long.
![blogPics](/static/img/ynp2018_3/ynp3.jpg "Sub-Dome") Once you make it to the foot of sub-dome - which is no joke in itself - you are presented with stairs on stairs of granite rock. There are fewer and fewer trees and nothing to grab on to on the way up. After actually seeing what it takes to climb, its a wonder only 1 person has died on climbing half dome.
![blogPics](/static/img/ynp2018_3/ynp4.jpg "Marble staircase of sub-Dome") After you make it past subdome, you get a nice little walk over to the real deal - half dome. You have about a quarter mile of what looks like straight up cable climbing. The nice part is that there are communal gloves left at the cables so you can choose to have some grippier hands if you want ( and we did).
![blogPics](/static/img/ynp2018_3/ynp5.jpg "The half dome push to the top!") The trudge up the dome is no joke. Its about 75 degrees or so (give or take) and the longer the day goes, more people get on the lines. This makes it a bit difficult because people are coming up and down in about a 3 foot wide area. I remember looking off to the side and my heart skipped a beat. It's exciting for sure to see that there is nothing to your left our right and the ground is WAYYYY below you. IIt takes some communication to organize who goes when but when you make it to the top -there is a huge moment of relief. ![blogPics](/static/img/ynp2018_3/ynp6.jpg "Its only up from here") Another awesome part is as you reach the end of the cables, the folks on there way down congratulate you - i'm not sure if this is tradition or not but it should be. I felt like a real climber who just accomplished something fairly big. It was a great feeling. We finished a short walk to one of the main peaks so we could enjoy a lunch reward from our accomplishment.
![blogPics](/static/img/ynp2018_3/ynp7.jpg "Crest of half dome") After some lunch, we took some quick pictures and explored the area. The dome is just a huge rounded piece of rock and our view was a bit obscured due to the smoke - but we didn't let that stop us from feeling good. We just talked ourselves into coming back later to do it again.
![blogPics](/static/img/ynp2018_3/ynp8.jpg ”waterfall at sunrise”) On our way down, we had to be just as careful because some folks like to get antsy and try to swing around you - not a good idea and they will be the ones to get someone hurt. We did notice that some people wore harnesses and locked in to the cables and that is a good protip for next time if you get hit by the nerves.
![blogPics](/static/img/ynp2018_3/ynp9.jpg "Sub-dome from the wall") We took the mist trail down to the bottom which was a nice reward as well. The Nevada and Vernal falls are so pretty and such good views, they made our tiredness go away for a bit. The way down was just as long as the way up and by the end of the hike, we had done something like 20 miles - way more than we expected and the previous two days hikes definitely didn't help us feel any better. ![blogPics](/static/img/ynp2018_3/ynp10.jpg "Vernal Falls on the decent") We both opted for showers in half dome village which was nice and then we headed back to camp to make some dinner and get some rest. This night we had some beanie weenies and green beans with mushrooms. We ate our fill - my watch told me we burned 2000 calories - just one the way up. We they headed to bed in hopes to get a bit more sleep to have a nice more relaxed day tomorrow.