Yosemite North Rim — Sept 3–5, 2016

I met Jina and Lucas back in February on a Saturday morning bike ride in San Francisco. After the ride we grabbed lunch and hung out in Golden Gate park — turning it into a quintessential San Francisco Saturday. This was around the time that I was interviewing at Strava and I took it as a good omen for moving to SF.

Fast forward to Labor day weekend and we had decided to team up for a 3 day hike in Yosemite. Our group of five would include Tyler and myself, Lucas, Jina, and Lucas’ roommate Clark. The three of them drove out to Yosemite during the day on Friday to pickup trail permits and bear canisters. They camped at the walk-in backpackers campground. Tyler and I arrived later that night opting to sleep in the car in the parking lot.


In the morning we grouped up and drove to the Big Oak Flat trailhead. Since our route started and ended in different places we left one car behind as a shuttle. Our first day would involve the most climbing ending with a campsite on top of El Capitan.

We passed through magnificent forests with bright green moss and huge pinecones. It’s easy to see why John Muir was so captivated by this place.

Green moss on the trees hiking up from Big Oak Flat

Lunch consisted of Bahn Mi sandwiches, which Tyler and I have adopted as our new favourite trail food. Our candy choice for this trip turned out to be a hit with everyone — Trader Joe’s knockoff Swedish Fish called Scandinavian Swimmers. It is mandatory to keep all food in bear canisters while backpacking in Yosemite, so each of us was weighed down with a 10L bear canisters and more than happy to lighten the load by eating!

We reached our first campsite with plenty of light to spare and got our first views of Half Dome and the Yosemite valley.

Looking at Half Dome from El Capitan
Photo op on top of El Capitan

For dinner we had cauliflower and tofu curry. We carried in a big bag of chopped cauliflower on this trip, no freeze dried dinners for this crew!


Our route for day 2 would take us from El Capitan past Yosemite falls to a campsite near North Dome.

We were lucky that there was still water running in some of the streams along this route. We filled up our bottles at every opportunity not certain when the next water source might be. After a quick stop for water we got more great views of the valley.

We stopped for lunch at the top of Yosemite falls. On the menu was wraps and of course more Scandinavian Swimmers. At this time of year the falls were completely dried up. There were some nice pools at the top and we spent some time relaxing and even going for a swim.

We pushed on towards our campsite with a detour out to the top of North Dome which has the best views of Half Dome.

Looking across at Half Dome from North Dome

We setup camp and watched the sunset over Yosemite while enjoying a delicious bowl of mac & cheese.


Our last day would take us past Indian Rock before descending to the Valley floor and back to the car.

The descent was a leg burner and I think we were all happy our packs and bear canisters were mostly empty by this point. Having spent most of the trip on the valley rim looking down, the views looking back up at Half Dome were jaw dropping.

Happy campers

Back at the parking lot we crammed into the car, dropped off the the bear canisters and shuttled the crew back our other car. Capping off the trip with a well deserved stop in Groveland for dinner.

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