Before departing Yosemite prematurely in July due to the Washburn fire, Juliet arranges for a wilderness permit to do the very same hike and camping in September, optimistic that all would be well in the park two months later. This, then, is our return.
Starting at the trailhead on Tioga Pass Road at an elevation of more than 8500’, we descend five miles to an overlook of Half Dome, one of the great features of Yosemite National Park. We have the entire overlook to ourselves. As you can see, it is stunning!
After enjoying the view from every corner of the overlook and basking in its beauty for a few hours, we reluctantly head back up the trail to set up our camp. We arrive at our chosen spot, a wide-open plateau, just before sunset and erect the tent, set up my cot, lay out the sleeping bags, and play cards until it is time to go to sleep.
During the course of the day, we drink liters of water. While the upside is that we stay well-hydrated, the downside is that we have to pee. A lot. We go twice before we retire at 10 pm. Unsurprisingly, I awaken three hours later feeling a great necessity to go again. The problem is, it is very cold (mid-high 30’s). I am snug in Juliet’s down sleeping bag wearing the following clothing: a wool shirt, long underwear, (tops and bottoms) a down jacket, hiking pants, a wool hat, and two pairs of socks. The thought of getting up and going out of the tent in the howling wind, tent sides flapping madly, is the last thing I want to do.
So I wait. I debate. Maybe I can suppress the need. You know, mind over matter. For the next three hours, I try to get up the gumption to go. Finally at 4 am, I can stand it no longer. By this time, Juliet has come to the same conclusion. We go outside. We can hardly stand up straight from the buffeting wind. Job done, we return to our sleeping bags in great relief. We fall back asleep for a few more hours and awaken again to the biting cold. There are definitely no mosquitos. We pile on the remaining clothes we have brought with us, break camp, and head out for another fine day.