Andrew on the Half Dome Diving Board.

JMT 2011, Day 19 -- 9/16/11

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Miles Hiked Today: 15, Total Trip Miles: 277.0.

We had a great night last night, sitting round the campfire, eating s’mores. Wes and Andrew really know the best ingredients to make great s’mores. We went to sleep thinking that we were going to hike downhill for about 10 miles today, and go home.

We were all excited to get up, and leave. We all woke up around 6, but Andrew was the first up and packed, and, without waiting for Wes and me, he ran out of the camp, saying “I am going to hike Half Dome, I will see you at the bottom”. He was gone before either of us could respond.

Wes and I followed about 20 minutes later, walking at a good pace. We meet up with Andrew again at the Half Dome trail junction. He was waiting for us, and he informed us that he had already hiked to the top of Half Dome, but it was a wasted trip because he had no camera to prove it, and he wanted all of us to go with him again. Wes and I had talked about it on the way down, and we already decided that we were going to do it anyway.

So the three of us headed up the Half Dome trail, without taking hardly any breathing breaks, and passing virtually everybody we came into contact with on the way up. Andrew was in the lead, but we all made it to the top within 15 minutes of each other. We were among the first up on this day, which means that we didn’t have to wait for anybody on the ropes.

On top, Andrew confessed that this was his first time up. That made much more sense, as it was hard to imagine that he had hiked 4 miles, and climbed 2000 feet, and did the ropes twice in a span of 20 or 30 minutes. But I was willing to believe him none the less.

We had a great time of exploring the top, taking pictures, and enjoying the triumph of the trip. Then Andrew led us down into Happy Isles, using trails that he knows. We went by Vernal Falls, a place I had never been. Lots of people viewing beautiful sights.

We were down in Happy Isles at 1:59 pm, one minute before our predicted window of 10-2pm, which was made a few days ago, and assumed that we would not be climbing Half Dome.

Andrew’s Dad, Mom, Brother, and Dog met up with us in Happy Isles with clean clothes and soap. We purchased a shower, changed, and had a great ride home. On the way we visited a wonderful steak restaurant.

It’s been a wonderful trip. You just cannot go wrong hiking the JMT.

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An early start today -- our last day.
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Half Dome from far off.
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Half Dome, as the trail takes us to the ropes. Four people on the ropes.
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View to the South at the bottom of the ropes.
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Closer view of the ropes.
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View to the North at the bottom of the ropes.
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The diving board on top of Half Dome.
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Pretty much the high point of our trip.
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The three of us on Half Dome.
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Andrew looks over the edge.
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Same view of Andrew.
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The top of Half Dome looks like the moon surface.
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More of the top.
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Getting ready to go back down the ropes.
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Last view of the ropes before we head home.
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The bridge at the top of Navada Falls.
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Resting at the top of Nevada Falls. Almost home.
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A view of Nevada Falls as we leave.
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Andrew showing us Vernal Falls.
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Another view of Vernal Falls.
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The famous ending (starting) sign. This terminates the JMT. Note that Wes has added a sticker that says "Plus 60".
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A blurry picture, but you get the idea.