:: Trip to the top of Clouds Rest (September 4 2010) ::

This was a dayhike to the top of Clouds Rest in Yosemite National Park.
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:: Saturday, September 4, 2010 @ 2:00 AM ::

The alarm went off at 2 AM when we had gotten to bed no earlier than 10 PM the night before. I knew this was going to be a long day. But in order for us to avoid traffic getting to Yosemite and make Clouds Rest (14.2 miles round trip) a day hike, we would have to get up early. So even though we were tired Timber and I got up, got ready, and headed out.
:: Saturday, September 4, 2010 @ 9:15 AM::
We got started on our hike at 9:15 AM. It took us a while to get here, we had to drive through Tracy, Manteca, Oakdale, Groveland, etc... Luckily there was very little traffic on the road, so we did not get stuck behind slow moving RVs or trucks on the route there. We even got to the Yosemite gate before they were open, so we didn't even have to present our National Parks Pass. Once inside the park we got into highway 120 and made our way to the Sunrise Lakes trailhead. All the parking spots were taken, so we parked on the shoulder of highway 120, got our stuff ready, and started the hike.

:: Saturday, September 4, 2010 @ 12:45 PM::
We made it to the top of Clouds Rest. It took us a while and most of it was up hill, but we were feeling great and thought it was pretty easy thus far. There seemed to be quite a few people on the trail and a few of them asked for directions. I think 75 % of the people were day hiking while the other 25 % were backpacking. The view from the top of Clouds Rest was awesome! From the top we could see Half Dome, Yosemite Valley, and Olmstead Point. The sky was clear and it was a nice warm day. We took some pictures and took a break for lunch.

:: Saturday, September 4, 2010 @ 5:45 PM::
On the way back, which was mostly down, we thought it would be as fast and easy as on the way up. After all, we were going downhill instead of uphill, so it should be a little bit faster. But it was not faster, it was slower, and it seemed to drag on forever. It also seemed like we were being passed by everyone. Eventually we decided to stop and take a 30 minute nap in the hammock because we were both tired of hiking and could use a little bit of rest. So we found a few trees we thought could handle the load and set it up. It was a nice 25 minute break, and the funny thing about it was that we were roughly 10 feet off the trail in a bright orange hammock but only 1 out of 20 people that went by saw us. Everyone was concentrated on where their feet would go as they went down hill.

:: Sunday, September 4, 2010 @ 1:30 AM::
Once we got back to the car we were really glad that the hike was over, but our day was not over just yet. Timber started out driving while I tried to take a nap, but I had a bad headache which prevented me from getting any kind of restful sleep. I didn't drive until we got to Oakdale. Once we got to Oakdale there was a lot of traffic, and we eventually figured out that they were doing a sobriety checkpoint. When we went through the police officer asked us if we had any Snapple in the car. I guess prius drivers tend to have Snapple or something. Once we got through the checkpoint we wanted to get something to eat at Taco Bell before going any further. But 10:30 PM on a Saturday night is a pretty popular time for the Taco Bell drive thru. We waited for a while, got our food, then ate it, and then I took over driving and took us the rest of the way home. By the time we got the car unpacked, showered, and got to bed it was 1:30 AM which made it a 23.5 hour day. But it was fun!

:: The Aftermath ::
This was a fun trip. It was a long day, but overall I would do it again. The first half of the hike up to the top of Clouds Rest was not that bad. It was a lot of climbing, but it was pleasent and we went at a good pace. But the second half, going back, seemed to be much more difficult. You just can't go down the steep granite steps as fast as you expect. And I was very glad that I brought the trekking poles because they really took a lot of load off of my knees. The drive back home was uneventful except for the sobriety checkpoint in Oakdale. So if you are tired of doing Half Dome all the time and yearn for another hike similar in size and scope but actually has Half Dome as part of the view, you should try doing Clouds Rest.