August 1, 2010: Yosemite Valley to Sunrise
I awoke at 5:30 AM and had the desire to get on the trail as soon as possible. The tent cabin rental included breakfast, but that opened at 7:00. I ate my bananas, checked out and started walking toward the trailhead as the shuttle buses were not yet running. The hike started on familiar trail as I had attempted to climb Half Dome on my previous visit to Yosemite. That hike was cut short by rain when I got to the base of the cables. I quickly climbed the trail past Vernal and Nevada falls, to the Half Dome junction. There was a small black bear in the trail near Nevada Falls, and I stayed about 50 yards from it while it finished eating a plant. It eventually left the trail and I continued hiking. From there, I had intended to go directly to Sunrise, but I took the turn for Clouds Rest. This would be the first and only turn that I would miss on the trip. I must have had Clouds Rest in my head since I had been following signs toward it from the Valley. I quickly realized what I had done, but I decided to stick with it as it would only add about 4 miles to the trip. The view down to Half Dome and the valley is amazing as the summit of Clouds Rest is 1100 feet higher than Half Dome. I descended from the mountain in the direction of Sunrise. Shortly after leaving the summit, I met a group of women who were planning to take 40 days to hike the trail. Getting food would be difficult with a pace that slow. They were the first people I had met that were planning to hike the full JMT. The trail descends to 8800 feet and then climbs to 9800 feet before reaching Sunrise. I arrived at Sunrise around 6:00 PM and found a small campsite in sand. This area is quite popular and the impact of the previous campers was obvious. This was one of the longest days I had ever hiked and I was very tired.
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