36125RE: Permit options for short first day
- Dec 18, 2013Mitch--
I have to disagree with the notion that staying in the valley at the backpacker camp in July is preferable to a night on the trail. Yosemite Valley ("YV") in July is VERY crowded (think Disneyland at elevation), and the backpacker camp is no exception. Granted, a close-in site will probably not offer great solitude, but I find it more appealing than hanging in the Valley.
Regarding your stated options, all are certainly do-able with a mid-afternoon arrival time. With the exception of a GP start, all will require some climbing. But that time of year gives you plenty of evening light to work with, and is a delightful time to be on the trail. A GP start in late afternoon to Illiouette is very lovely, but without transportation I think it adds too much to your already tight time table.
The logistics of picking up your permit are a concern, particularly if you are delayed. Rather than risk loss of the permit, my suggestion is to reserve a permit for the day after your arrival. When you pick up your permit, inquire about options to start that day. Getting something out of HI is not guaranteed, but is certainly possible. We have used this strategy three times, and have always been able to get out somewhere that day on a walk-up. If you are up to it, you might try to go out of GP by hitchhiking to the trail head, but figure a couple hours to connect rides getting there. While it is also possible to hike to GP from the Valley, it would be very physically demanding for a first day after flying in.
If you are on-time and get a walk-up, hit the trail. If late, or nothing is available, you can fall back on the backpacker camp.
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