Training is an essential part of being able to hike and backpack harder trails. Most people underestimate the demand for hiking and end up either huffing and puffing up the mountain feeling miserable the entire time, or they end up getting injured because their bodies aren’t trained correctly.
On a whim, I applied for the Half Dome permit on the last day of the preseason lottery opening. Surprisingly I got a permit! And for my second choice day! This hike was anything but easy. To this day, Half Dome is still one of the most challenging hikes I’ve done.
The trail starts from Tuolumne Meadows and follows the river until the ascent up Donahue Pass. As you climb higher and higher, you have expansive views of the meadows below and where you hiked from. You get a great view of Mt. Lyell and Lyell Glacier right underneath it. And you’ll pass a couple of pristine alpine lakes.
On my thru-hike, I planned to be on the trail for 17 to 18 days, so I needed to plan accordingly. The hardest part is not over packing, really thinking about what you’ll need and what you’ll want to eat.
I break down the whole permit system, including permits leaving Yosemite heading SOBO, permits heading NOBO, section hikes and basically every way you can get a permit to end up on the John Muir Trail.