Pacific Crest Trail: the week we won the lottery

Hello dear readers. Thanks for all the lovely comments! I laughed out loud when reading some of them. Haven’t figured out yet how to reply on them. Technology is not my strongest suit 😉 Welcome to a new blog about Yosemite National Park and how we won tickets to climb Half Dome.


Ever since my parents gifted me a stuffed animal of a marmot it was a dream to see one in real life and I can’t believe that I’m only writing about them now. They are the cutest! Every time I see one my heart leaps. It’s marmot heaven out here so my heart is jumping a lot! I even encountered a marmot family. How lucky am I? Oh and I’ve also spotted some Pika’s, didn’t even know about the existence of this little animals.

Marmot family

We won the lottery

Together with a swarm of mosquitoes I entered Yosemite National park. I’ve heard so much about this place. The PCT goes through Yosemite but not down into the valley. Our pct permit gets us to a lot of places but not on the famous hikes of Yosemite. Because the park is so populair you need a different permit and these are hard to get, for everyone. There is a lottery which you can enter to get permits. The boys were bit ahead and gave us the best news over our Garmin; we won tickets to climb the famous half Dome! So stoked! We fly the last miles to Tuolumne Meadows. On my way down I pass a day hiker and it really is true; they smell so nice. Because the only filter I carry is a water filter I say this out loud. The woman gave me a puzzled look, I answered her with a quick smile and scurried off as fast as my hiker legs could carry me.

Tired but cute

We missed the bus to go down into the valley and have to hitch. Miso & I jokingly make up ‘rules’ for hitchhiking as women: you have to look tired but cute, naïve but smart, helpless but strong, exhausted but also fresh. We laugh so much about this and getting a hitch is easy. Neal, who is a climber (also a biologist), is so generous to not only give us a ride but also give us a tour. The ride into the valley is breathtakingly beautiful. The smells change, the forrest changes, more variety of trees. I realize that we have been on high altitude for quite some time now. My ears pop. I take it all in like a sponge. The huge wall that is El Capitan, unbelievable to see those tiny climbers with my own eyes. It gives me goosebumps. Half Dome, which we will climb tomorrow, is also majestic. We will be on top of that?

Trail magic in the valley

We meet up with the boys and stroll over the campground towards the backpackers camp. A guy comes up to us. ‘You guys must be pct hikers and I’m going to feed you’ he says. Not even 15 min later we’re sitting at their table and could even pitch our tents on their site. Thanks so much Brad & family! We had the best evening sharing stories.

Left you see the people going up!

Climbing Half Dome

To be honest with you guys. I didn’t research the hike. How hard could it be after climbing all those mountains? We tried to blend in with the day hikers but we couldn’t, surprisingly it’s not because of our smell. No, we are simply too fast. I’m amazed how strong we are. We fly up. Until we hit the ropes. Yes my friends, only two ropes to hold on to and you climb straight up the granite dome. It was a little bit too much like free solo for me! I managed my breath and whispered the mantra of the goddess of the mountains softly to myself as I started the climb. Vertically up the mountain. It was scary but fun! This national park is absolutely amazing. The waterfalls are unreal. I’m so happy we are doing this! In Miso’s words; ‘you just have to trust your feet!’

Half Dome, vertically up!

Tired but happy

It was a tough climb and we missed the bus to get out of the valley. Luckily we could stay at another campsite of a very nice guy. The next morning we hitched out of the valley and back on the PCT it is! It was a magical little detour! Onwards!

On the top!

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Comments 3

  • Conrad : Jul 9th

    No trail name? It’s obvious! It should be ‘Dish’! Dish is also a name for an attractive woman or man. I am lucky to have hiked half dome 3 times before that nonsense permit regimen. I mean what happens if people win a permit and can’t make it or decide not to do it? Then that means the same number of people have missed out on a once in a lifetime opportunity.
    My knees no longer allow me to hike as I once did, So I live vicariously through others’ blogs on The Trek.
    Waarvan in Nederlands ben jij? Ik ben al ingeburgered in Deventer hoor!

  • Christa : Jul 24th

    Once when I was as you as you we did not need permits to climb Half Dome. I slept on top. A marmot started to eat my food while I was collecting fire wood.
    This night on Half Dome was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life.

  • Eric : Jul 27th

    I did not hike up Half Dome when I was there in 1984, but I did walk barefoot through Toulame Meadows. Love the pic of the rope trail up. And your quote!!! Good luck on your travels. Once you step out your door, we’re all on the same path. 😉


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