Backpacking is one of my favorite activities, and is always such an unforgettable adventure! Not only does it test your physical strength, but your mental as well. There is something special about trekking off into the wilderness for several days, it makes you realize how little you truly need… especially when you’re carrying it all on your back!! After each trip I seem to find at least one thing I can leave home next time, in order to make my pack just a little bit lighter! 😉
P E R M I T I N G
This particular trail can be found inside Yosemite National Park and requires a special permit that you can secure up to 24 weeks in advance. These permits go quick, so once you decide the days you want to travel, I recommend finding the exact date the application period opens and applying right away! Permits are very limited, but it makes it that much more special when you are out there in solitude. If you do not end up getting the permit and are inflexible with your travel dates, they have a number of first come first serve permits that are given to a few groups upon availability. If the trail is full, the permit stations are usually really good at directing you to an alternative trail that has openings. Follow this link for more detailed information on getting a permit!
If you are a nature lover and plan to visit several National Parks throughout the year, I recommend purchasing a National Park Pass! For $80 it gets you access to all National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands for an entire year, and covers whoever is in your vehicle! This is such a deal because Yosemite itself has a $35 entrance fee!
T H E T R A I L
This short trail is great for a beginner’s trip, although it is quite steep and gains about 1,000 feet over 3.5 miles. Remember, 3.5 miles backpacking is much different than 3.5 miles walking down a flat road without a pack! If you are new to backpacking I recommend training to help build your endurance and strength. Using a stair master machine at a gym or if available, finding hiking trails in your area are great options! Altitude can also be a problem for some people, when at a high elevation the air is much thinner making fatigue hit you a lot quicker! Some people like to stay a night in the area before hitting the trail; this allows their body to adjust to the new conditions. The good thing about this short trail is that you can take as many stops as needed along the way! The trail is out and back, meaning you hike in 3.5 miles, set up camp, and then return back using the same trail. We stayed two nights, giving ourselves one entire day at the lake, before heading back. There is free parking available right at the trailhead making it super easy to access.
Once you reach the lakes you are free to camp anywhere in the area. You are now in the backcountry! There is no numbered campsites, bathrooms, or loud neighbors right on top of you, just you and the wilderness! We only saw a handful of people during our entire stay. You can fish in the lake, hike to surrounding areas, and enjoy complete quietness. The star gazing is like nothing you have every seen before!!!
*Tip* For the best visibility, plan your trip closest to the new moon. Less light = more stars! We happened to be staying just under the milky way and my boyfriend got some incredible night shots!
T H E E X P E R I E N C E
If you have spent any time camping or out in nature, you have probably experienced how time seems to move a lot more slowly.
The simplicity of life when away from your normal routine makes you appreciate the small things- quietness, a warm meal, an epic view (that you busted your butt for!), the warmth of sun on your skin, the sound of raindrops on your tent, and good conversation with old friends. When you separate yourself from the to-do lists and daily distractions and surround yourself with nature, it is a lot easier to stay present.
Whether you are seeking to unplug, reconnect, or add a little adventure to your life, the outdoors makes us happier and healthier!
These trips are a way to gain inspiration, boost your gratitude, and deepen your connection with the people as well as the world around you.
Keep an eye out for my blog post on what to pack for a trip like this! After about 10 backpacking trips I finally put together a list for reference of my packing essentials that makes it SO much easier when preparing.
If you check out this trail I would love to hear about your experience! If you need any additional tips or have further questions feel free to reach out, let’s connect!