The popularity of hiking Half Dome in Yosemite has steadily increased over the years. To preserve the integrity of the cables, the National Park Service limited the number of daily hikers to only 300. To obtain one of the permits, the NPS instituted a lottery. The preseason lottery opens during the month of March and results are announced in April. A second lottery is held each day during the hiking season. The hiking season lottery is held 48 hours in advance of the day you desire to hike and results are announced 24 hours prior to your desired hiking day.
Audry and I both entered the preseason lottery and neither obtained a permit. We were disappointed and knew we would try the daily lottery but, didn’t put to much hope into obtaining a permit.
We entered the lottery on Monday, July 3rd in hopes of securing permits for Wednesday, July 5th. Audry was the winner! She was able to secure two permits for us!
On July 4th, I left Tokyo at 8:00 pm and arrived in San Francisco at 1:30pm. Audry picked me up at the airport and we drove to Yosemite. We stayed in Half Dome Village in a permanent tent. It was getting late by the time we were settled and we tried to make it an early night because we wanted to be hiking by 5:00 am.
And we were. We started out to Half Dome at 5:00 am and returned to our cabin just before 7:00 pm. It was a fourteen hour hike. We checked at least 5 times along the way we had our permits for the Half Dome cables. Every time, yes! And we laughed.
When we reached the cables, we rested before we climbed. Guess what we didn’t have to do – show our permits to climb the cables! Yep, no one was there to check!! What??!?! All of the other hikers were just as surprised as we were. Guess the day after a holiday isn’t a very busy day!
Finally, we reached the paved road. So close!