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Getting lucky in Yosemite


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After two solo backpacking trips as a volunteer in Desolation Wilderness, I managed to convince my lovely wife to join me in the mountains for a couples trip. It didn't take much. She's a big fan of the Sierra and of backpacking, as long as the latter isn't too strenuous.

We've been to lots of places in the Sierra, and we always like to try something new. That can present challenges, especially when she requests that we not climb too high, and not drive too far.


I was able to get a permit for Lyell Canyon in Yosemite--not bad, on such short notice--and from there we can explore the Kuna Crest, which we've never done before, or Ireland Lake, for that matter. All good. And the night before, we'll spend at one of the backpacker's campgrounds in Yosemite.

Snag. The backpacker's campground in Tuolumne Meadows, along with the rest of the campground, is closed. So, too, for White Wolf. That meant our options were either Yosemite Valley, which is way off our route, or Hetch-hetchy, which is...also way off our route.

I went on recreation.gov to see what might be available off Highway 120 above Groveland--but found only first come first served sites--and that usually means getting up very early in the morning in the hopes of finding a spot. And nothing guaranteed.

Then I checked the newly refurbished Crane Flat campground--I'd checked it days earlier, and it was booked solid. But maybe...

YES! There was one site available. I booked it, complete with senior discount, for $18. And now we have a guaranteed night at high elevation the day before our trip. Sometimes being lucky it all it takes!

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