Yosemite: You Can’t Always Get What You Want

We were going to Yosemite and we were climbing Half Dome. That’s all there was to it. I had found out that you have to join a lottery to get a permit, as they now limit the number of people that can climb it each day, but I wasn’t worried. There were only two of us and we had multiple days to choose from. Our chances of getting a permit were pretty much guaranteed. In addition, I could enter the lottery in my name and again in Brett’s increasing our chances that much more. There were still a couple of months before the lottery opened, so I put a reminder on my phone and forgot about it.

In the meantime, I researched everything about Half Dome. I knew it wasn’t an easy hike, so I wanted to be prepared, and I had to convince Brett that this was something he wanted to do. He can hike like a beast, but he’s not a big fan of heights. I found videos of little kids on it, and lots of first-hand accounts. I also came across the documentary Valley Uprising, which instantly became one of my favorites. I have watched it three times, and I’m sure I’ll watch it again. After our intense Half Dome immersion, Brett was in.

Half Dome
Image Courtesy of Merced County Events

The day of the lottery, my reminder went off and I entered us the moment it opened. I entered us both under multiple days and the only thing left to do was to wait for the email telling us for which day we had been chosen, which wouldn’t be for a month and a half. I was so excited I couldn’t stand it!

Everything was planned. I had recently purchased new hiking boots especially for this trip and was busy breaking them in. I had our packing list all dialed in, camel backs washed, high carb and protein snacks purchased, backpacks, hiking poles, lightweight rain jackets. We were ready!

And FINALLY the day arrived. Three emails from the National Park Service were in my inbox, and I couldn’t contain my excitement. I opened the first one. “We’re sorry to inform you that you have not been selected for a Half Dome permit for June 6.” Okay, no biggie. I had two more emails and Brett had three. I opened the second. “We’re sorry to inform you that you have not been selected for a Half Dome permit for June 7.” My heart started beating a little faster. I opened the third. “We’re sorry to inform you…”

“Brett! I need you to look at your email!” I was starting to sweat. There have been too many times to count over the years, when I have been so thankful I married an unflappable man. The more worked up I get, the calmer he becomes. This was one of those times. After months of anticipation, research, DEVOTION, we had been rejected. It hurt. A lot. And I’m not proud to say that there were tears. For better or worse, I tend to get passionate.

I didn’t even want to go anymore. What was the point? It took me a few days, but I started to come around. I was being a total baby and I needed to get over myself. It was Yosemite, for God’s sake! We hadn’t been rejected; we had been unlucky in a random lottery. And there were a ton of other amazing hikes. I started my research anew. I was determined to make this one hell of a trip.

Up next: Yosemite by any other name…

40 Comments on “Yosemite: You Can’t Always Get What You Want

  1. Loved your story…I could totally see your face during all of your emotions. Great read. Don’t worry you’ll get there. You are one of THE most determined people I know. Love you guys!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Had no idea about this lottery system, seems odd. Do you know why it’s necessary? Volume of people, i guess? This was a really interesting post and that documentary looks intriguing as well.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, it’s because of the volume of people. There is only one way up and down and it was becoming very dangerous. You can watch the documentary on Netflix if you have it. I predict you’re gonna love it! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. awww man….that blows. We hiked Half Dome about 6 or 7 years ago. Had no plan to do it, BUT, at the last minute, we walked into the permit office and got a camping/Half Dome permit for that night. We were on our way out of the park and just happened to stop on a whim…there’s still a chance!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hi julie , hope you are doing well, I feel like I haven’t heard from you from ages(when I am the one so busy with life recently). This was wonderful to read and I am sorry you ve couldnt get what you wanted . more are waiting for you :-). I have never even heard about this Yosemite before but now how I long to add it to my bucket list too. Keep on being inspiring . Wishing you more luck ??? ha3. and stay safe . ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Antsa!! It has been awhile. I’m so happy to hear from you. Yosemite is a very famous national park in California and I hope someday you will make it out there. It is quite a special place! Thank you for your best wishes. And I wish you the best too! I have two more crazy weeks ahead and then I’ll be able to get caught up on all my favorite blogs, like yours!! xoxoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  5. OMG after so much planning too… The Merced County photo shows this is STEEP!!! Really steep! Wow! Amazing… Not for me, but amazing! Great attitude for finding alternatives.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. So sad to hear tat you didn’t get the permits to hike! But think yourself lucky to still be able to go – we had a 2 week road trip with Yosemite planned for 2 days and it unexpectedly snowed the night before we arrived and the Tioga pass was closed!! We didn’t have the time to travel all the way around and enter from the West, so we had to skip Yosemite all together!! But on the plus side we had more time in SF.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh my gosh, Zoe. I don’t know what I would have done. But you have it exactly right…bad things always have a plus side, you just have to look for it. I hope you make it back there some day!! It’s incredible.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks for responding! & yeah we definitely plan to go back for Yosemite one day (as well as LA which we didn’t visit). One day… 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

      • I lived in the LA area for 34 years. You didn’t miss much. Haha I’m just kidding. It’s a fun place to visit but not to live. Too much traffic and smog! I hope you get there one day!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Haha yes we’ve heard a few locals saying that!! We’ll see for next time 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Strange, I’ve never heard of that either!! Will have to take a look (still rather new to all this wordpress stuff!) Thanks for letting me know!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hey again. You might need to contact WordPress customer service for them to help you. I tried following you again and it’s still saying it’s a protected blog and I had to submit a request to follow. I did, but it’s kinda weird.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes I was looking into it yesterday and I think its because I have a wordpress link and now use my own domain, though because im not very WordPress savvy I think I will contact them and find out! I don’t want to delete anything and regret it haha. Thank you again!


  7. Pingback: Yosemite By Any Other Name… – Empty Nest Adventures

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