How my childhood trips to Yosemite inspired my passion for snow backpacking

How my childhood trips to Yosemite inspired my passion for snow backpacking
(View of El Capitan while Snow Backpacking in Yosemite, February 2019)

I grew up in Berkeley, California and saw snow exactly once a year, in Yosemite. My family used to stay in these tiny cabins at the Yosemite Lodge which sadly were destroyed in the Merced River Flood in 1997. I think I was around four years-old when we started going to Yosemite and every year it was the week I looked forward to the most.

Maybe it was because I only saw snow once a year as a kid, or maybe it's just because Yosemite is absolutely magical in the winter - either way I fell in love with the snow and nature in winter thanks to these trips.

When I was around twelve years-old my Dad and I went backpacking for the first time, and yes - my first backpacking trip (during the summer) was also in Yosemite. I fell in love with backpacking instantly, even though I ended up with crippling altitude sickness that trip...I'll save that one for another post.

In High School I joined the backpacking club and started backpacking more regularly, it became a go-to for my friends and I with so many beautiful destinations just an hour or two from where we lived. Big Sur became one of my favorite spots with an amazing hike out to Sykes Hot Springs as one I would return to multiple times.

Then we all went to college and backpacking faded away from my life for a while. My friends that I backpacked with spread out across the country with my closest backpacking bud moving to New York City.

But as I got older I started to really miss backpacking, but I wanted to try something new that felt like it had been calling to me for a long time - snow backpacking. Luckily I was not alone, although I was almost alone because not many friends found camping out in the snow that enticing - but one did, and that's all it took.

In February of 2019 me and one of my best friends from High School decided it was time to make it happen, and of course - we picked Yosemite for our inaugural snow backpacking trip. We hiked out to Dewey Point, a peak with breathtaking views of El Capitan and the Yosemite Valley from a vantage point I had never seen before. Here are some of my favorite photos from that trip:

Photo of the Trailhead out to Dewey Point
Trailhead out to Dewey Point
Photo of the view looking West from Dewey Point
View to the West from Dewey Point
Photo of our first snow backpacking campsite setup
Our first snow backpacking campsite setup (not bad right?)
Photo of me and my friend Dory
Me and Dory, the only person crazy enough to do this with me
Photo of our snow backpacking kitchen
Our kitchen, complete with benches and a the ground
Photo of Dory shoveling at the campsite
Shoveling out stable ground
Photo of our campsite with our wind-blocking wall
Our first attempt at a wind-breaking wall

While a picture is worth a thousand words, one thing you'll learn about me is that I take a lot of videos. It drives my friends crazy but I think they'll thank me when we're old and can relive some of these memories! So that means that I do have some videos to share from my first snow backpacking adventure for those who want to get a better feel for what it was like, enjoy!

The hike out to Dewey Point
The view from Dewey Point
Shoveling out our campsite floor
My first snow backpacking kitchen