Merced Lake and Yosemite Valley Trip Report

This weekend a hiking group from school went to Merced Lake, near Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park.

Gear List

Sleep & Eat Tools

  • stove - cat food can with hole punches
  • fuel - half liter denatured alcohol
  • cook set - spoon, fork, small pot w/ handle
  • sleeping bag - big one, slept outside and was not cold. heavy though
  • sleeping pad
  • trowel
  • water filter
  • purification tablets (also drank out of the lake)
  • backpack (red coleman)
  • drawstring pack to hold clothes
  • tarp stakes, various ropes and ties
  • bear box to hold food


  • boots (thanks dad)
  • light thermal
  • wool sweater - (worn) too heavy for what it does
  • gloves
  • running tights
  • running shorts - for swimming, day time chillin'
  • khaki levis (worn)
  • 2 underwear (1 worn)
  • 2 pair socks (1 worn)
  • sandals
  • backup poncho (didn't use)

Food & Water

  • water - 2L bladder (thanks mom & dad) and one squeeze bottle
  • quinoa
  • coconut oil - small bag (infused with seasons this time)
  • gorp
    • salted almonds
    • unsalted cashew pieces
    • yellow rasins
  • celery
  • almond butter
  • dried apples
  • all my vitamins/supplements
  • gin-gins


  • semi roll TP
  • toothbrush & toothpaste
  • carmex
  • camp towel (like a sham-wow)

I was happy with my gear on this trip. I didn't feel like anything was unnecessary, and had enough of everything. I ended up with a leftover bag of apple slices and a quart of GORP, but had actually planned on staying out a day longer than we did. Will take more quinoa in the future though.

My intention and preferred 3-day plan is: day 1: drive up and hike in, day 2: enjoy, day 3: hike out and drive back.


Met at meeting place at 5 am. Drove to Yosemite. On trail at noon. We explored the valley a fair amount, there are a lot of attractions and sights here. The trail was gorgeous and 13.1 miles. In the first five miles we saw ~2000 people, last 8 miles we saw ~7 people. The trail led up around the falls and beautiful sights that I cannot fully detail here. We passed a fair amount of ice in the higher elevations, which was gnarly once it got dark around 6 or 7. We made it to our campsite by the lake around 7:30(?). It was dark, so we set up and ate some food. I slept outside in my sleeping bag and was not cold at all.

The trail ended up taking the group longer than planned so we decided that walking back and driving in the same day would be too much. We had tried to reserve a campsite in the valley the previous day, but they were on a first-come-first-serve basis. We were unable to make a reservation. So, the plan became to hike out Sunday, sleep in the valley, and wake up and drive home Monday.


Wake up and hit trail by 11:00am. I explored the lake a lot this morning, walked on some ice and took a dip. It was absolutely stunning. Yosemite absolutely lives up to the hype it receives. We walked back and took an alternate route for the last few miles. We eventually drifted apart and my group ended up on a longer route. Not a big deal, but we were split for a few hours. When we got back to the valley it was around 6:00, so we decided to eat and find our campground. Some folks already didn't want to sleep in the valley, so one car decided to go back that night. There was horrible traffic so we had time to kill. We walked around the valley through the shops and pizza parlors next to the camp sites. Pretty funky. It was incredibly crowded. We split and our group went to find the campsite. It ended up being full. We cooked our last meals and hit the road, arriving in SLO around 2:00am :(

It was a terrific trip and I will be doing it again. Next time, I want to hike into the lake and establish camp so I can do some runs to the other lakes.


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