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20 Best Outdoor Vacations for Firefighters

Tania Khadder

June 11, 2010

10. Climbing Half Dome

Test your strength — and courage — by climbing to the top of this California icon. It’s the most demanding day hike in Yosemite, and some consider one of the most dangerous trails nationally. With an elevation gain of 5,000 feet over 8.5 miles, exhaustion, altitude sickness and dehydration are not uncommon.

Choose between the Mist Trail, lined early on with glorious waterfall views, or the slightly easier John Muir Trail. Whichever way you go, the last 200 yards are killer. So steep, in fact, that you need to pull yourself up with cables. Intimidating, to say the least, but when you do get to the top you’ll be glad you did. In addition to an overwhelming sense of accomplishment, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of Yosemite Valley and the High Sierra. Tip: Bring gloves. The cables to the top can be slippery.

For tips on trip-planning, safety and local contacts, visit Yosemite’s National Parks Service website.

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