As stated many time before if you can get your hands on a permit - DO IT!! This was a fabulous day and we enjoyed the beauty of the area.
However I have to chuckle at all the folks on here that say the hike is easy or no problem...I'm in pretty good shape, I exercise 3-4 times a week, mostly walking 3-5 miles and I found the hike strenuous at best. So I'm going to review the hike from my perspective as a 49 yr old female.
First, from a photographers perspective - I think I underestimated how much a 10lb backpack full of water, extra battery, extra lense, tripod, etc.. would affect my hike. It's so much harder to climb uphill in soft sand with the extra weight. At the end of the hike, even though I'm a fairly hard core photographer - I would dump the tripod as I never used it (the light is really good and with a good lense not really needed unless you are a fanatic!) and would even ditch my ultra wide angle lense...I only used it three times on my hike and stayed 98% with my 28-70...my niece used her 28-105 the entire time and her pics are fabulous as well! I took multiple panorama's by shooting 5-6 stills and stitching them together in Microsoft's ICE program which is a free program...I really liked how they came out. If I did this hike again I would simply bring my DSLR with the 28-70 or 28-105 lense and my little point and shoot (which also shoots in RAW)
The hike itself has challenges in that you will hike level soft sand, climb uphill in soft sand, go downhill in soft sand and climb horizontal rocks...a great pair of hiking shoes (not boots) was key for me to really feel stable and secure...they also kept the soft sand out of my socks...my niece had on a pair of Nikes and had to stop several times to empty her shoes out...
Lastly, don't forget the bit of elevation you face when hiking the wave...I'm from San Diego so hiking at 5,000-6,000 feet added a bit of a challenge to the day. I needed every bit of water I brought and could've used even more - it was 65 degrees when we hiked so absolutely listen to the experts when they say you need about a gallon of water for this hike!
In the end we made it - it wasn't as easy as many folks had stated but then I assume all those folks hike for a living and are 25 and tri-athletes!! LOL...seriously though, don't underestimate it and you will do fine. There are no bathroom facilities along the way so be prepared. We did use a guide and I'm glad we did - they showed us some areas we probably wouldn't have found on our own and if you are lucky enought to get permits to this beautiful location - you will want to see all you can in that day! Enjoy!
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