Lyell Fork bridge (mile 932) to Toulumne Meadows, 11 miles
Cost: camped, free
I slept really well even with the thunderous sound of the stream nearby. It was so loud that my alarm was going off for 5 minutes before I heard it!
We said goodbye to Mr & Mrs Smith who were meeting family in Toulumne (and left earlier than the rest of us but we hope to all hike out together again), then descended into a valley for a lovely, leisurely hike.
We arrived in Toulumne and the first building we stopped at was the wilderness station. There were about 12 people queued up in front of us which we didn’t think was many people but we waited in the queue for more than an hour before getting to the front. We had wanted to ask about permits for completing the JMT into Yosemite Valley and camping in the valley along the way but all permits for today and tomorrow were gone. The only way we could finish the JMT was to stay at the Toulumne campground tonight and day hike the 24 mile JMT tomorrow.
We continued onto the store which was really well stocked for hikers then got a burger from the grill and sat out the front on the picnic tables. There were so many hikers and it was great to see familiar faces but there were also dozens of tourists and it felt very busy. One of our group overheard some tourists commenting on how smelly another of our group was when we were all in the queue to order our burgers! … We are conscious of smelling but it’s not until you meet day hikers or tourists that smell of soap, shampoo, deodorant and cleanliness that we realise just how bad we do actually smell!
We eventually left the picnic tables to find a campsite in the hiker area for $6 per person. There was a slight lack of communication between the group as we all came loaded with a 6 pack of beer! It was a long fun night as we all chatted, drank beer and ate snacks from our resupply.