Toulumne Meadows campground to North Pines backpacking campsite in Yosemite Valley (via Cloud’s Rest), 30 miles
Cost: Cowboy camped, $6
My alarm went off at 4:45am which felt way too early! The plan for today was to hike the rest of the JMT down into Yosemite Valley but with a detour out to Cloud’s Rest which had come very recommended for the views of Half Dome and the valley. We would miss the last bus back from the valley to Toulumne Meadows (1:30pm) so we could either hitch back the 20 miles or stay the night at the North Pines campground in the valley (without needing a permit). Teflon’s plan was to come back so she left her tent up but Shepherd, KC and I packed ours up and took all our things with just a few snacks to get us through the day, knowing there were restaurants in the valley.
None of us were feeling that well after our late night but the trail didn’t care and after we passed the visitor centre, it steeply ascended. We hiked fast in the cool of the morning and the miles flew by.
We turned off the JMT after the Sunrise high Sierra camp to join the trail to Cloud’s rest. We passed a few lakes where we filled up with water and got attacked by mosquitoes and climbed up and up to Cloud’s Rest which sits at 9,926 feet (3,025 metres).
We sat and had lunch on top of Cloud’s Rest before starting the 10 mile hike down into the Valley – I wasn’t looking forward to 10 miles down with my dodgy ankle and knees… But actually it wasn’t that bad. We had all run out of food and water and it was incredibly hot as we descended into the Valley – the river was a very welcome sight when we finally stumbled across it. We filled up with water and I had a little shower by pouring water over my head and back – it was lovely and I probably would’ve gone in for a quick swim if we weren’t all so hungry and hadn’t seen the snake swimming across the stream!
The lower we got into the valley, the more paved the trail became and the more tourists we started seeing. We walked over the top of Nevada falls then had lovely views looking back up at it.
When we finally got to the bottom we needed to take a free bus to Curry Village where we were going to pig out on pizza. There were lots of people waiting for the bus and there was also an icecream/hot dog vendor at the bus stop. Did I mention how hungry we were?! Teflon and I were second in the queue to buy everything the man in the van had to offer but as some cruel fate would have it, the lady in front of us took forever to order 6 ice creams and by the time she left and we started to order, the bus showed up 😦 I was hangry.
We got on the full bus to the disappointment of everyone sitting around us, we smelt a lot worse now compared to yesterday! We had a delicious pizza and icecream for dinner, said goodbye to Teflon (as she tried to hitch back up to Toulumne) and KC, Shepherd and I walked over to the North Pines Campground. We figured out that we had hiked around 30 miles today and this would be the reason we were so exhausted now. We got to the campground and were too tired to pitch our tents so we cowboy camped – even after hearing the Ranger say there was an injured bear that often came through the campground… That’s how tired we were!