Day 3 – 16.4 miles, 909 ft ascent.
I woke up to a tent that was drenched from condensation. I had closed my tent’s upwind storm doors, and apparently, it led to a lot of moisture in the tent. I made breakfast and waited for a while for the sun to rise high enough to hit my campsite and dry the tent.
I had a resupply to pick up at Tuolumne Meadows. I wanted to get lunch there too, so I didn’t want to get there too early. Walking down towards Tuolumne, I started meeting more and more day hikers. I also met a couple hiking the JMT that had also stayed at the same lake the previous night. They were also picking up a resupply at the post office, so we’d meet again in a while.
I took a short detour to Soda Springs, a naturally carbonated spring. The water was clear, although the ground around it was colored red-brown from all the iron in the water. The water tasted very metallic and was slightly carbonated. I decided to stick with normal water for drinking.
I got to the building with the store and post office before 10. I picked up my resupply box and put my devices to charge while I was sorting out my food.
The grill didn’t start serving lunch until 11:15, so I had plenty of time to hang out with other hikers and have some appetizer snacks while I waited. Both JMT and PCT hikers were resupplying, so it was an excellent chance to get intel on trail conditions.
The burger did not live up to expectations. Aramark, who has a monopoly on all concessions in the park, clearly has set the bar low on food. The burger was two re-heated pre-made patties on a stale bun. But it wasn’t freeze-dried hiker food, so it had that going for it.
After hanging out for a good 2+ hours at the resupply area, I decided it was time to head out. I still wanted to cover several miles and do some fishing along the way.
The trail followed the road for a while before cutting south and towards Lyell Canyon. A ranger checked my JMT and fishing permits just before the bridge over Lyell Fork.
Lyell Canyon was beautiful. The bright-blue river meandered through a meadow of tall grass and flowers. The winter had been exceptionally wet, so everything was still bright green and blooming even though it was already late July.
I stopped to fish a beautiful pool in the river. I could see fish swimming from the rocks above, but the clear water made it hard to approach them without scaring them. I did manage to catch a handful of small brookies and rainbow trout.
I continued up the canyon, wanting to get within a short distance of Donohue Pass, but still staying under 9,600 ft elevation so I could have a fire.
I ended up finding a great campsite with a fire ring – this time well above the meadow to avoid condensation. After setting up camp, I went down to the river to do some more fishing. Again, I caught several brookies, but they were all small.
After I was done fishing, I took a quick dip in the river to wash off the trail dust and then headed up to my camp to get a fire and dinner started.
I sat by the fire listening to podcasts until the sun went down, then headed to bed so I would be well rested for my climb up Donohue the next morning.