Day 1 - August 11th
Our JMT permit was issued for Sunday, August 12th but we took our chance to drive to Yosemite one day early to see if it was even worth to attempt the hike due to Ferguson fire. The plan was to meet my friend Cyndi at Whitney Portal around 8 am. She parked her car at the overflow parking and we carpooled to Tuolume Meadows. Right at the start, luck was on our side, we got the last parking spot that considered to be safe for two weeks. We arrived at Tuolumne Meadows (TM) Wilderness Office around 1pm. The air quality at TM was OK. The smoke was lingered in the air but it was much better than we thought. Since our permit was no longer valid, we got nothing to lose but to show up and hoped for the better outcome!
Wilderness office: Three Park Rangers was at the counter as we walked in. We explained our situation and asked if we could exchange our permit since Yosemite Valley was closed. The Park Ranger was very helpful and offered to issue the new permit for us. Somehow we got the feeling that they were testing us to see if we knew where we were going and what we wanted! She took out the map and showed us different trailheads that we could start. Once we started asking if we can start "here" at Tuoulumne Meadows, somehow that lead to a friendly conservation and the joke about the Snickers bar . The requirement was that we needed to hike 5 miles away from TM and into the wilderness and we could start now! My heart filled with joy after more than half a year of planning finally it was happening and especially one day earlier. We took our backpacks and left my car at the Wilderness parking lot office for two weeks and headed to trailhead... into the JMT wilderness!
Spot first deer on the trail and many more to come!
It was hard to describe that you only paid for $15 to get permit and you could get such a beautiful campground like this! I never camped this close to the river in my life so this was an experience that I would never forget. This was a great start on the first day!
Camground at mile 32 of JMT.