Great report, Lori! The family and I did the shortened 4 camp loop of the High Sierra Camps last September (TM, Glen Aulin, May Lake, Sunrise). They were all that were open at that time of year. No hammocking for me since we were staying in the HSC cabin tents but one fellow was impressed when my 12 year old son walked up to him as he was setting up and said, "That's a cool Hennessy you've got. What are you using for under insulation?"
Your trip looks wonderful. We had considered the Lyell Valley (didn't Ansel Adams spend a lot of time there, going down toward Merced Lake?) but the wife wanted some comfort and a light pack. We saw no bears - but saw signs. Thanks for posting such great pix - the size was perfect!