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[pct-l] Transportation - Echo Lake to Tuolumne Meadows

In planning a hike of Sections I & J (Tuolumne Meadows to Echo Lake), I
asked about options to get from Echo Lake to Tuolumne Meadows. Following is
a summary of what I found. Maybe this will be useful to others.




To leave my car at Echo Lake and get to Tuolumne Meadows, the best I've been
able to figure is:

1. Take Greyhound www.greyhound.com from So. Lake Tahoe at 11:00 am, to
Sacramento, and then
to Merced, arriving there 6:05 pm.
2. Get a room for the night.
2. Take YARTS www.yarts.com at 7 am from Merced to Yosemite Valley, arriving
9:35 am.
3. Take YARTS at 5 pm from Yosemite Valley to Tuolumne, arriving 6:50 pm.
This is 20 hours total.

This is rather round about. To take Greyhound south from Tahoe requires:

1. Greyhound from So. Lake Tahoe at 11:45 am, to Reno for an 18 hour
layover, leaving there 7:45 am to arrive at Lee Vining at 11:15 am.
2. Hang around until 8:10 am the next day.
3. Take YARTS at 8:10 am to Tuolumne, arriving 9 am.
This is almost 2 full days total.

All this to drive a little over 200 miles.

You could always leave your car in Sacramento or Reno, take the bus to
Merced or Lee Vining and then use YARTS, and then bus back to the car after
you reach So. Lake Tahoe.
This does significantly cut the time spent with Greyhound.

That might help, except:
1. Nice to have private vehicle waiting at end of hike
- and makes it possible to help other hikers coming
out too.
2. Hard to figure when I would finish hike, so hard to
reserve bus (needed in some remote areas).
3. Therefore, might need to get a room with no town
clothes (not worth a bounce box on a section hike).
4. However, might get the opportunity to add an aged
hiker aroma for the rest of the bus riders.



Call some taxi companies in S. Lake Tahoe and see what fare you can
bargain them down to. It might not cost much more than all those bus tickets
and a night in a motel someplace and you would save a day or two. The guess
that the fare would be around $150 to $200.

I didn't do that, but did call:

Sierra Express  www.mammothsierratransportation.com is a van service that
said they would do it for $250. Between $70 Greyhound, $20 YARTS, and 2
nights in a a motel it might be a bargain. Remember this is over 300 miles
round trip for them. Tom says it's "Cheaper than Club Med."

I didn't asked if the $250 was per person or per trip.



Out of curiousity, I emailed Mammoth Air Charter www.mammothaircharter.com .
They replied, "We can pick you up at S
Lake Tahoe and bring you to Mammoth Lakes Airport for $550.00.  This price
not per person, but for the Aircraft. The Aircraft can accommodate one to
five passengers, depending upon your weight and luggage.
For reservations please call 1 888 934-4279
Mammoth Air Charter"

Interesting, but not affordable for me.



Someone suggested (but I didn't try):
1. Call the PCT office and see if there is a "friend of the trail" for
PCT member in the S. Lake Tahoe area. If so, see if they are willing to help
you with a shuttle--such as driving you in your car to Tuolumne and then
returning to S. Lake Tahoe with your car.
2. See if you can find someone who will do the same but for pay.
Possibilities: call the S. Lake Tahoe Police Department and see if they can
suggest someone--maybe even an off duty officer or a relative of one. See if
there is an outfitter in S. Lake Tahoe and see if they can suggest someone.
Call that motel that used to shuttle hikers to and from the trail and see if
someone there will do it for pay.

I did receive an email from my posting generously offering a ride, but it
wasn't convenient for myself or the driver, and a better alternative (a
family member planning a camping trip) appeared.



I do NOT recommend this, but several did. Opinions were that at the least
you would probably have an easy hitch from Lee Vining to Tuolumne Meadows
especially if you carried some sort of destination sign, and that the
hitching will be easier on the east side of the Sierra down 395 -- more
remote and not heavy traffic.

Now, I distinguish between hitchhiking and asking friendly hikers at
trailhead parking lots. However, neither is necessarily reliable when you
have limited time away.



I almost used a bike to shuttle myself in Section D (which I never did do).
I have trouble riding a bike for a long time because of back trouble
(sciatica). Now, a bicycle from Echo Lake to Tuolumne would require climbing
5 road passes, including Monitor and Tioga. Still, a definite option for
some areas. I've also considered, and have seen one hiker use, a small
motorcycle for the same purpose.


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