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[Yosemite]

Ride Questions

Hiking, backpacking, running, biking, climbing, rafting, and other human-powered activities in Yosemite National Park

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Ride Questions

Postby robow8 » Sun Jan 19, 2020 6:00 pm

I have a couple of questions about getting to Glacier Point/ Mono Meadow from the valley. I would rather go to Mono Meadow. How difficult is a hitch from the Valley for 2 people? If I take the GP tour bus up (I'd rather not as it makes for a late start), will they drop us off at Mono Meadow.
Looking at options for an August hike later this year.
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Re: Ride Questions

Postby balzaccom » Sun Jan 19, 2020 8:41 pm

I don't think anyone can predict your success in hitchhiking up to Mono Meadows. Too many variables, including what you look like!

But yes, you can take the Glacier Point bus, and the driver will stop and let you out at Mono Meadows Trailhead. Or you can try hustling a ride in the campgrounds the night before...which might be easier than hitching...
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Re: Ride Questions

Postby markskor » Mon Jan 20, 2020 9:24 am

Hitching is easy, once you get to Wawona Road. The problem is getting there as there are no buses that go there, and all the Valley exit roads are going in the opposite direction. You might ask around and inquire about anyone heading to Bridalveil Falls Th and walk over to Wawona Road from there but doubtful if successful early morning. Better to just bite the bullet and take the 8:00 Curry (8:30 Lodge) bus that goes up to Glacier Point,..(comes with witty patter from to driver.) The driver will drop you off at Mono Meadows TH but it will be closer to 10 - 10:30 when you will arive. FYI, if then heading for Red Peak Pass and loop back down to the Valley, you have plenty of time to still hike up to Illilouette, camp there, and arrive lower Ottoway next day. The biggest downfall is the cost - ~$25 pp fee for this bus ride, and you are only going less than half way. However, this is the best option other than trying the impossible hitch.
Last edited by markskor on Mon Jan 20, 2020 3:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ride Questions

Postby Phil » Mon Jan 20, 2020 2:11 pm

Hey Robow,

So here's the really long answer:

First of all, GP is going to be closed this year, so they might not even run that shuttle. You'll want to double check that one. Aramark is even more mercenary about not running profitable routes than DNC ever dreamed of.

A couple more caveats: I guess I'll also assume that you're shooting for Red Peak. With this, you have to really watch when you go. First of all, too early, and you might not even be getting past Illilouette Creek because of high flows. The gorge channels down around where you make your crossing, and it can be bad, especially later in the day. Secondly, too early, and you will have brutal mosquitoes from the trailhead all the way up to Lower Ottoway, then do it all over again at similar elevations on the other side of the pass, right on down to LYV. Third, the north aspect of Red Peak Pass notoriously holds snowpack for a lot longer than most other passes. That other side of the pass itself is steep, mushy, deep, covered with suncups, and what's under it and the fact that you'll either go down it on your butts or by postholing, makes for some treacherous conditions that can turn or break ankles. So, moral of the story is, time it well and be aware of real current conditions and any trip reports you can get ahold of.

Anyhow, as to hitching rides....we generally find it really hard to get rides with two people and their gear. This is especially true of any time we come out of Mono Meadows. Besides following my usual preference for most trips of driving to the trailhead and worrying about how to get back later, it's one of those pain in the ass spots that has no real easy answer to getting to and from. That said, we'll drive up, park, do the trip, end up back in the Valley, and then one of us will either hitch it or go ahead and hoof it up the Four-Mile and beg a ride from somebody in the GP parking lot (it's easier to beg than to thumb it....tete-a-tete deal). This year, I have no idea if that would even be an option with potentially nobody there to begin with? But, if hitching it ends up being the best option (I assume you'll be with your wife?) send her alone to pick the car back up, sans gear. I seriously doubt that it'll be a safety concern for her, and women are less menacing, so they get rides quicker (damsel in distress mentality deal). If you do end up with a shuttle ride, either up front or at the end, try to book it ahead of time! We've ended up in the past with multi-day standbys because we winged it, so we just blew it off and hiked it or hitched. But, without the typical herds, again, assuming it's even running, that probably won't be a problem this year. On the transportation logistics end of things, the other option is to do it as a true loop and reverse the course, heading up the Merced, over the pass, down Illilouette, then back down the JMT via Happy Isles to the Valley and the car. However, we do prefer the other way from Mono.

As for the timing, even if you were to get to the MM trailhead at 11-ish, unless you're dawdling like crazy or prostrating yourself in supplication every three steps, you're still going to make it to the sites at Illilouette by early-mid afternoon (it's only about 4.5 miles).

Lastly, with a trip like this, it begs for more of a camping than a long days of hiking perspective. We like to break it down by spending night-one at Illilouette or thereabouts, second night at Lower Ottoway, head over the pass and into the Triple Fork area, and wing it on the basis of what we feel like or what looks good (perfect exploration area with plenty of water!). If we're in a hurry, we'll push to Washburn Lake for the third night and then hit the Bunnell Cascade footbridges or Lost Valley as our final night...trying desperately to avoid the backpacker's camps at both Merced Lake and LYV, so that we can actually try to enjoy our "wilderness experience" a little longer.
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Re: Ride Questions

Postby Phil » Mon Jan 20, 2020 2:53 pm

"Late August"...... virtually disregard paragraph #2. You'll go smoothly, a little less in the way of water sources, but it's still a very water-rich area. Still though, I would just drive up to begin with and figure out how to get back at the end.

Anybody else that might be thinking about the same route earlier in the season- see paragraph #2
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Re: Ride Questions

Postby markskor » Mon Jan 20, 2020 3:33 pm

"The north aspect of Red Peak Pass notoriously holds snowpack for a lot longer than most other passes. That other side of the pass itself is steep, mushy, deep, covered with suncups, and what's under it and the fact that you'll either go down it on your butts or by postholing, makes for some treacherous conditions that can turn or break ankles."
True...Coming down the north side of RPP, (2 miles of solid snow cover), solo, early July, half-way down I punched thru an unseen snow bridge. My feet were dangling in the water, no bottom...stuck like a cork in a bottle with my backpack being the only thing holding me up. Took an hour to get out!

"Besides following my usual preference for most trips of driving to the trailhead and worrying about how to get back later, it's one of those pain in the ass spots that has no real easy answer to getting to and from."
Just the opposite preference...most trips would rather hike back to the car. Thus my thinking the bus up, a late hiking start, and a hike back to the car left in Curry, a long week later...but whatever works. You are right though...no easy way to get to, or from, the Mono Meadows TH, especially if GP is closed.

"Send her alone to pick the car back up, sans gear. I seriously doubt that it'll be a safety concern for her."
Working summers Tuolumne Meadows and living in Mammoth, I regularly see and pick up real hitch-hiking backpackers...important to me though is that they have real gear visible. Maybe it is just me, or some "honor among backpackers", but those thumbing with a pack - never had a problem (other than smell.) Those thumbing without a full backpack - always a bit wary.
just my 2¢
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Re: Ride Questions

Postby Phil » Mon Jan 20, 2020 6:44 pm

markskor wrote:I regularly see and pick up real hitch-hiking backpackers...important to me though is that they have real gear visible. Maybe it is just me, or some "honor among backpackers", but those thumbing with a pack - never had a problem (other than smell.) Those thumbing without a full backpack - always a bit wary.
just my 2¢


I'm usually so dirty and trashed by the end of a trip that it's pretty obvious I've been backpacking....either that or rolling in dirt. I just rely on the backpacker vibe and smiling in an endearing, yet forlorn and semi-desperate way. :D
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Re: Ride Questions

Postby WanderingJim » Mon Jan 20, 2020 9:52 pm

Phil wrote:First of all, GP is going to be closed this year, so they might not even run that shuttle. You'll want to double check that one. Aramark is even more mercenary about not running profitable routes than DNC ever dreamed of.


The Glacier Point Road reconstruction is going to be in 2021 (complete closure) and into 2022 (30 minute delays). https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/gproadfaq.htm
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Re: Ride Questions

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:46 pm

Phil wrote:Hey Robow,

So here's the really long answer:

First of all, GP is going to be closed this year, so they might not even run that shuttle. You'll want to double check that one. Aramark is even more mercenary about not running profitable routes than DNC ever dreamed of.


GP is closed for the 2021 - 2022 season, not 2020, per the website.
https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/roadwork.htm

ETA: Jinx!
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Re: Ride Questions

Postby Phil » Thu Jan 23, 2020 1:24 am

It's been quite a while since I checked on that and thought it was this season when they were doing the big closure. Oh well, sorry Robow, but that being the case, it does therefore make a plan and a reservation that much more critical. Thanks for putting clarification on that, guys.
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