Adventure Van Travels – Yosemite’s Toulumne Meadows

I woke up early and walked in the peace and quiet to Tuolumne Meadows where the sun was just rising, deer were grazing and it was just beautiful.  We made coffee and ate breakfast and started getting ready for our hike to Clouds Rest. Since traffic and parking is such a problem in Yosemite, we decided we would take the shuttle to Sunrise on the western shore of Tenaya Lake. I was surprised to find out when boarding that the Tuolumne Meadows shuttle is no longer free, even though it is advertised as free in the park newspaper. At $4 each both ways, it cost us $32 to get to and from the trail head. And the shuttle schedule is pretty arbitrary due to all the traffic. I am completely baffled by the decision to charge for a shuttle when public transport  and better parking is so clearly needed. A mandatory shuttle system like the one at Zion National Park would be much more convenient!adventure vanOnce we finally arrived at the trail head, I was somewhat frazzled by all of the shuttle confusion, but the weather was beautiful and the scenery gorgeous so we treated water from the lake to fill our water bottles and set off. adventure vanadventure vanI mentioned this earlier, but I didn’t end up summiting Clouds Rest. Maybe it was the early wake up, maybe it was the shuttle confusion, but we all were getting on each other’s nerves and I ended up turning around and heading back down when the girls wouldn’t stop badgering each other. I’m still bummed, but will hike it someday. One benefit was that I could watch Garrett’s last baseball game of the season on Game Changer which was exciting.adventure vanadventure vanAnd it did have the benefit of causing us all to hash it out, and we promised to be more patient with each other. Naomi and Maya did reach the top and said it was beautiful! They used binoculars and could see hikers climbing the cables at Half Dome. Once they returned, we waited a while for our return shuttle, payed our $16 for our 7 mile ride and headed back to our van. Since we were all exhausted, we decided to head to Merced, get a hotel so we could clean up ourselves and Bessie before picking up Dave and Garrett  the next day on the Amtrak train from Oakland. This was a GREAT decision because we were pretty dirty and our laundry was downright gross. And our gear was in desperate need of reorganization. We spent the day cleaning up, washing the van, buying groceries and relaxing and are now ready for more adventuring!adventure vanSo now we are clean, rested and ready to get the boys and head back to Yosemite.

Happy Travels!

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I love to plan family travel adventures with our four kids. Encouraging time in nature, National Parks travel, backpacking and hiking are my passions and I love to write about them.

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