I'm a bit lost on transport for the JMT this year. I'll have a car to drop off at Whitney Portal on 6/29.
I can then, from what I hear, hitchhike to Lone Pine relatively easily. Then there is a CREST bus leaving at 6:15 a.m. getting to the McDonalds in Mammoth at 8:20, but only on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. So I'd need to be IN Lone Pine by 6:15a.m.. I doubt I could drive into Whitney Portal at 4a.m. and get a weird super early morning hitch. It might pay off to plan to hitch during the day, spend the night in Lone Pine, then get the next days bus. I'd need to either wait until 7/1 (Monday) to get the bus, or leave a day ahead of plan to take the 6/29 bus.
Then I'd need to take the YART at 8a.m. getting to Yosemite Valley at 12:05.
The other option is Lee Vinings leaving at the same time as the original CREST, 6:15a.m., getting in at 8:50am, then taking the YART at 10:20 to get to Tuolumne Visitor's Center at 11:10, then ........ be in Yosemite Valley
So my questions are:
How do I get from Tuolumne to Yosemite Valley? I can only seem to find the once daily YART but I feel that can't be the only way. Maybe I should be counting on starting in Tuolumne if it'll be a big pain in the bum.
When in Lee Vinings, where does CREST drop you? Lake View Lodge? Mono Basin Visitor Center? Tioga Mobil Gas Mart?
How much can one expect to pay for a shuttle between Whitney Portal and Yosemite? One price I found was $500, wayyy too high for me.
Can I sleep in Yosemite same day without a permit (and so no backpackers camp)? I'm waiting for the next day to be at the permit office before it opens, sadly.
Any other options or recommendations?