- Expedition: Dec 1-6, 2002
- Merced Boys and Girls Club
- Yosemite National Park
Five members and one employee of the Merced Boys and Girls Club came up to Yosemite for the first week of December for their WildLink expedition.
Because the students came up on theYARTSbus, they arrived a few hours early to check into their cabins. Taking advantage of their timing, the students checked out Vernal Falls, running up and down the trail. Monday was spent in Yosemite Valley, where students completed group challenges, learned about trees and received their gear for the backpacking trip.
Tuesday morning the teamset off in a bus bound for Merced Grove trailhead, where they were going to begin their hike. After hiking a short distance, each person in the group was staggered by five minutes so that everyone could enjoy themselves in nature on a more personal level. The solo hike ended at a group of 5 giant sequoias and the entrance to the Merced Grove of giant sequoias. As each team member reached the sequoias, they added their own line to a poem that was created.
The group battled frozen peanut butter at lunch and afterwards played camouflage, a game similar to hide-and-seek but in the woods. An old ranger's cabin was at the Merced grove, and after completing a group challenge where they had to use each other to grab water bottles, the team earned the privilege to stay in the cabin.
On Wednesday morning the group headed out for Little Nellie Falls, about a 4 mile hike. After hiking about a mile the team stopped to do the GLOBE water sampling at Moss Creek, testing the water for dissolved oxygen, nitrates, pH, temperature and conductivity. Jocelyn shared The American Lung Association statistic with the group that Merced County is the 9th most ozone polluted county in the United States; the team also ran a one hour ozone test that revealed that the ozone level was healthy for the place and time we collected.
The team arrived at Little Nellie Falls campsite just before sunset. After talking about cultural use of the park and wilderness system, the students learned how to set up their tents and then gathered firewood for a small campfire. Around the fire the group ate a tasty dinner of mac and cheese, which was followed by Leave No Trace skits. Students were paired to act out how one is supposed to act and live in the wilderness, showing us by example or by doing the opposite of what is appropriate.
Thursday was another big day for the students - they hiked early in the morning to Foresta and met stream biomonitoring expert Garth Holman of Yosemite Institute. Currently Yosemite National Park is collecting data about stream health by collecting samples of aquatic macroinvertebrates. The data the students collected will be checked over by Garth and university experts and then will be used by the Park Service. The students gathered habitat data in addition to gathering and filtering the macroinvertibrates.
On Friday morning, the students worked with microscopes in a lab, cataloguing the specimens by species type and number. Garth wrapped up the day saying that a total of 11 species were found, indicating this was a healthy stream.
Giant trees watch over me
The fresh air follows me
The forest is so enormous.
The forest is big
I love it so much I wish I could stay,
But maybe I'll come another day.
Thanks mother nature for all you have given us,
The protection, the air we breath.
If the sequoia could talk,
I wonder what stories it would tell.