- Expedition: Sep 24-29, 2007
- Turlock HS
- Yosemite National Park. Cloud's Rest.
Our first expedition of the 2007-2008 year got off to a traditionally fantastic start with eleven students (including Trixie McLovin') from nearby Turlock High School.
They looked over the cliff edge at Taft Point on Sunday, shared stories with Park Rangers Tori Seher and Jose Lopez on Monday, and prepped all their necessary equipment before we headed for Yosemite’s high country Tuesday morning. The heavy backpacks and steep uphill didn’t deter our Bulldogs, and we arrived in camp above the first of the Sunrise Lakes long before our estimated travel plan had determined! The day's adventure wasn't quite over, though, as we discovered that we had mistakenly forgotten our camping stoves and pots back in Yosemite Valley. While we dined on cold tortillas with salami and cheese, our Yosemite heroes Jeff and Cathy drove all the way up to the Sunrise trailhead to deliver to us not just our forgotten equipment, but something much more-the hope of warm meals and hot drinks! We are eternally grateful to our friends, thank you!
The next morning we awoke to a gorgeous sunrise, enjoyed hot oatmeal and hot chocolate (!!), and then prepared ourselves for the day's challenge. We packed our daypacks with the essentials, examined our route, then set off under the guidance of WildLink veterans Michael and Kellie for our attempt on the summit of Cloud's Rest. Nearly 1,000 feet above us, this beautiful mountain lured us with the promise of a 360 degree view of nearly all of Yosemite's wilderness, an up-close view of Half Dome, and even views across the Central Valley. With patience and teamwork, the whole group was successful in making it across the rocky summit ridge to the summit. We took group photos, enjoyed a windy lunch, and even got some personal time for journaling and reflection, all while standing on what felt like the top of the world! That night back at camp, we celebrated our mountain climb with a feast of cheesy macaroni and cheese with added salsa flare before crawling in our sleeping bags under a spectacular starry sky.
On our third day in the wilderness we had to pack up camp and leave the camp that had become our temporary home away from home. We had a long day ahead, nearly eight miles of hiking, but since it was almost entirely downhill (3,000 feet of total downhill before the day's end!) we were all in good spirits. Feeling strong, with lighter packs from all our devoured meals, we crushed our estimated travel plan and arrived in camp at Little Yosemite Valley by 3pm. After some well deserved rest, we headed out for a stroll along the Merced River canyon, where we spoke about the meaning and importance of protected wilderness. We even had enough time to wash off some of the trail dirt and dust in the river before enjoying our last backcountry meal together. That night the entire group slept out under the stars!
On our final morning we woke early, packed up quietly and efficiently before breakfast and then headed out for our final hike down into Yosemite Valley. In our first half hour we saw one hundred day-hikers, all attempting to reach the summit of Half Dome, and we all had a sad sense that we were exiting wilderness that morning. We soaked in the last of the morning with a long stay at the top of Nevada Falls before making a fast and steep decent via the Mist Trail along Nevada and Vernal Falls. Thanks to all the members of Expedition I for a memorable start to the WildLink year. Always remember, "yesterday is history, tomorrow a mystery. Today is a gift, that is why we call it the present."