- Expedition: Apr 1-6, 2007
- Crenshaw and Sylmar High Schools
- Yosemite National Park: LYV to Cloud's Rest
Students from Crenshaw and Sylmar High Schools in Los Angeles joined WildLink for the fifth expedition of the year. A mild winter and early spring weather enabled us to explore further into Yosemite's backcountry than in previous years at this time, and we took advantage of it!
We started our first day, with full packs, following the Merced River Canyon upstream nearly 2,000 feet. On this grueling hike, we passed both Vernal and Nevada Falls before arriving to our camp in Little Yosemite Valley after nightfall. We also had to say goodbye to one of our expedition members nearly 2/3 of the way, when Nathalie slipped off a wet rock and suffered a knee injury as a result. With the help of Nick and Fernando, Nathalie was quickly evacuated to the medical clinic in Yosemite Valley. Although Nathalie wasn't able to join us for the rest of the expedition, the positivity and strength she displayed that first day stayed with our group the whole week! We hope you are doing great and recovery quickly, Nathalie.
The next day we enjoyed a well-deserved lazy morning before continuing along the Merced River Canyon to a gorgeous rocky slab below Bunnell Cascade. Thankfully, this hike was flat, and with just our daypacks on, was a welcome relief from all the hard work the day before. We journaled, sketched, and hung out getting to know one another better before heading back to our camp. We had an early dinner, then packed up our "bivy" gear (two tents, sleeping bags and pads, and food for the next day) and began our evening hike out of Little Yosemite Valley. Our goal that night was to reach high camp, a beautiful flat spot to spend the night under to stars and enable us to be about two miles and 800 feet closer to tomorrow's mission: Cloud's Rest. The hike went fast, and we were soon in our sleeping bags, giggling, and being serenaded to sleep by Ned's bedtime songs.
The third morning we awoke quickly, full of purpose and excitement to set out for a mountain summit. To accomplish this we had to look deep within ourselves for the determination to hike four miles and nearly 3,000 feet of elevation gain. As we climbed higher in elevation, we encountered our first snow on the trail, which made for both difficult hiking and snowball fun. The 360 degree view from Cloud's Rest was spectacular, and well worth the hard work! In our view was nearly all of Yosemite's vast wilderness, including the snow covered high country peaks to the east and north, as well as Yosemite Valley, the Sierra foothills, and even a faint trace of the Coast Range mountains to the east. We dedicated our ascent to our family and friends that were not able to be there with us, and spent some time just taking in the view and reflecting on our journey. As the clouds above us dropped the trip's first raindrops (and even a little "grapple"), we began our descent to lunch, our stashed gear at high camp, and all the way back down to our base camp in Little Yosemite Valley. Burrito dinner and smores, accompanied with great conversation by the campfire completed our perfect day!
Our final morning we concluded our Wilderness experience with some early morning journaling at the top of Nevada Falls. We then headed down the famous Mist Trail, where we got our first shower in four days thanks to the power of Vernal Falls. What a spectacular week! Thanks to everyone for the strength, fortitude, and courage to embark on this adventure!