- Expedition: Oct 11-16, 2009
- Pajaro Valley HS
- Sequoia National Park
Our second WildLink expedition of this semester took place in Sequoia National Park with seven students and a courageous teacher from Pajaro Valley High School in Watsonville. Despite the possibility of a very strong and wet storm coming our way that week, we were all excited to be in such a beautiful place and open to whatever adventure lay before us. In the end, we enjoyed two great days together in Sequoia based out of Lodgepole campground and got to experience two incredible wonders, the Giant Forest and the Crystal Caves.
On our first day, we hiked to the Giant Forest to see the Giant Sequoia trees, the world’s largest living things. Not only did we get to witness the magnificent trees before our own eyes, we were also lucky enough to be in the forest during a controlled burn of the area, with flames licking at the side of the road as we arrived. Then, as we hiked to the trees, we got to see a black bear up close searching for food in the forest. What a hike! That afternoon we packed all of our equipment for our backcountry trip before enjoying sunset by the river. We had dinner that night by the fire and even had s’mores for dessert, yum! We all went to bed that night excited (and maybe a little nervous) for our upcoming backcountry adventure.
Unfortunately, when we woke up the next morning, the weather was not cooperating with our plans-we woke up to a fresh dusting of snow and the news that we would not be allowed to go out into the backcountry due to the flash flood danger in the canyons and the potential for deep snow in the high elevations. While our clothes were dampened, our spirits were not. We decided to make the most of our day anyway and went for a guided tour of the Crystal Caves, a breathtaking marble cave that is one of 240 known caves in the park. There were some beautiful formations inside the cave, we learned a lot from our guide Mike, and it was nice to get a break from the wetness outside as well. By the time we came out of the caves, the waterfalls along the hike had gotten much bigger and the storm showed no signs of stopping soon. For the rest of the afternoon, we enjoyed lunch together, talked about wilderness and park management, and sadly had to leave our Sequoia adventure earlier than we had expected after just two and a half days. By the end of the storm, twelve inches of rain had fallen in the park, so we know we made a good decision. The days we did get in Sequoia were excellent, we had a great time together as a group, and we look forward to getting the chance to complete our adventure out into the Sequoia backcountry next June. Let’s hope for good weather!