- Expedition: May 2-7, 2010
- Generation Green of the Central CA Consortium and EcoAcademy of the Southern CA Consortiums
- Yosemite National Park
Despite being early May, our third expedition this spring experienced both soggy early-spring conditions and winter fun too! Students from Generation Green of the Central California Consortium joined EcoAcademy students from the Southern California Consortium in Los Angeles for this wonderful week in Yosemite.
We started our adventure at the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir where it was low enough in elevation that most of the snow was melting fast, leaving Wapama Falls booming and all the plants and flowers in bloom. Of course, this also meant that there was plenty of poison oak threatening our path as well, but with good observation skills and teamwork we were able to avoid its reach. We hiked for five long miles that first day, skirting the northern rim of the reservoir before reaching our campsite at Rancheria creek early in the evening. We set up our basecamp for the next few nights and enjoyed a warm dinner before settling in to rest with the roar of Rancheria creek lulling us to sleep
The next morning we woke up a bit sore but excited that our upcoming dayhike would not require us to carry our large backpacks loaded with expedition gear. Instead we packed only the essentials for what promised to be a gorgeous hike to Titill Valley. Before heading off though, we had a needed yoga and stretching class followed by a topographic map lesson. With bodies rejuvenated and knowing where to go, we started out on the grassy path that didn’t look like it had seen too many footprints yet this season. We didn’t get too far before reaching the first of many downed trees across the trail, evidence of the heavy snow at unusually low elevations this winter. We got to work moving logs whenever possible, working as a team to clear this popular trail and prevent future hikers from creating social trails around the obstacles. The day was beautiful and our hike was enjoyable and full of excellent naturalist moments (frogs, birds, flowers, mice!). Before hitting the wet and swampy Tiltill Valley, we cruised up a granite dome for some views of the meadows, mountains, and even a waterfall around us. Our hike back to camp went fast and soon we were enjoying a campfire for our last evening under the stars.
Then next day we hiked out, feeling strong, and were rewarded with a few surprises: first a spirit walk with wilderness quotes, then as we were discussing our wilderness views, a visit by a beautiful light-colored black bear, followed by another bear not long afterwards! What a treat on our last hours in wilderness! That night we celebrated our amazing expedition with snowball fun, snowmen, and the sunset at the Crane Flat FireLookout. The final icing on the cake came our last morning with cross country skiing in Summit Meadow. We did it all! Thank you to all our engaged, observant participants, as well as Juana and Ronaldo our chaperones, for a truly wonderful expedition week.