• Family Weekend: Nov 4-6, 2011
  • Family Weekend 2011
  • Yosemite National Park

37 brave people from nine families ventured from all across California for Family Weekend despite a heavy snowstorm and frigid weather. They were rewarded with stunning views of Yosemite National Park in winter conditions and a memorable get-away.

Family Weekend participants began to trickle in to our Crane Flat campus in Yosemite National Park on Friday afternoon following an overnight storm that produced nearly half a foot of snow. Despite the heavy, moist snow that covered the roads, folks braved the cold and intimidating conditions and made it in time to move into their cabins for the weekend, greeted by wood stoves pumping out heat. We were joined by alumni, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, siblings, exchange students, teachers, and a handful of youngsters including a one-year old. After a delicious burrito dinner, we enjoyed "The Spirit of Yosemite", a film documenting the origins, geology, and history of the National Park.

On Saturday morning, we scrambled to get ourselves ready to spend the day in Yosemite Valley. One group started the day with a stewardship project involving the removal of conifers from a historic meadow that had been controlled naturally by wildfire. Due to the proximity of visitors and buildings and the fire suppression necessitated by modern use of the valley, the volunteers helped to maintain the meadow which among other functions, serves to preserve water quality in the watershed. The stewards also enjoyed a hike on the valley floor to lower Yosemite Falls and a surprise visit to the spider caves! They rounded out their day with some art projects before returning to the campus.

Two other groups tackled the steep Yosemite Falls trail. Highlights included a bobcat sighting, the views at "lunch rock" and "oh my gosh rock", and spending time with family. Once safely back on the ground, a snowball fight ensued while waiting for the bus back to Crane Flat.

After another warm, wonderful dinner, the final evening program began with s'mores around a bonfire. What followed was an incredible story-telling session beginning with a traditional Mi-Wok story of the creation of El Capitan. Participants and WildLink staff then shared their own stories of their experiences in Yosemite and what it has meant to them, adding to the history of a place that is their own.

Columbia Point

One group opted for a challenge hike on Saturday up the Yosemite Falls Trail.

bobcat imitation

Another group does their best imitation of a bobcat they spotted while hiking up to Oh My Gosh Rock.

Cristian stewardship

Some families participated in a stewardship project maintaining a historical meadow while mitigating forest fire fuel. They learned about the implications of our impact on Yosemite Valley and performed valuable service.

stewardship group

The stewardship group.

emma stewardship

No one is too young to help.

snow person

Families celebrated the winter weather by creating new forms of snow life.

whole group yose falls

It was inspiring to connect to people as they rekindled their connection with Yosemite and their planet while bringing their families into the fold.

WildLink is a proud partner of the National Park Service, National Forest Service, and Nature Bridge.