- Ambassador: Oct 5-7, 2012
- Emigrant Wilderness Stewardship Trip
- Stanislaus National Forest - Emigrant Wilderness: Bear Lake
Turlock High School's WildLink Club brought nine students on a three-day camping and backpacking stewardship trip in the Emigrant Wilderness.
The students left directly from school on Friday afternoon for Crabtree Campground in the Stanislaus National Forest. After a few quick introductions, students quickly rolled in to gear distribution and a mini-competition to see who could best demonstrate how to pack gear in to a backpack. The competition proved to be fierce, as this group did a great job of remembering their "ABC's" of backpacking (accessibility, balance, compression).
The next morning, the group met up with Wilderness Manager Adam, received their work tools, and headed out in to the Emigrant Wilderness. They walked 3.7 miles through beautiful terrain to the far side of Bear Lake, where the group stopped for a lunch of sun butter and jelly tortilla sandwiches. After lunch, the group went on an expedition to fill water bottles at the lake. However, the dry spring and summer meant that the lake levels were quite low, leaving the banks muddy and mushy underfoot. More than one student lost a shoe while walking through the muck and one student slid up to his chest in water while trying to fill up from the bank! Much laughter ensued!
After filling water bottles and getting dried out, Adam taught the group about the impact of campfires on the wilderness, what sort of rings were illegal or harmful, and how to restore campfire rings to their natural state. The group got to work quickly and efficiently, removing 12 fire rings and minimizing one large one in to a smaller one in a matter of hours. They also got to observe the damage left behind by an abandoned campfire that was not put out properly.
The rest of the evening consisted of rinsing off and relaxing by a gurgling stream, setting up camp, playing "Ninja," dining on tortellini, expressing gratitude for the day's events, and cuddling to keep warm in the cold October night.
The next morning, the group packed up and said goodbye to Bear Lake. Along the trail back to Crabtree, Adam engaged students in a discussion about careers in the U.S. Forest Service and the importance of protecting wilderness. After cleaning gear and wrapping the weekend up, students headed back to Turlock with fond memories and a sense of accomplishment at giving back to the wilderness.