• Expedition: Sep 29 - Oct 4, 2013
  • New Village Girls Academy
  • Yosemite National Park: Yosemite Valley & Wawona

When the government shutdown due to a disagreement in Congress over the budget, the New Village Girls Academy showed off their flexibility and good humor. Though the group was not allowed to go in to Yosemite's Wilderness, they were able to stay in Yosemite Valley and in Wawona for the remainder of the week, and the students showed tremendous personal growth and increased awareness of the importance of the natural world. Highlights for the week included visits with NPS Rangers Dan and Shelton, rock scrambling, meditation sessions, the "Tunnel of Love," lessons on the American Indian history in Yosemite, free time by the Merced River, and discussions about leadership and the role of women in society.

Date: 10/1/13
Weather: umm…a lot colder than Los Angeles! Freezing but BEAR-able…hehehe…

Today’s activity was a hike on a trail that’s been closed for about a year. It was super fun. I guess there was a catastrophe of rocks blocking the path but it’s open now! :) This was great! However, today was supposed to be the first day we slept in our tents in the woods. Our original plan was to hike up to the mountains and set up camp, but there’s some sort of government lockdown preventing us from going. :( This was a huge disappointment to the few girls that got the amazing opportunity to come on this trip. It’s not every day our school has these kinds of trips. Bummer, indeed. But! That’s not stopping us from making the best out of the situation. Because of the lockdown, I suppose that means all the workers for the park are “layed off.” But Ruth and Elspie have been awesome guides, informing us about anything we need to know. Since I’ve been here there have been sooooo many thoughts that went through this brain of mine. 1st – Why did this lockdown have to happen the day before we were supposed to go backpacking? 2nd – It’s really cold. 3rd – I don’t want to leave. Even though I’m feeling pretty homesick right now I don’t want to go home! This experience has been amazing not only for me. I can tell that my friends are having a great time, as well. I’ve supported people who I didn’t even talk to before coming here. Hiking, writing, communicating and all the other challenges we’ve faced. We all faced together. These challenges are not only physical, but mental as well. I’m so excited for tomorrow’s activity! Another day this beautiful place. Yes please!

Group Happiness

The group that plays together stays together.

Sitting here outside on the steps of my cabin writing about how glorious the views are with my little headlamp make it kind hard to believe I’m in such a beautiful place. Mostly because I can’t see the GIGANTIC mountain that’s right in front of me. Seeing is believing. And before I came here I’d never seen a mountain that took my breath away. We don’t have places like this in the city (LA!). The closest thing could be the Griffith Observatory. But you’re not looking at natural beauty. You’re looking at lights that illuminate the city I live in. It’s a different kind of beauty. If they turned off all the lights, you would possibly be able to see all the stars. People think it’s amazing when the sky is clear enough to see the stars of Los Angeles. But coming here shows me how many more stars there really are. Just enough to make me never want to leave.

Group Lunch Circle

One of many picnic lunches.

There is so much more I could write. But its getting pretty late and everyone is asleep. I got to get some rest for tomorrow. Before concluding this entry, I’d really like to thank Ruth and Elspie for being our guides and my school for giving me this opportunity. And ALL the girls that are here with me. It’s only the 3rd day. And I have so much to say. Can’t wait to tell everyone how many stars there really are.

Group Bushwhack

An off-trail traverse on the western end of Yosemite Valley.

Group Deer

Oh, deer.

Group Bundled Up

All bundled up in the cool fall weather!

Group Tunnel View

Checking out the sights at Tunnel View.

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