• Family Weekend: Oct 24-26, 2014
  • 2014 Family Weekend
  • Yosemite National Park: Crane Flat and Yosemite Valley

The 2014 Family Weekend was a great success!

10 WildLink alumni from all over California brought their loved ones up to Yosemite National Park for a fun-filled weekend of hiking, shared meals, and merriment. For the first time in WildLink's history, we had an alumnus from our very first year, 2000, return to the park with his two sons and one of their friends!

The first evening, participants got to know each other a little and enjoyed the new Ken Burns documentary, "A Gathering of Spirit."

On the second day, the group headed to Yosemite Valley. Once there, they split up into three hiking groups. One went up the challenging Yosemite Falls Trail, where they took in impressive vistas 1000 feet off the Yosemite Valley floor. Another group crawled through some rock caves and took time to enjoy the Merced River...one participant even immersed herself in the frigid waters! The third group participated in a service project, cutting down conifers to help fire management crews and restore the area to its prehistoric ecological practices. They also painted watercolor portraits to take home and remember their time in Yosemite.

That evening, as heavy rain began to fall all around, the families and friends joined each other in the dining hall for a story about a jumping mouse overcoming great challenges to chase his dreams, followed by games and hot chocolate by the wood burning stoves.

Sunday morning, we said goodbye to one another, each group to discover their own adventures in the park and to share their wonderful experiences with friends and family at home.

Moose River

Moose meets the Merced.

"It's a new experience for someone that is not familiar with this. I had an amazing time. I've never done anything like this before." -Angie

Arturo and Company

Abraham, Roy, Monica, Meli, and Art hang out by the Merced River.

"I've only been to Yosemite and its wilderness through the WildLink program and it has been one of the best experience. I appreciate everything the programs have done to give students (especially inner-city youth) the opportunity to connect to the natural world." -Emily

Group Conifers

The restoration group shows off one of several burn piles they created for Yosemite's fire crew to burn in the coming wet season.

"I will continue to educate friends and family on the outdoors. I strongly believe you have already helped me by giving me the opportunity to bring family and friends into the great outdoors!" -Arturo

Emily Rocks

Emily crawls out of a rock cave.

"My experience with WildLink was thrilling and exciting. I got to really interact with wildlife and I had an amazing experience." -Melissa

Jack and Emily

Jack and Emily, fearless WildLink educators.

"It reminds me that I'm just one part of this big world. Nature is beautiful and powerful. Every tree is a piece of history and has stories to tell. We just have to take the time and listen." -Rosemary

Jerome Half Dome

Jerome, meet Half Dome.

"Programs in WildLink reconnect people with nature and by doing so, they learn to be more responsible to take care of the environment...the program encourages and gives youth the motivation they don't get from a monotonous city." -Jose

Meli Artwork

Meli shows off her art with Yosemite Falls (dry) in the background.

"It was a great experience exposing youth and in this case adults to all that our protected lands have to offer. " -Josh

Peter Looks

Peter takes in the expansive granite walls of Yosemite Valley.

"I'm leaving with joy and happiness." -Benjamin

Conifer Removal

Josh and Parker cut down small conifers to help Yosemite's fire restoration.

Diego Peter Rebecca Half Dome

Diego, Peter, and Rebecca enjoy stellar views from Columbia Point.

Emily and Company

Alazar, Daniel, Emily, and Merwin in Leidig Meadow.

Falls Trail Lean

The Yosemite Falls Trail group.


WildLink Educator Derek makes friends with a Stellar's jay.

Javier and Family

Alex, Javier, Angie, and Agustin enjoy the nice fall weather together.

Jose Journal

Jose has been to Family Weekend three times, as well as the Yosemite-WildLink Bridge program, but he and his family remarked that doing watercolors was something new and exciting this time around.

Josh and Boys

Parker, Josh and Caleb do their part in helping restore Yosemite's meadows back to their prehistoric state.


Participants on the Yosemite Falls Trail learned a bit about the natural history of the area, including this manzanita bush.

Little Chopper

Small and mighty!

OMG Rock Down

Enjoying the view of Lower Yosemite Falls from "OMG Rock."


Watercolors: fun for all ages.

Vests and Trees

Monica and Roy do their part.

River Time

The Merced River is a source of inspiration for many visitors.

Yose Falls Crew

The triumphant Yosemite Falls Trail group upon their descent.

Watercolor Fun

Parker paints the park.

Willie and Company

Willie and his brothers at Columbia Point.

Rosemary Benjamin

Rosemary and Benjamin soak up a little Yosemite happiness.

Peter Rocks

Peter enjoys a rest along the challenging Yosemite Falls Trail.

Yosemite Walls

The dry Yosemite Falls. Don't worry; water will be back soon!

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