• Expedition: May 10-15, 2015
  • New Leaf: A Sustainable Living Collaborative and Turlock High School
  • Yosemite National Park: Little Yosemite Valley

This week New Leaf: A Sustainable Living Collaborative and Turlock High School sent ten excited students for a week of exploration and wilderness discovery in the backcountry of Yosemite. The group hiked past amazing views of Vernal and Nevada Falls before arriving at the base camp in Little Yosemite Valley. On Wednesday, the group met with Wilderness Ranger P.J. to help restore the ecosystem by removing illegal campfire rings. They then headed out for a hike along the banks of the Merced River through a recently burned section, eventually stumbling on the ruins of a historic structure and historic relics. From laughs around a campfire to heartfelt discussions about our relationship with wild places, this WildLink trip was one for the ages!

Today is our third day here at Yosemite! Our first day consisted of a lot of driving, instructions, a little bit of exploring. Anyway, yesterday I asked about any caves we would hike into or by, but Katie said there was probably a good chance it wouldn't happen. But to my surprise, Katie gave us the option to and we voted! We got to go into a cave!

It was pitch black and we had to guide the person behind us every move we did. You start to visualize your surroundings from sounds and feels. You'd be surprised, it's nothing what you imagine! But it was really cool because Katie told us about John Muir himself! We all related and started to appreciate things we take for granted. Simple as seeing the night sky!
Anyways someone I'm sure will journal about the hike we went on today! It's definitely a challenge and so worth it!

map check

Checking out the map before the expedition.

Tonight was amazing! I was able to sleep outside and watch the stars. The idea of seeing up and seeing other planets and stars was a beautiful experience. Encouraging the group is not needed, they all are an amazing group of people and are very outgoing. Rebecca and John are great guides, they are humorous and patient. I am extremely thankful for the people that are on this journey with me and hope we keep contact after this.

Make sure you look up while hiking you will miss the amazing views!

5/13/15: Nighttime
This morning we woke up bright and early to some yummy breakfast. We all got a warm and nice sleep and ate some oatmeal, drank a hot drink (either apple cider/hot chocolate/tea) and a granola bar. (Thanks to our cooks!)

Later on we went with our park ranger "PJ" to clean up some fire rings and make our campsite a better place. It felt really good to help out around here and learn about "wilderness."

Then we went on a hike to see the remains of a wildfire that happened several years ago and we found many small and interesting treasures. I also got to see a pair of deer with my best friend on our way to go "chase a bear."

For dinner we had my favorite meal so far, delicious burritos and it made a lot of us very gassy (ha ha). Still didn't ruin our night and it actually made us a lot closer and more comfortable.

The last part of the night we made a campfire!! Yayy!! :D and we made some s'mores. One of the girls on the trip experienced her first bonfire and it was all very fun. Now it's time to go to sleep in our warm sleeping bags and get some rest for our hike back down tomorrow in the snow to Curry Village. Goodnight!
-Sara, Esmeralda, and Amanda

PJ Talk

Chatting with Ranger PJ about wilderness.

I think this trip was an amazing experience. I had never done anything like this before. We had a lot of fun as a team because we had so many funny jokes such as Damian having "more cheese than beans" on his burrito. The whole team was great and supportive. I've been out for many days and cannot wait to go home. Also, a lot of things on this trip were my first time, such as a campfire, backpacking, putting up a tent, sleeping in a tent, sleeping in a sleeping bag, seeing coyotes, staying away from home for a few days. Also, I wanted to see a bear and did not get to see one though, maybe next time =) I liked that everyone was caring, supportive, helpful, and nice.
Gotta go now, see ya later Yosemite.

Nevada rain

A little group hug at the top and in the rain.

Yesterday was our hike back down to Curry Village, we had to hike down early due to a snow storm. We watched as the clouds consumed us. The view was so amazing we had to stop and watch the views every once in awhile. Never will I have the beautiful view that I saw on the way down through Vernal Falls. It was a mix of snow and rain storm on our way down. It was a beautiful experience.

Turlock rain jackets

Staying dry while taking in the amazing view!

The entire journey was fun, but it was a challenge we all needed. I personally had fun and certainly pushed my limits to the extreme and was surprised on what I accomplished.

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