• Expedition: Jun 9-14, 2019
  • New Leaf Expedition 06/2019
  • Yosemite National Park: Ostrander Lake

New Leaf students dove back into the world of WildLink with a trip to Ostrander Lake this summer.

When students and chaperones arrived in Yosemite after a beautiful drive from the Bay Area, they got settled in their cabins at Crane Flat in anticipation for their days to come. Monday morning began with a delicious breakfast followed by the chance to meet educators Lizzie and Nanci for the first time. After introductions, the group began packing and preparing for their week on trail - they learned which clothing and gear they would need and how to pack those things in their HUGE backpacks. With full packs and lots of excitement, the students closed their night with a discussion about the meaning of “wilderness” and headed to bed. Tuesday the group hopped on a bus toward their trailhead and said goodbye to toilets and showers for the week, among other modern luxuries. The day was spent hiking to the base camp that the group would call home for the next three nights. After a good campsite was located, the group setup camp and had some time to journal. The students were pushed physically, mentally, and emotionally by stepping out of their comfort zone and into the wilderness. The first night sleeping outside on a backpacking trip always feels like dipping your toes into a cold river before getting in - it feels uncomfortable but with a lingering feeling that getting all the way in will be good for you in the end. Wednesday was a day to get settled in this new temporary home. The morning was spent with a Wilderness Ranger helping to clean up messy campfire rings and dismantle human-made rock structures. After a morning of stewardship, the afternoon was spent with time by the river playing and reflecting. Coming from the bay area, being surrounded by water is a familiar place for these students. Although the rivers filled with fresh snow melt are different than their brackish bay, they still felt relaxed and at home in the wilderness after spending time sitting, painting, and “showering” at the river that afternoon. The next morning was their day hike to Ostrander Lake. After a few hours of hiking, the group arrived at the stunning lake surrounded by snow capped ridges. The group was so excited that they stuck their heads in the water and proceeded to execute perfect hair flips akin to wilderness mermaids. Finally, Friday came and the group packed up their base camp and headed back out of the wilderness then to the San Francisco Bay. After this week of being submerged in the waters of the wilderness (literally and metaphorically) the group was filled with gratitude and a desire to get back into nature as soon as possible!

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