• Expedition: Apr 28 - May 31, 2019
  • Porterville Expedition 04/2019
  • Yosemite National Park: Little Yosemite Valley

This April, Porterville High school got the opportunity to attend WildLink for the first time! Despite diving into the unknown, everyone was able to learn, grow, and push themselves to achieve more than they expected.

The first few days in Yosemite were exciting yet overwhelming as students adapted to a new environment. Waking up in Yosemite on Monday, the group got to meet their educators, Sarah and Jose, and get started with gathering gear and packing their bags. The whole day was dedicated to learning the basics of backpacking preparation and safety so that they would be ready to hit the trail early on Tuesday. On Tuesday morning, the group packed the final items into their packs and headed out on the John Muir Trail. We passed Vernal and Nevada falls on our way up, both waterfalls were raging from the snowmelt that was feeding the Merced River. All senses were activated on the hike. Feeling our bodies carrying more weight than they’ve ever carried while hiking up a steep slope, seeing the patterns the clouds made on Half Dome as they danced around the sky, smelling the fresh spring growth and misty air, and hearing the sound of migratory birds just arriving in the park. When the group finally made it to camp, we were exhausted. After dinner and a group meeting, we enjoyed a well deserved sleep. Wednesday morning was dedicated to cleaning up fire rings around Little Yosemite Valley, and the stewardship project was led by Andres, a wilderness ranger in Yosemite. We spent all morning cleaning up fire rings, and speaking in Spanish while we worked. Andres spent time talking with each student, and made sure they understood how helpful and important their work is for the park. After Andres left, we decided to scramble part way up Liberty Cap, where we were rewarded with a stellar view of Mt Clark and Mt. Starr King framed by the valleys of the rolling hills in the distance. In the evening, the group was challenged with a game of “Isla de Tiburon” where they were pushed to work effectively as a team. Thursday was the day of our challenge hike, we were unsure what to expect with so much visible snow surrounding our trail towards Half Dome, but we headed out anway, and the only expectation was to try our best. By putting one foot in front of the other, we made it to an incredible vista below Half Dome. From our lunch spot, we could see Half Dome, Clouds Rest, Tenaya Peak, Mt. Hoffman, the Clark Range, Mt. Lyell, and Cathedral Peak, among more notable places in the park! We headed down with some beautiful photos and feelings of accomplishment, but we made sure to slide in some snowfields on the way down and have river time upon returning to camp. An early wake up on Friday was followed by a hike back down the John Muir Trail and out of the Wilderness. After changing clothes, unpacking, and reflecting, we said goodbye to Porterville. We’re excited that their first WildLink experience went well, and we’re looking forward to seeing them back in the park next year!


The group enjoys a beautiful view of Nevada Falls and Liberty Cap


Students work on cleaning up fire rings in Little Yosemite Valley campground, which will host thousands of visitors this season


Frankie finds a lizard


Deciding to try an afternoon off-trail scramble - it was worth the effort


Quality time by the campfire

Hiking home

Hiking home

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