• Expedition: Oct 6-11, 2019
  • Turlock Expedition 10/2019
  • Yosemite National Park: Little Yosemite Valley

Students from Turlock headed to Yosemite for another year of backpacking in Yosemite. Although the trip was cut short by smokey air, the group did not let that keep them from having a meaningful experience.

Monday morning, students met their educators and began a day full of organizing gear and packing backpacks. After learning lots of skills for their trip and growing closer as a team, the group felt ready to head out on trail on Tuesday. The next morning it was time to head out on the John Muir Trail towards their campsite for the week in Little Yosemite Valley. The trail was uphill almost the entire way, and presented an opportunity for students to push themselves and to begin facing the challenges that their week would hold. Trekking past incredible waterfalls, granite domes, and vibrant colored fall leaves brought awe and inspiration along the way. Students supported and motivated each other to overcome pain and self-doubt caused by the steep hike and heavy backpacks. Effectively working as a team helped the group reach their campsite in late afternoon. By that time, the smoke from the Briceburg Fire burning down canyon had moved in and diffused the sunlight to a soft orange color that looked both eerie and magical. The group set up camp, cooked dinner, and slept in a blanket of smoke. In the morning, the smoke had not sunk out of the canyon as it had done in days prior. Because of the persistent poor air quality, the group was told to evacuate for the health and well being of the students. In a group discussion, everyone decided that this could be an opportunity to practice their ability to focus on the silver lining rather than the negative aspects of the situation. They realized that difficult situations are the best way to learn about themselves, each other, and the world. The feeling of accomplishment from their strenuous hike, sleeping in a tent under the stars for the first time, and finding new personal limits are feelings that could not be taken away by the disappointing reality of having to end the trip early. So, the hike down was focused on savoring and enjoying every moment. With their mindful and attentive mentality, the group perhaps learned and experienced more than they would have otherwise. They left Yosemite with lots of new skills knowledge, memories, and a desire to continue exploring.


The group learned that the only way to accomplish their task was together


The smoke starting to roll into the valley


Fun times near the campsite and by the river


on the way back down

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