Report from the Park: California (Part One)

There was no shortage of highlights on our 4-day, 3-night trip to Yosemite  National Park this year. Below you’ll find part one of our reflections followed by a photo slideshow of images of the participants and staff. Later this week, we’ll post part two.

On our first day in Yosemite, we enjoyed a picnic lunch beside the Merced River and explored the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia trees.  Park Ranger Chris Raines guided our walk through the grove where we saw the Fallen Monarch, Grizzly Giant, and California Tunnel Trees.  Later that evening we headed down to the Yosemite Valley, and in the span of just a few short hours we set up our tents, cooked (and ate!) a tasty taco dinner, and got two lessons in bear safety at our campground.  Yes, that’s right TWO lessons – one from our camp hosts and another from a crew of Yosemite Education Branch staff and interns.   And, we’re happy to report that our diligent use of the bear lockers kept our campground safe from bear visits all week long (we did get some unwanted visits from rodents, but that’s another story….).

We kicked off Day 2 bright and early with a photography walk in Yosemite Valley.  Christine Loberg, a professional photographer at the Ansel Adams Gallery showed our group how to capture excellent photos of Half Dome, El Capitan, and Yosemite Falls. During the afternoon, we ascended the steep Mist Trail (a very challenging 3 mile hike), and our reward was a breathtaking view from the top of Vernal Falls.   Later in the evening we photographed the stunning alpine glow on Half Dome during sunset, and circled up for games, reflection, stargazing, and story telling under the night sky.

We’d like to send out a special thank you to Shauna Potocky, Branch Chief of Education at Yosemite. She manages many incredible educational programs at Yosemite and still made time to set our trip up for success. Shauna, you rock!

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