the middle schools around here put together some sort of deal with the Yosemite Institute to have week long camping trips for the 8th graders. it's one of the high points of the year. there are 15 chaperones, half parents and half teachers, for the 150 kids. most kids tell their parents that they don't want them to volunteer. my kid actually asked me to sign up. how could i say no? we loaded up into busses on easter sunday morning and hit the road.
arriving on day one, there was still a little snow on the ground at the valley floor. mostly it was just mud.
the cabins were actually pretty nice, until you tried to pack four kids in to them.
the next morning, our first hike was to the base of el capitan.
the first order of business was to teach the kids how to properly pee and poop in the woods. for the boys, taking a whiz is easy. hey, we're guys! the world is our urinal. for the girls, they have to squat, do their business, and then shake their bottoms to air dry their butts. the rule is that you can't leave anything "unnatural," like toilet paper, behind in the wilderness.
for both boys and girls, it you have to take a poop, you have to dig a six inch hole in the dirt, dump your load, wipe yourself with leaves or a smooth stick, pull up your pants, and you're still not done. you then have to take stick, stir the poop to mix it up with the soil, bury it and poke a stick in the middle, straight up to mark the spot.
yeah, right ........
now this was funny as hell!!! this was one of several "team building" challenges. the kids (and one of the adult chaperones) lined up on the log in random order. then they had to rearrange themselves in birth order by month and day. if anyone fell off the log, they had to start all over again. there was not enough room to stand and pass by each other. the kids figured out pretty quick that they could all sit down and move people around by stepping over those that were seated. funny thing was that there were ants on the right side of the log and charred bark on the left side. the two girls on the right absolutely freaked and REFUSED to sit down. they all succeeded, but not without having to figure out a work around for our two princesses.
we spend the next two days at a higher elevation camp called crane flat. instead of cabins, we got dorms. just moving in made the place look trashed. the other problem was the smell. the kids had wet clothes, some of them had skipped showers, and they were getting pretty ripe.
day three was cross country skiing. this was the first time on skis for many of the kids. a couple of them eventually pulled their skis off and walked.
day four was a hike through touloumne meadow to see some of the great sequoia trees. i didn't know that it was actually abraham lincoln that signed the order to preserve these trees.
day five was a bus ride back to the valley floor, then a hike to muir lake at the base of half dome.
day six was a hike going up a quarter of the way on the yosemite falls trail to "ohmygosh" rock. it was a short day because we had to catch the busses at 3pm. the trail was pretty steep in places with lots of switchbacks.
the view was incredible!
this is last day, waiting to get on the bus to go home. funny, i hardly saw my kid all week!
for those of you that have never been, you should really try to visit yosemite. it is truely spectacular! alan