Many of you know that I recently went on a backpacking trip in Yosemite National Park with a good friend of mine. This had been on her bucket list for years and I was the lucky girl that was able to join her. A trip of a lifetime! We met up with 5 other women and 2 female guides in Yosemite Valley to prepare for the week of backpacking ahead of us. We laughed at the fear in our eyes of the unknown that was laying in front of us. As we sat talking, we all noticed the smoke haze that settled into the sky above. It was caused by the numerous forest fires that are currently burning in the park. Some of these fires are purposefully set by the fire department, while others are accidentally set by hikers or lightning. In fact, the park has placed a ban on campfires because of the high risk of fires. We sat as a group discussing our hopes, fears and plans for the week ahead. The park rangers changed our itinerary first because of a current fire at our starting trailhead. Secondly we had to adjust a second campsite because the stream that feeds the area is dry….completely dried up! (see picture – stream bed)The scenery and views throughout the trip were amazing and I can find no words that truly capture the moments. The week was filled with a lot of laughter, some frustrations, strong fears, breathtaking scenery, some body aches and pains…but most importantly the trip was filled with some KICK ASS AMAZING WOMEN! Some of the women were in their 30’s while others in their 60’s. We hiked 33 miles as a group, we supported each other and we gave each other space. These women inspired me then and continue to inspire me today. I will carry the pictures in my mind and the stories in my heart for ever!Now that I am home and digesting all of the memories, lessons and events of the trip, a few very important things stay in the forefront of my mind. I wanted to pass on some thoughts…
– California and other areas in the pacific northwest and pacific coast are in a dangerous & severe drought! It is truly hard to imagine when you only hear about it on the news, but rivers, streams and lakes are drying up! The river beds and lakes in Yosemite National Park feed northern California! We were witness to several streams that were bone dry and Cathedral Lakes was more or less down to one lake.
– The amazing waterfalls that everyone thinks of in Yosemite National Park are just small streams over rocks. They should be rushing waters over the rocks edge. You can see the water marks to either side of the waterfall stream where the water used to run and it is gone.
– The lush green meadows filled with flowers and wildlife are becoming a matted floor of brittle weeds and dust. I know that fire is an important park of the ecology and it the restores the forest but the current state of the forest is making it easy for these fires to get out of control.
– We ALL need to do our part to reduce, reuse, recycle! This means our water, our natural resources, our packaged goods…it includes everything. One of the points of backpacking is that you have to carry everything! You have to carry your pack of clothes, sleeping bag and tent, your food, your water, your filter, your personal items and your TRASH! Therefore, you are constantly making smart decisions to reduce, reuse and recycle everything.
We can do our part and we can make a difference, even if it is only in our little community. Every little bit helps!
- Recycle your plastics, glass and paper goods
- Don’t let the water run when you are not using it
- Buy larger bulk items and then use reusable containers to pack snacks and lunches
- Reuse in a different way, sell or donate items that you no longer need
- Unplug items in your house or office so that they don’t constantly draw electricity even when you are not using them
- Make good choices
Reduce * Reuse * Recycle
- Thank you Yosemite National Park, Call of the Wild, Cori, Sandra, Emilie, Amy, Mark, Deanna, Laura Lee and most importantly – Thank you Laura Hathaway for inviting me and sharing your tent! My life has changed for the better because of all of you!