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Re: Rockin' or sloppin'?

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Rockin' or sloppin'?
August 16, 2013 08:51AM
On our last trip to Virginia Canyon, we ran into a group of students from the Athenian School, a high school in the Bay Area. They were on a 26-day backpacking trip as part of a graduation requirement from the school...and we enjoyed chatting with them. Nice kids, having fun.

But one thing struck us as a bit odd. We met at the junction where the Pacific Crest Trail fords Return Creek in Virginia Canyon, and as we hopped on the rocks across the creek, we noticed that the kids in the group were all sitting down, with their boots off, and wringing the water out of their socks.

When we asked about it, the bright young woman who was guiding them explained that "We don't rock hop across streams."



OK. We do. We also use trees, where possible, as in the photo here. We like dry feet, and dry boots. At any rate...

We stopped there and pumped some water for the hike up to McCabe Lakes, and as we were finishing up, M noticed that their group was getting ready to hit the trail. No worries. Those young people were going to leave first, and were certainly going to hike uphill faster than us old folks.

Not so. In less than 100 yards we were right behind them, and they kindly let us go ahead. And fifty yards beyond that we came to the ford of McCabe Creek...which we rock-hopped across, and headed up the hill.

And we couldn't help thinking that they were going to stop after that one, sit down, take their boots off, and wring their socks out again. Seemed like a slow way to hike in the Sierra.

Then again, the next day M was carelessly rock-hopping across a small stream, slipped, and dunked her feet nicely into the water. She grimaced, swore, and then hiked up out of the stream and let her feet dry out, more or less, on the trail. That afternoon she set her boots in the sun and completed the drying process.



On the other hand, where there are no rocks, we just take off our boots and wade in our Crocs.



Balzaccom

follow our adventures, read our blog, or just to come hang out at our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
avatar Re: Rockin' or sloppin'?
August 16, 2013 02:02PM
They have a lot of rules. Boots only. Synthetic bags only. No swimming allowed.
One "solo" experience thru the trip. And a bunch more.
Not allowed to cross via logs. Period.

Maybe you found all this out from "the bright young woman" too.



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Rockin' or sloppin'?
August 16, 2013 02:33PM
Nope--didn't chat with her that long.

Sounds like you have had longer, or more, encounters with them?



We met a group of older (our age) hikers at the same time and place. One of them was pretty abrasive at first...until I understood that he thought we were guiding the kids. When I explained that we were on our own...and not part of the school, he toned things down a bit.



Balzaccom

follow our adventures, read our blog, or just to come hang out at our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
avatar Re: Rockin' or sloppin'?
August 16, 2013 05:58PM
Yep...my baby girl did that trip last year...and my wife and I used her being away as the excuse to go hike the JMT, so it was a win-win. The trip is a "must-pass" class that all Athenian students take either during spring break of their junior year (to Death Valley) or during the summer between their junior and senior year to the Sierra's. The daughter wanted to do the Death Valley trip...but I was rooting for the High Sierra trip (hey...her middle name is Sierra!) and that is what she did.

I was amazed at both the packing list and the rules...but I understand that for liability and all sorts of other reasons the leaders must make this trip as "bullet-proof" as possible. No down anywhere, only synthetics..... High top, leather, waterproof boots, stuff like that. While the school provides most of the gear, you are certainly welcome to use your own, which led to the following exchange:

Daughter "I want to get a backpack for AWE...it needs to be 85 liter capacity"
Dad "No, you can use one of the school's backpacks for now...one of your goals in life should be to never have to carry an 85 liter backpack"

(That being said, she is heading off to college next week with, apparently, more than 20 pair of shoes....sheesh!)

And the rules...helmets on if you are off trail...no boulder hopping or log walking to cross streams....no swimming (I think you can "dip" in water no deeper than about the top of the thigh)...probably lots of others that I can't recall at the moment...but all intended to keep things as safe as possible for groups of 8 students, most of whom have never have been in the backcountry. Its what you get with organized trips...I have done trips with Big City Mountaineers the last couple of years, taking disadvantaged youth to the Sierra, and their rules are similar, and probably have to be in order to get insurance etc.

So the Athenian thing...the first couple of weeks or so they are in the learning phase, hiking and climbing as groups of 8 with 2 adult leaders, and then they have a 3 day "solo" where they are alone but stationary, resting up for the "final" if you will, wherein the group of students is basically on their own with the couple of adult leaders somehow staying in the background...so the kids do all of the route finding, cooking, camp work, etc.

When they reach the trailhead at the end they spend the night, get bussed back to a park about 6 miles from school, and from there they "run-in" (I think that there is a lot of walking involved) to waiting parents, faculty and friends, a pretty cool deal. Check out the AWE Run-In
avatar Re: Rockin' or sloppin'?
August 16, 2013 08:50PM
BP,

Thank you very much for taking the time to elaborate on this wonderful project. I know that based on watching other people's reactions to groups of young folk, that they are not always well received. I cannot say enough about programs such as AWE that take young people out of their comfortable environment -- distractions apon distractions -- and teaches them to get to know their world, their peers, and themselves. I have a very difficult time around the staleness of adults, but I cannot get enough of the enthusiasm of a young person (especially with a make-upless scrubbed face and an outdoorsy fragrance) Programs such as this are creating the stewards of the future, and ensuring the opportunity for nature to bee appreciated by those who otherwise would remain miles and worlds apart from it. Bravo! These kids will have formed bonds that last a lifetime.



The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.
avatar Re: Rockin' or sloppin'?
August 17, 2013 08:08AM
Poof, Many Tanks Man.
Very very kewl. Absolutely loved the videos.

There's a lot of great kids out there.
They come in all ages and sizes:

wink
Half a Dome Fun



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Rockin' or sloppin'?
February 20, 2014 01:17AM
Quote
chick-on
. . .
snip . . .

wink
Half a Dome Fun

Love the photo and location, where is this and what are we looking at?
ADVthaAnksNCE
avatar Re: Rockin' or sloppin'?
February 20, 2014 08:22AM
Quote
qumqats
Love the photo and location, where is this and what are we looking at?

Ewe looking at me and Bearpoof enjoying da day.

(prepare to go dough!) ....

We're looking at TM...

(do you want the ExAcT location where we sitting?)



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Rockin' or sloppin'?
February 20, 2014 09:05PM
Quote
chick-on
Quote
qumqats
Love the photo and location, where is this and what are we looking at?

Ewe looking at me and Bearpoof enjoying da day.

(prepare to go dough!) ....

We're looking at TM...

(do you want the ExAcT location where we sitting?)

TM! I thought that was a high likelyhood, but couldn't get my bearings.
Upon conformation, and closer examination I think we're looking NW from a dome just south of the campground/Lembert Dome. Not being able to find Lembert was screwing me up, I gather it's just off screen to the right.
Pulling up a topo map Topo of TM and south

My guess . . . one of the ridges or domes sticking N of Johnson Peak.
avatar Re: Rockin' or sloppin'?
February 23, 2014 05:33PM
This is the exact spot.



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Rockin' or sloppin'?
February 24, 2014 10:09AM
Did you head over there from the Rafferty Creek trail?
avatar Re: Rockin' or sloppin'?
February 24, 2014 09:47PM
Looks like you could follow the creek bed at the end of the first campground loop on south to the area,
maybe hop one creek bed to the east. Find the bare granite, find a way up.

Time to start laying out my trips and goals for the summer! smiling smiley



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/24/2014 09:48PM by qumqats.
avatar Re: Rockin' or sloppin'?
February 25, 2014 07:18AM
No. We came from the south. Over Johnson after Nelson, Reymann, and other...
From here we zipped down to Eliz Trail and out. Lots of great stuff. From Rafferty
would be fun. There's lots of great stuff out there... Get up high as quick as
possible... Up on ridges... and it's cool grape goodness.
Bearpoof has a big set you can follow along in this thread:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,56017,56017#msg-56017



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Rockin' or sloppin'?
August 21, 2013 07:30AM
Quote
balzaccom
Nope--didn't chat with her that long.

Sounds like you have had longer, or more, encounters with them?

We met a group of older (our age) hikers at the same time and place. One of them was pretty abrasive at first...until I understood that he thought we were guiding the kids. When I explained that we were on our own...and not part of the school, he toned things down a bit.

I would hope that you and others took a look at Poofs post and video (wish he'd post his though... it's MUCH better)
and have a better understanding of the program and what it can and does do for these kids.
I found the video(s) very touching and inspiring. And honestly quite moving.



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Rockin' or sloppin'?
August 16, 2013 03:28PM
The Athenian School ~ Athenian Wilderness Experience (AWE) sounds pretty impressive, actually. Perhaps their program emphasizes the experience of getting there, rather than getting there "fast".



The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.
avatar Re: Rockin' or sloppin'?
August 16, 2013 03:50PM
My buddie Bearpoof's daughter went to that skewel.
And she went on the wilderness experience last year.

The solo experience is interesting to say the least...
maybe I'll just get him to expound on it...



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Rockin' or sloppin'?
August 16, 2013 04:15PM
Kewel! I would love to hear more about the program (imagine that there might bee some life-long back packers created on that trip)



The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.
avatar Re: Rockin' or sloppin'?
February 20, 2014 07:58AM
Ha! I just saw the photo and was going to ask the same thing.

Okay....... I'm going to guess using my relatively meager knowledge:

I say we're looking North along Lyell canyon, maybe in the vicinity of Potter Point.

Just a guess.
Re: Rockin' or sloppin'?
February 20, 2014 08:53AM
There is no more dangerous force in nature, than teenagers who want to impress their friends.

With that knowledge, what would you allow them to do, with an understanding that you are miles and miles, and many hours away, from any professional help?

Let them swim? How about above a waterfall?

"OH! I can cross that log on one leg!" "I can cross that stream on those rocks at a full run"

It doesn't matter if they're Christian, if they work in rescue missions, if they're virgins, if they are not white.

Understand that part of the job is telling the parents that the child died as a result of your negligence. How ready are you to embrace that part of the job?
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