Stories from the Field

Student Blog: Yosemite - The Experience of a Lifetime

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Student Eleanor and her classmates on the NatureBridge Yosemite program

Going on a six-day expedition to Yosemite National Park earlier this October with all my friends and classmates was incredible. We saw mountains, giant trees, rock falls, and lots of squirrels. I’m so glad that at Ocean Shore School this is an annual eighth grade trip and I’m looking forward to visiting Yosemite several more times in my life. I learned all about the wildlife there and the complicated ecosystem. I faced my fear of claustrophobic spaces and I learned what it was like to have to rely on senses other than sight.

Standing in the forest next to a tree over a thousand years old was unbelievable. I imagined other people from ancient times seeing the trees I saw now, and I imagined people coming thousands of years from now to see a tree that, when I saw it, was no bigger than my upper arm. The feeling I got from seeing those Giant Sequoias was almost like time travel. While humans rarely live to be 100, these trees are still young at 400. This was just one of the mind-blowing things I experienced at Yosemite National Park.

While the sights were fantastic, my favorite part was sharing it all with my friends. One of my best memories from the trip is sitting down at the end of each day and gossiping with my friends about anything and everything. About our crushes, about hiking, about periods and other bodily functions. The funniest part about these evenings was that our vice principal knew all the juicy stuff about everything sometimes before we knew. I honestly live for those moments that I can spend venting and giggling with my friends, and those moments were plentiful at Yosemite.

Yosemite is the experience of a lifetime. Going there, you can see what made John Muir devote his flesh and blood to the earth, what made Ansel Adams paint it. The granite walls of El Capitan and Half Dome are imprinted on my memory, and the relationships I built like fortresses are as long-lasting as the mountains. There in the wilderness, a scene of beauty fills your sight and an awareness of life fills your heart.

-Eleanor, 13, Ocean Shore School

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