Somehow, I stumbled across Big City Mountaineers in 2016. I'm still not sure how. Instagram? A Backpacker article? Weird internet clicking? Probably. As soon as I found them, I knew I wanted to participate. They're fulfilling a mission I'm passionate about, one I hope to build on some day.
Getting inner-city kids outside? Yes, yes, yes. Sign me up. Except, I was rather last-minute and my summer schedule was already so full of weddings and travel that I couldn't commit to another week off work.
Fast-forward a year. I got a surprise email from a new volunteer coordinator and had a wide-open summer. Sign me up, FOR REAL this time.
After a few training sessions, we were off. Our small group (Laughs and MJ, two 13-year-old young women; BadAss, our wilderness instructor; Cherub, a woman who works at the youth agency with the students; and me, a volunteer) would be heading into the Yosemite backcountry for a week. These girls, born and raised in east Oakland, had never hiked, let alone backpacked.
We'd get to show them the ropes.
As you can probably tell, I've given everyone a "trail name" to protect their privacy.
Day 1: Fires & Drives
Day 2: The Edge of the World
Day 3: Cold Creeks and Rocket Ships
Day 4: La Capitana, or Summit Day, or Women Power
Day 5: Realtalk
Day 6: Ash, Civilization, Australians
Day 7: Fin
Afterword: This I Know for Sure
What I Ate (or didn't)