Trip Leaders at Home: My Journey to Yosemite
By Amelia Eldridge
As an Outdoor Adventure Trip Leader (and now Manager) for Tulane, my love of the outdoors remains a constant in my life, even when I’m not on the clock or in New Orleans! This past winter, I had the most magical experience exploring Yosemite with my dad. I encourage anyone from California – or any visitors – to copy my amazing day-trip!
At around 3:30 on a Friday afternoon in early January, my dad picked me up from my home in Oakland and we headed out for the three hour drive to Yosemite. Because of the shortened daylight, we pulled into the quaint and rustic Hotel Charlotte in Groveland right as it was beginning to get dark. My dad and I went to get a bit of dinner and drink at an old saloon down the road; it was a big barn-like establishment that perfectly encapsulated the Old West-feel of the town, and we went to bed early as we knew we had a big day of adventure ahead!
The next morning, we were on the road as the sun rose, stopping quickly at an art studio/cafe to grab some scones and coffee on our way into the park. We drove to Badger Pass ski area to rent cross country skis and trail pass, and began on the Glacier Point trail. As we are both experienced cross country skiers, we enjoyed going off-path to check out all of the fresh powder, and we skied the beautiful track down into McGurk Meadow before turning onto the Dewey Point Trail. The trail would have been so easy to miss had we not spotted a few ski trails heading in the supposed direction. We both remarked how peaceful and serene it felt – having only passed less than a handful of other people the entire way down, even with how perfect the weather was that morning.
As we continued up the elevation-gaining Dewey Point Trail, it soon became clear that in order to reach the end lookout, we would need to ditch the skis and continue on foot up the incredibly steep and narrow path. We stashed our skis behind a large boulder but used the poles to help us along as we trekked in the sometimes-knee-deep snow. Ski boots are by no means snowshoes or hiking shoes, but we soldiered on and finally reached the top – boy was it worth it! At the clearing at the top we were greeted with the huge front face of El Capitan, as well as the rest of the valley spread out below us. We took a nice break at this viewpoint, taking photos, eating snacks, and just marveling at the sheer size of El Capitan and Half Dome.
Conscious of the quickly moving sun, we followed in our footsteps back down the mountain to our skis before beginning the long trek back to Badger Pass. We were both well worked by the time we finally reached the car, and we grabbed some hot chocolate before heading out of Yosemite and back home for the night. I will never forget watching the burning sunset illuminate El Capitan and Half Dome in dark orange and red rays as we drove below them on our way out of the park.
About the Author
Name: Amelia Eldridge
Year in School: Senior
Hometown: Oakland, CA
Favorite Outdoor Activity: Anything in the water or in the mountains!
Favorite Camp Food: Trail Mix
Ideal Outdoor Trip Destination: Koroyanitu National Park, Fiji
If you were stranded on a desert island, what/who would you bring with you: Bear Grylls and some chex mix