Best of 2016

Before we begin a new year, we would like to take a moment to reflect on our favorite memories and accomplishments of 2016.

We welcomed 35 new Shoestring Warriors for a total of 80 alumni. We hiked over 88 miles in 2 state parks and 1 national park. We watched 13 sunsets. We helped 18 Shoestring Warriors earn their Wilderness First Aid certification. We expanded our team to include our intern Abbey and 3 new trips leaders, Heather, Canyon and Graham. We collaborated with 4 talented photographers to document our adventures: Jaymie Shearer, Ryan Tuttle, Justin Sullivan and Julie Hotz.

Thank you all for joining us on this journey. Here’s to more adventures and new friendships in 2017!

Montana de Oro Camping Adventure

In March, we visited Montana De Oro State Park for our first Shoestring Adventure of 2016! Located on California’s Central Coast near San Luis Obispo, Montana de Oro is named for the golden wildflowers that bloom in spring. The park features rugged ocean cliffs, secluded sandy beaches, sea caves and colorful tidepools.

All of us were greeted with a rainbow at the campground and walked to the beach to watch the sunset. On Day 2, the sun came out as we hiked 3.7-miles round-trip and climbed 1275-feet to Valencia Peak, enjoying the ocean view beyond the rolling hills bursting with wildflowers. After lunch, we strolled along the Bluff Trail, stopping along the way to explore the tide pools and enjoy another sunset before returning to camp.  On our final day, we set out to explore a sea cave and a sinkhole before returning home. READ MORE

Shoestring Warriors: Xoli, Ashlea, Katherine, Abbey, Jaymie, Amy, Daniel, Dave, Kathleen and Ari

Photo by Ryan Tuttle

Big Sur Camping Adventure

In June, Shoestring Adventures took a weekend road trip to Big Sur, led by trip leader Heather! Located five hours north of Los Angeles on California’s Central Coast, Big Sur offers breathtaking views from the mountains and ancient redwoods to the turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean.

We met four first-time Shoestring Warriors at Pfeiffer Big Sur Campground on Day 1 and set up camp next to the Big Sur River. On Day 2, we hiked to 80-ft Pfeiffer Falls and spent the afternoon soaking up sun on the Big Sur River Gorge and Pfeiffer Beach, followed by tacos and campfire. Before returning to Los Angeles on our final day, we visited McWay Waterfall and climbed the Ewoldsen Trail for a stunning view of the ocean. READ MORE

Shoestring Warriors: Heather, Alyx, Graham, Canyon, Ryan, Julie, Carissa, Jeff, Alma and Abbey

Photo by Alyx Schwarz

Yosemite Camping Adventure

In July, Shoestring Adventures took a weekend road trip to Yosemite National Park, lead by trip leader Canyon! Located six hours from Los Angeles, Yosemite attracts travelers from all over the world, offering breathtaking views of glacier-carved cliffs, majestic waterfalls, open meadows and giant pine groves.

On Day 1, we got our bearings in the Valley with a walking tour from Upper Pines to Yosemite Falls and spent the afternoon taking turns floating down the Merced River on a pink donut. On Day 2, we hiked from the Mist Trail to the Panorama Trail to Four-Mile Trail, a challenging 14-mile trek with views of Vernal Falls, Nevada Falls, Illouette Falls, Glacier Point and Half Dome. On our final day, we left the Valley from Tioga Road and dipped our toes in Tenaya Lake before heading home. We can’t wait to go back and explore more in 2017! READ MORE

Shoestring Warriors: Canyon, Alyx, Heather, John, Ari and Daniel

Photo by Justin Sullivan

Yosemite Backpacking Adventure

In August, Shoestring Adventures went backpacking in Upper Yosemite National Park with trip leader Graham, a three-day, 21-mile journey through the Ten Lakes Basin. Located six hours from Los Angeles, Upper Yosemite is accessible from Tioga Road and offers an escape from the crowds of Yosemite Valley. The opportunities for backcountry exploration are infinite.

On Day 1 morning, eight of us met at the trailhead. Around 2pm, we finally stepped onto the trail for the 6.5-mile hike to our first campsite. After several hours of climbing, we arrived in a sun-drenched meadow covered in purple, orange and yellow wildflowers. As the sun went down, we descended into the Ten Lakes Basin and found a campsite with a lakefront view. On Day 2, we set off on an all-day 11-mile hike, descending from the Ten Lakes Basin and climbing to a campsite under the nose of Tuolumne Peak with access to our very own snow-melt lake. On our final day, we descended to Tenaya Lake. Overall, the weekend felt like an accomplishment worth celebrating. READ MORE

Shoestring Warriors: GrahamJustin, Alyx, Allison, Curtis, Lindsey, Tabitha and Ari

Photo by Julie Hotz

Havasupai Backpacking Adventure

In October, Shoestring Adventures returned to Havasu Falls led by trip leader Canyon. The group included 10 Shoestring Warriors from Los Angeles and San Francisco, who came together at the edge of the Grand Canyon to visit the magical blue-green waters.

On Day 1, we met up at Hualapi Hilltop. On Day 2, we began the 10 mile hike down to the campground. On Day 3, we hiked over a dozen miles, explored five major waterfalls and gazed at the stars. On our final day, we got an early start for the 10-mile hike out! READ MORE

Shoestring Warriors: Canyon, Julie, Jeff, Iain, Liv, John, Rachel, Joseph, Jessie and Kiki

Photo by Alyx Schwarz

Wilderness First Aid Course at Sturtevant Camp

In November, we partnered with Wilderness Leadership Institute to host a Wilderness First Aid and CPR Course at historic Sturtevant Camp. A 4-mile backpacking trip from Chantry Flat brought us to Sturtevant Camp, located in Big Santa Anita Canyon of the Angeles National Forest and established in 1893 by Wilbur Sturtevant. Of the five resorts built here during the “Great Hiking Era” of the 1880’s through the early 1930’s, only Sturtevant still remains.

Fast paced and hands-on, the 16-hour Wilderness First Aid (WFA) Course covered a wide range of wilderness medicine topics, from wound cleaning to building splints to anaphylaxis. Sturtevant Camp provided the perfect environment to practice scenarios in the field. We are so proud of our Shoestring Warriors and look forward to returning to Sturtevant Camp in 2017 for our 2nd annual Wilderness First Aid Certification! READ MORE

Shoestring Warriors: Alyx, Hewett, John B., Chris, Mike, Rachel, Ron, Trish, J.T., Tracey, Tabitha, Ari, Mireya, Corinna, Nathan, Sonja, Sara, Emily, John S. and Hoa

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