Are you headed to Yosemite National Park but have not spent much time in the outdoors?
Go on a custom day hike or even a backpacking trip with a guide from the non-profit organization Lasting Adventures, which also offers youth summer camps. Based in the Yosemite area since 1997, Lasting Adventure employs professional guides, some of whom have worked as park rangers, who know the park inside out. And they’ll create an incredible day for you based on your interests and ability.
“It makes a day great for people, and we get to share our passion for nature,” says Scott Gehrman, founder and executive director of Lasting Adventures, who notes they customize trips for families as well as hikers of all abilities.
The nonprofit Yosemite guide service’s mission is to “provide positive youth development and educational opportunities to the general public through safe outdoor experiences and to provide charitable assistance for participation in such opportunities to otherwise disadvantaged youth.”
Some of its popular guided day hikes includes the all-downhill 5-mile Glacier Point down 4-Mile Trail, offering breathtaking views and the strenuous 7-mile Nevada Falls Loop. For strong athletes looking to spend 12-15 intense hours hiking, the legendary Half Dome hike is a huge draw. It’s a 16-mile round trip, and park permits are required.
If you’re planning on spending several days in Yosemite, consider Lasting Adventures lodging/hiking packages that combine great days in the park with spectacular lodging at Rush Creek Lodge. You can even enroll your kids ages 13-18 in a Lasting Adventures’ six-day overnight summer camp, freeing you up to really explore the park.
But if you truly want to get off the beaten path and want to experience backpacking, choose from a number of multi-day trips with the company.
In addition to guided hiking and backpacking, Lasting Adventures runs summer camp programs for youth and teens. The camps focus on environmental education, wilderness skills, Leave No Trace practices and team-building. But a really notable component of this non-profit’s mission to give more kids, particularly disadvantaged kids and teens, more opportunities in the outdoors.
No matter what your physical ability or outdoor experience, your first sight of Yosemite Valley will leave you speechless.
“It’s just that “wow” factor when you enter the valley, and there’s the sense that some mind of greater force, be it God or something else, created this” says Gehrman. “When you turn around that first corner, it’s magical.”
What keeps Gehrman so passionate about the work he does? Yosemite has always been a special place for him. As his mom battled breast cancer, she brought him and his siblings to Yosemite as children in search of natural beauty and solace. While she died when he was 15 from breast cancer, she left him with an enduring love for the outdoors. Today, Gehrman loves passing on that passion to those who go on Lasting Adventures day hikes, trips and camps.
“It’s that increased passion for nature,” Gehrman says. “That increased connectedness that expands both perspective and possibilities."
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