Backpacking Session: Enter The Wilderness

Trip length
8 days
14 - 18
Dates and Locations
Trip 1
Wednesday, July 23 – Wednesday, July 30. Mineral King, Sequoia National Park
Trip 2
Saturday, August 3 – Saturday, August 10. Meiss Country, Lake Tahoe Basin

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

— Henry David Thoreau

The Camp Chrysalis backpacking session offers young adults the chance to learn how the wilderness can challenge and inspire. Days away from the cars, TVs and hurry of the frontcountry, we explore some of the most rugged and pristine wilderness in California. Our attention is focused as much on ourselves and our group as it is on the land hosting us. With space for individual reflection (including a lengthy solo), open and responsive community dynamics, and strategically timed group activities led by staff and campers alike, campers develop their understanding of the land, living in a group, and of themselves.

We hike for six days, covering about 36 miles as we develop our skills traveling safely through the wilderness. Along the way we learn fundamental backcountry skills: cross-country navigation and survival sense, basic first aid, how to bear-proof our camp, operation and maintenance of backcountry equipment (such as stoves and water filters), and how to not shower for 8 days!

Each day on the trail includes a mix of structured activities, games, and discussions. While some are led by our staff, each group brings together a unique cluster of experiences, and we encourage camper-led activities -- many have become Camp Chrysalis backpacking traditions.

In addition to hiking most days, the backpacking session includes a peak-ascent expedition and an afternoon of solo time where campers write or sketch in their journals, follow an ant's expedition, and watch the sun glow on mountain peaks and lakes. We also learn from each other in discussion about environmental issues and wilderness ethics.

This year, because of camper demand, we are very excited to offer two backpacking sessions that vary based upon dates and location. The first session will be to the Mineral King area of Sequoia National Park with high peaks and views, marmots, and cold lakes. The second session will be to the Meiss Country south of Lake Tahoe and will feature epic jumping rocks, waterfalls, and several lakes for swimming. We always hope for bear sightings and do carry bear cans on all trips. Both sessions will include an afternoon of solo time, lots of wildflowers, sleeping out under the stars, and games and activities to deepen our friendships and understanding of each other and ourselves.