By Katie Myszka
August 19 - 22, 2007 -- The gathering started off slowly as alumni began to fill up the campsite. We weren't the only ones arriving at Yellow Pines, as our first black bear sighting occurred before 7pm. It meandered along a fallen tree and checked out Rob's tent on the edge of the forest, squashing his straw hat in the process. The bears were to be an exciting part of the upcoming 3 days.
Monday morning was chilly, but alumni and interns alike were up early and eager to start the day in Yosemite. We were joined by a number of park staff as we headed to Cook's Meadow to pull invasive Himalayan blackberries. After learning the difference between the native raspberries and those we were to dig out, we set to work with a lot of laughter, eating blackberries and getting scratched in the process.
Later that day, even more park staff joined us back at Yellow Pines to celebrate our 50th Anniversary around the picnic tables with Scott Weaver, SCA staff & 1978 crew leader, Todd Nelson, NPS staff & 1996 intern, and Natalie Mebane & Caroline Nelson, current interns, sharing their SCA stories through the past, present and future. After a delicious dinner, we spent the night playing many games of UNO and relaxing around the campfire.
After spending a few days in the Valley, we were all ready to explore more of the park on Tuesday. A large group drove up to Tuolumne Meadows and hiked to Elizabeth Lake for a frigid dip in an alpine lake. Others drove the scenic route to Mariposa grove and hiked through the Giant Sequoia trees. We were continuously amazed at the massive ancient forest that surrounded us. Although everyone was tired from their hiking adventures, we were not too tired to go swimming in the Merced River once again before the sun went down.
It was a fabulous weekend with just enough hard work, celebration and relaxation. It was amazing to be in such a beautiful setting with such wonderful people who wanted to connect with SCA again and meet others who felt the same way.