Yosemite FAQ - Lasting Adventures

FAQ

General Questions
Youth Summer Camp Questions
Guide Services Questions

 

General Questions

Why Choose Lasting Adventures?
In addition to being the specialists in Yosemite backpacking adventures for youth, Lasting Adventures has also developed into one of the leading guide companies in Yosemite. We have been recognized as one of the guide services within Yosemite National Park that guides the most visitors into the Yosemite backcountry. Some other reasons to choose Lasting Adventures for your next Yosemite adventure include: our experienced, credentialed, and fun guides; our below-industry and/or competitive rates; we are fully-insured; we provide name-brand gear for FREE if needed (this includes Gregory internal frame backpacks, Marmot tents, Marmot sleeping bags, and MSR ground pads); and of course you receive the satisfaction of knowing that any profit we gain from your participation goes towards our summer youth programming.

Are Lasting Adventures trips open to anybody?
Yes! Our program evolved from just a youth program into both a youth summer camp and a leading guide service within Yosemite. In this light, in addition to still offering our youth summer backpacking program, we also offer guided day hikes and backpacking trips to the general public. One can sign-up for an adventure on their own, as a family, or as part of a larger group (such as corporate or school/youth programs.)

What kind of adventures does Lasting Adventures guide?
Lasting Adventures is permitted to guide day hikes and backpacking trips within Yosemite National Park. These can range from half day, full day, or to multiple nights and days in the backcountry. Many of our day hikes take place right in Yosemite Valley itself; while others can begin and end from almost any location. Our overnight backpacking trips offer outstanding views and accomplishments while going even deeper into the Yosemite backcountry. Sorry we are not permitted for guided driving tours.

Can we go on different dates then what you have posted online?
Yes! We are open to plan a custom adventure hike and/or backpacking trip at whatever time period is convenient to you. Although we do have many tentative dates listed already on our website; most of our clients contact us directly to schedule dates that work best for them. We encourage you to do the same!

How is Lasting Adventures, Inc. a non-profit?
As discussed on our history page, Lasting Adventures began as program of a larger non-profit with a goal of providing positive youth development in the outdoors. In 2008, Lasting Adventures applied and was approved to become its own section 501(c)(3) non-profit with the specific purposes for: through safe outdoor experiences, to provide positive youth development and educational opportunities to the general public; and to provide charitable assistance for participation in such opportunities to otherwise disadvantaged youth. In addition to local grants and fundraisers, all profits generated from our guide service go back to our youth program. So, in addition to keeping all youth summer trip costs low, Lasting Adventures, is also able to provide partial to full scholarships for disadvantaged youth participation in our summer backpacking program.

Do you have Employment opportunities?
Yes! Although we have limited positions, we are always accepting resumes and cover letters. Check out out our Employment Page for more information.

Youth Summer Camp Questions

Why choose Lasting Adventures for my child’s summer camp experience?
There are really many answers to this question that basically break down into the following categories:

Staff– Our Guides/Summer Camp Counselors are the key ingredient to success for Lasting Adventures. Although we all come from different backgrounds, we all share a passion for Adventures, Yosemite, and sharing it with others in a way that will create memories to last a lifetime. It’s common to have Guides with off-season jobs of being a teacher, counselor, or other youth professional. At the start of the summer, all leaders attend training on positive youth development and adventure based programming. These leaders work to create a positive rapport with all participants.

Ratio– Our ratio of staff to youth never goes over 1:6 and is usually 1:4. Total group size never exceeds 15 people. Due to our small group size we are able to make group decisions based on the input from all the team members. Such decisions may include how far we travel on any given day, where we make camp, what and when we eat, etc. Unlike other camps that have over 100-300 campers a week, our program maximum (for the entire summer) is between 300-400. Thus, we get to know our participants well and run a highly effective program.

Safety– With any outdoor activity there is an inherit risk. Our staff is trained in ways to limit and respond to these risks. A basic requirement for all of our staff members is completion of a Wilderness First Responder 80-hour certification. All leaders carry extensive first aid kits, a Satellite phone, and have been trained in risk management, evacuation protocols, and crisis response. We are also fortunate to have the additional support of Yosemite National Park and the Yosemite Search and Rescue there to assist us when necessary. Lasting Adventures has invested in the quality of its risk management practices by participating in Risk Management Training offered by the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), an organization with over 50 years of experience managing risk in wilderness environments. As a result of this training, while NOLS doesn’t endorse or certify our practices, Lasting Adventures is further enhancing its risk management strategy. We have invested time and resources in these practices because the health and well being of our participants is one of our highest priorities.

Knowledge– One of the biggest points that divides us from other guide services is that we have extensive backcountry experience in Yosemite National Park. Unlike other youth adventure travel programs that lead trips all over the place, we have become experts in just this one area. Our leaders know the trails, weather patterns, terrain and what lies around almost every corner. We also have extensive knowledge on the locations of many secret locations (backcountry waterfalls, alpine meadows, amazing bluffs, and many awesome sunsets). We know the locations of all the ranger stations and High Sierra Camps should we need help. Additionally, we know the rangers on a first name basis, and they know us. Lasting Adventures is the one guide service that guides the most people into the Yosemite back-country. Frequently we are asked for assistance and/or knowledge from many other youth programs.

Price– Due to the fact that we do not have an actual facility or camp, we are able to keep cost down and past this savings onto you. Additionally, when compared to similar adventure programs, we strive to offer a better program at a lower cost.

Who can go on these trips?
The Lasting Adventures Summer Camp series is open to ALL youth ages 11-18 and/or entering the 6th grade through the summer after a student’s graduation from the 12th grade. Know a young adult who is older? We encourage you to check out our Guide Service.

I have a thirteen year old, which summer camp program is best?
You know your child best! If your 13 year old is athletic, in shape, plays sports regularly, and is a mature 13 year old; then he/she is probably capable of doing well on our Yosemite High Country Adventure 6-Day or 12-Day programs. If your 13 year old is young, still-developing physically, and has limited outdoor and/or sporting experience; than the Young Adventurer’s Program would most likely be best.

What gear/equipment do I need to bring?
Our goal is not to have you spend extensively to prepare for this trip. Most items can be found around the house or borrowed. On all youth trips, Lasting Adventures provides all backpacks at no additional cost. As needed, we can also provide sleeping bags, ground pads, etc. Lasting Adventures also provides all group gear (cooking gear, water treatment, toilet paper, soap, hand sanitizer, bug repellant, suntan lotion, etc.) Click here for a detailed Equipment List.

How do we get to and from Yosemite?
Trips do not include transportation to and from Yosemite National Park, yet Lasting Adventures, Inc. will provide information to assist in coordinating carpools. When possible we do schedule participants from similar locations. We then send a list of participants out 3-4 weeks before a trip. Other options include charters through companies such as Crossroads Tours or Mother Load Adventures Charter Services. For more information please see our Transportation Page.

What kind of food do we eat on the trips?
We eat good food! Over the years we have experimented with many different backpacking foods and freeze dried foods. With the help of the many of the youth participants, we have been able to learn what is in and what must go. Breakfasts and dinners are prepared and eaten together. Lunches consist of “trail foods” that the participants’ carry in a shared bear canister and/or stuff sack and which they can eat whenever they want. Below is a sampling of foods that we eat.

Breakfasts Lunches (“Trail Food”) Dinners
Breakfast Burritos Trail Mix  Burritos/Corn
Scrambled Eggs Jerky S+S Pork/Green Beans
Sausage and Bacon Salami Noodles and Chicken
Bagels Cheese Chicken Teriyaki
Oatmeal Bagels Spicy Oriental Chicken
Pop-Tarts Clif Bars and snacks Macaroni and Cheese
Breakfast Bars Fruit Leathers Spaghetti
Hot Cocoa Granola Pitas, Tortillas
Dried Fruit  
Peanut Butter  

How much do I have to carry? How big are the backpacks?
Nobody carries too much. The average pack weighs between 25lb – 40lb. (Except for leaders.) When the participants are packing up, and when they first put on the pack, things can look and feel scary. But not to worry. As we settle in and begin our hike, we are constantly re-shuffling and re-packing the children until everything evens out and no one is carrying too much. Although we all may become tired and exhausted, we have never lost anyone due to a heavy backpack.

What about the bears and other wildlife?
Yes, it is true. Dating back to the summer of 2000, Lasting Adventures Program Director, Scott Gehrman, did earn the reputation of sleeping with the bears when he awoke to a bear crawling over him. It was his fault however, as he chose to sleep next to the one bag of food that did not fit into a bear canister.

Every year we have multiple bear encounters, but as past participants can tell you, the bears are really not a problem. They are easily scared away. The black bears (actually brown, cinnamon  blonde in color) come into campgrounds looking for food. They look into backpacks, around tents, and anywhere where they may smell it. As their natural fear of people fades, they become more aggressive in finding food. When this happens, they often have to be killed.

In order to stop this devastating cycle the National Park service is investigating and trying a variety of methods to reduce bear-humans interactions. Their goal is to keep the bear population wild and to retrain conditioned bears to live on natural food, rather than human food. This is also why we practice “Leave No Trace” and why we have to carry bulky bear proof canisters. These methods are working! Over the past ten years Lasting Adventures, Inc. has seen a marked decrease in the number of bear-human interactions. No longer can we guarantee a bear sighting on every trip; however, it still is very likely.

In addition to the bears, we encounter many other animals and critters ranging from deer, squirrels, marmots, birds, and even rattlesnakes and scorpions. We work with the participants to teach them how to respect the animals and critters and thus we do not encounter any problems with these animals. Yet, like the bears, many of these animals do come and visit us as they prowl around looking for food.

Do we do any rock climbing?
No. We do no technical climbing. Yet, at times, participants are able to scramble on rocks and boulders not exceeding 8-10 feet in height.

Do we sleep in cabins and/or tents?
No. We sleep in the great outdoors! Although Lasting Adventures does own a collection of 3-4 person tents, we choose not to use these on our youth trips. We have found that the participants enjoy sleeping under the stars on a large tarp with their friends. Thus, we choose not to separate the participants from each other, or the great outdoors, and we all sleep under the stars. This concept itself adds to the overall experience, adventure, and offers many more opportunities for great memories. The one rule however is that boys and girls are separated (10-25 feet apart) and that they do sleep with the leader(s) of the same sex. When it rains, we make our own tents/shelters with extra tarps.

Gratuities
Gratuities for guides are not required but are appreciated. Typically gratuities range from 10-20% of your trip’s total cost; not per guide.

What time and where do we meet for the Yosemite High Country Adventure? How about pick-up time and locations also?

Young Adventurer’s Program
Our 5-Day Program both begins and ends in Half Dome Village within Yosemite Valley. Drop-off is Mondays at 2pm and pick-up is on Fridays at 12:30pm in the Half Dome Village pizza patio.

Our 6-Day Program begins in Tuolumne Meadows at 2pm on Sundays and ends at 12:30pm at the Half Dome Village Pizza Patio on Friday.

6-Day Traditional
Our 6-Day Program begins in Tuolumne Meadows at 12pm on Sunday and ends at 12:30pm on Friday at the Half Dome Village Pizza Patio within Yosemite Valley. We cannot accommodate late arrivals on these trips.

12-Day Extended
Including our Junior Guide and Young Women’s Programs
Our 12-Day program begins at 1pm in Half Dome Village within Yosemite Valley. We can accommodate later arrivals into the evening hours if needed. We end at 12:30pm on Friday at the Half Dome Village Pizza Patio within Yosemite Valley.

How can we get to Yosemite from an airport?
There are a variety of options on our Transportation Page.

What is the cancellation policy?
Lasting Adventures offers a very forgiving and structured Cancellation Policy. For a full description visit our Terms and Conditions page.

How do I register my child for the Yosemite High Country summer camp?
Please use our online system to register which can be found at the bottom of our Summer Camp page. Once confirmed additional forms will be emailed to you. These forms can be returned to us by email or fax at 800-513-8651. These required forms are also located on our Forms page.

 

Guide Services Questions

Who can sign up for day hikes and/or backpacking trips?
Anyone who is in-shape and physically fit can sign-up for any of our adventures. Whereas some trail selection can offer something very easy and/or moderate, others can be quite strenuous. When you contact us, we will work with you to suggest a trail that we feel will best suit both your ability level and your interest in scenery and accomplishments that you are looking to achieve. Participants signing up for a guided backpacking trip should be able to carry a backpack of 30-50lb over moderate to strenuous terrain. If you are attending with children; our guides will make the necessary accommodations so that they will also have a memorable and enjoyable experience.

I don’t have any backpacking experience, is this right for me?
Yes! We have introduced hundreds of people to the outdoor, wilderness, and backpacking experience. Its is very normal for more than 50% of our participants to be first time backpackers. This is our specialty.

How many people versus guides are usually on a trip?
On most day hikes we plan for small group sizes of 4-5 people per guide. We top out at 10-12 people with two guides, but that is a rarity. On the majority of our day hikes groups are only 3-5 clients and at least one guide if not two. On backpacking trips, our average group size is 8-10 people with at least two guides. We strive for a 1:5 ratio at most on all trips. We also strive for small group sizes to maximize your experience.

Can we book a private trip?
If you would like to book a trip for just you; you and a friend; as a family; or as a team, school, or corporate function; anything is possible! Cost may be slightly higher as indicated on our rate table and/or cost may be significantly lower with the larger number of people who book together.

Do you do family outings?
Yes! Lasting Adventures actually specializes in family outings! With 20 years of experience leading youth in the Yosemite backcountry, Lasting Adventures is the best option for family outings. Leave the cooking, cleaning, and chores to us as we escort you and your family to some amazing locations in the park. Feel free to contact us to discuss appropriate day hikes and/or backpacking trips for your family.

What gear/equipment do I need to bring?
Our goal is not to have you spend extensively to prepare for this trip. Most items can be found around the house or borrowed. On all custom backpacking trips, and unlike most other outfitters, Lasting Adventures provides Gregory backpacks, Marmot tents and sleeping bags, MSR ground pads FREE of charge. Lasting Adventures also provides all group gear (bear cans, cooking gear, water treatment, toilet paper, soap, hand sanitizer, bug repellent, suntan lotion, etc.) Click here for a detailed Equipment List.

Should I plan for extra lodging before my trip and/or at the end of the trip?
On most all day hikes we plan to start pretty early. (Half Dome we meet at 5:30am.) We would suggest that you plan accommodations accordingly. On backpacking trips, we usually provide for the afternoon/evening before to meet your guide and go through gear and pack backpacks. Staying with the guide in the backpackers camp is included and recommended for getting use to your gear. For lodging options inside and outside of the park click here.

What time and where do we meet our guides?
A specific time and location will be sent upon registration. Our meeting location in most cases is in Half Dome Village where there is plenty of parking in the main lot. Bus stops are also here. The guide(s) will meet you in front of the Half Dome Village store (usually at a table on the deck beside the store). Less often we meet in Tuolumne Meadows.

Where can we park? Does it cost?
There is free parking throughout the park and at both Half Dome Village and within Tuolumne Meadows where we meet. After meeting and running through an orientation with your guide on Day 1, the guide will advise of the best places to park your car for the duration of the trip. You can leave your other belongings secure in your car. If you arrived on public transit you can leave your belongings secure in the guides car.

How much should I expect to carry?
You can expect to carry anywhere from 25-50lbs depending on your weight. We try our best to never have you carry more than a third of your weight-if mot less. You are expected to carry all of your personal gear including sleeping bag, pad, tent (or part of it), and some of the group gear which can include anything from a bag with toilet paper to a full bear-can of food. When we meet on the first-day the group usually relocates to the parking lot where we pack as a group. The guides assist you and we hand-out group gear in respect to the big people carrying more and little people carrying less. To this date we have never lost a client to carrying too much.

What kind of food can we expect on our overnight backpacking trip?
On our overnight trips we collaborate with you to design a menu to your enjoyment while also respecting any special dietary concerns participants may have. Typical breakfasts might include breakfast burritos, pancakes, fresh fruit, oatmeal, bagels, etc. Dinner examples include a variety of pastas, breads, burritos, stew, etc. Lunches consist of trail food and fruits and veggies. Examples include: pita, bagels, salami, cheeses, hummus, fresh veggies, dried fruits, trail mix, enrgy bars, etc.

Gratuities
Gratuities for guides are not required but are appreciated. Typically gratuities range from 10-20% of your trip’s total cost; not per guide.

How do I register for a day hike or backpacking trip?
Please use our online system to register. Once confirmed additional forms will be emailed to you. These forms can be returned to us by email or fax at 800-513-8651. These forms are also located on our Forms page.

Traveling to Yosemite
Find more information out about all transportation options here!

Cancellation Policy
Lasting Adventures offers a very forgiving and structured Cancellation Policy. For a full description visit our Terms and Conditions page.