The Beauty of Exploring | My Family Travels
San Francisco 2011 237

I did not realize that when I signed up for my AP Environmental class it was going to change my families’ whole view of the world I live in. Not just because we learn how the technologies that we are creating are causing pollution, or that the CFC's of the "old" refrigerators and microwaves that were built 30 years ago will haunt us, but because of the trip my teacher suggested I take with my family will change me mentally and physically, that trip was the Woods Project.

When my teacher first told me about this wonderful trip called the Woods Project; I imagined it was about a bunch of people dressed in hippie clothes trying to save the woods from the city, instead it was a life-changing experience. I did not know that this trip was more than just wilderness exploration; it was also about leadership and life skills, college preparation, and outdoor education. This trip takes place in San Francisco, California, in a big park called Yosemite Park. It is very popular and most of the people that travel to California, besides enthusiastic actors, tend to just relax and visit this incredible park for its views, mountains, and rivers. While I was looking through the Woods Project website I saw all of the incogitable adventures that we were going to take. I briskly signed up for the science program where we were going to get hands-on training with real scientists and travel to the O'Shaughnessy Dam in Hetch Hetchy, an amusing name for such an alluring place. This website was very helpful, not only did it tell you where you were going or what to bring but it also helped you on raising money for your trip; which by the way is very affordable.

Coincidentally, this trip was going to take place exactly on the day of my birthday which made me think that it was going to be even more delightful. After we landed in San Francisco we were on our way to the one and only Yosemite Park. When we got there it was like a whole other world I have never seen, the trees were completely different, the grass, the air, even the sky; where I live the stars are almost impossible to make out but in Yosemite you can see everything. The scenery was amazing; in the morning the birds would greet us with their chirping, the owls would hoot at night, simply beautiful. Every morning we would wake up exactly at 5:30 and hike to our next resting stop that help me improve my physical state. I also learned that when you go hiking and you are in need of a restroom because of the water you drink to keep you hydrated can simply be reduced by your body sweating.

During this astounding trip we began to learn more about our beautiful creatures, how we should cherish everything we have been given. We learned that our forest contains more than trees and grass, how we can discover new ways to live with what Mother Nature and God has given to us. Not everything has to rely on technology, we simply need to take a moment and think how we can benefit ourselves and our surroundings. One thing that I will always remember about my trip to Yosemite Park is the difference between wanting more and already having enough, just by my family joining me in this wonderful experience, I already have everything I want. 

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