Connecting with the Angeles National Forest @ Chilao Campground

How do we connect with nature?IMG_0977.jpgWe jump on in and embrace the unfamiliar. We took our first camping trip of the year at Chilao campground up Highway 2. And, as usual, it took TEAM WORK! Jeremy and Journy arrived early to secure a site, and Jess and Sonja collected the kids and the gear and we headed up the mountain. 

We've discovered that Chilao tends to clear out every morning and then fill up again starting around 10 am. So, by that stroke of luck we got a great site with tall conifer trees, that circled a  perfect rocky hill between us and the other side of the campground. This was important for our end-of-evening game of student-invented tag. How do you connect with nature? You play in it. You hide in the dark, you run after your friends, in the dark, and you use your headlamp to help you navigate the un-even terrain. You heighten your awareness of yourself and nature by using all your senses to explore the natural world.

The first day we busted out of our "van ride up" and "tent set up mode" to hit the trail. We found a nearby trail to travel which warmed us up for the next day's peak exploration up Mt. Waterman. We were met with some extraordinary views! 

Mt. Waterman was a great hike, and the second time for at least three participants. We trekked about 8 miles round trip, and got about 8 minutes of sun perfectly timed to thawus out during lunch. Nothing like chilly weather to motivate you back onto the trail. We headed back into camp around 5 pm, and got the fire and dinner going. 

The first night was cloudy, but the second night the clouds cleared and we were able to look at the moon through our telescope. Then we each took a turn setting up the telescope and focusing it on the celestial entity we wanted to explore. The night sky was amazing, and a bit misleading, as just after we slipped off to sleep fierce winds blew into camp and we got to 'embrace' the movement of air at a pace that was definitely trying.  Having not slept well because our rain flaps flapped at our doors all night long, we all pitched in to help clean out our site, pack our tents, and kitchen, and gear and head down the mountain. Every kid stepped up to help, and took breaks when needed with freezing fingers and runny noses (why do our noses run in the cold?) and every kid stepped up to help without being asked. It was a well organized machine in the face of windy adversity, and just goes to show that the challenges we face from the natural world can also be our best teachers, and can provide opportunities to help us meet our best selves. 

We connect with Mother Earth because she provides the lessons, the resources and the love we need to challenge ourselves, to relax, to play, and to use all our senses. 

We'll be back soon. 

Thanks to Lead Mentor Jeremy for the great photos, and Lead Mentor Jess for the amazing shot of Grandmother Moon! 

Thanks to the kids who took the leap to come along, and their parents who took the leap to trust us. Thanks to everyone who donates to make this all happen, and thanks to nature for being the best teacher, EVAH!

Click below to see more pictures and a stunning shot of the moon!

Grandmother Moon through the very focused eyes of our telescope, gifted to us thanks to Delphinus Science School Director  and WYLD friend, John Sanders. This was a "WAIT, WHAT, WOW!" evening, indeed! Thank you john. 

IMG_0976.jpgIMG_0978.jpgOur journey along the Mt. Waterman trail to an amazing overlook! And a view of ourselves and the wondrous mother earth who brought us here. 

If You're not sure what Dapping is, have a look here. We're pretty sure the log also participated. Almost to the top of Mt. Waterman! IMG_0975.jpgCooking! Sharing responsibilities. Pasta, Salad in a bear bin, OF COURSE, and knife skills. Also, OF COURSE! IMG_0973.jpg

Day one hike from near our campground. The warm up the next day's Mt. Waterman Summit! IMG_0972.jpg


Top o' the mountain! 

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