Duck Lake Backpacking Trip

By Acacia Edeluchel


As the year is coming to an end, this month has been filled with many exciting events and trips. The same weekend as Minarets’ prom, May 13, English Teacher Michael Vaughan took 6 students backpacking in the John Muir Wilderness. The trip was an amazing experience for those who went and a great way to end the year.

On Friday, the group left from the Crown Valley Rancheria Trailhead and started hiking towards Hoffman trail and later the Cabin trail. Hiking for around 6 hours, they decided to go to Duck Lake rather than Chain Lakes as originally planned and set up camp for the next couple of days. The next day, part of the group took a day hike up to Castle Peak where there was a 360º view at the top of the peak. On the last day, they packed up camp and started the hike back. After they made it back to the trailhead and drove into Shaver Lake, the group went out for some much-anticipated burgers and milkshakes.


Up until just a few days prior, the trip was originally planned for Chain Lakes near the Yosemite Valley. However, growing closer to the trip, it was almost canceled due to heavy snow in the area and fears that the group wouldn’t be able to make it up there. Researching for a new spot, it was then decided that the Crown Valley Rancheria trail near the Wishon Reservoir would be the new destination.


Vaughan mentions that the situation was slightly frustrating because the group wasn’t able to get their first choice but they were actually fortunate to be able to go at all as most places were not open yet for permits. It was a challenge having to switch and find a new location but rewarding because they were able to go.

He explains, “[The trip] went well, nobody got injured, and hopefully, everybody had fun. [A challenge] I think was the snow. There was more snow on the ground than was anticipated so it was hard to keep the trail unless you knew how to look for trail markings.”


Sophomore David Perez explained “The trip was, on top of just a really enjoyable experience, I think it was a really constructive experience and I think I am better off as a person after it. I would definitely recommend anybody who is interested in the outdoors to do so.”


With the trip being such a success, there have already been plans made for another backpacking trip next school year on August 26 to go to Twin Lakes in the Mammoth Lakes area. Unlike this trip limited to only 6 students, spots may be open to around 15 people. Vaughan is looking forward to planning another trip at a new location with new experiences and being able to open the opportunity up to more students.




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