With such enthusiasm and support from kids, parents, and schools alike, Ascend Wilderness Experience’s Spring Break Day Camp returns again this year for another AWEsome time! We are thrilled to offer a safe place for youth during Spring Break (April 1-5) at East Weaver Campground. The relief this day camp provides to working parents has been a solution for our community even more powerful than we expected. You can fill out an application here or drop by Ascend’s office to pick up a printed copy from the box outside the office door (we’re located next to White Wolf Gym on Forest Ave. in Weaverville).
This year’s Spring Break Day Camp promises to outshine 2023’s since we have a knowledge base from which to launch improvements to last year’s successful program. Spring Break Day Camp is a way for kids to connect with nature, identify with their role in our environment, and learn organically, away from screens for a bit. They are educated about the wilderness in a fun, hands-on way, while having a great time playing and interacting with one another. Stewardship is always the backdrop for an Ascend Wilderness Experience. By building compassion for our surroundings, humans develop respect and appreciation for many things.
As an all-inclusive program, Ascend’s Spring Break Day Camp provides everything a child needs to participate and be well nourished*. Donations are graciously accepted, but not required for enrollment.
*Thank you to our local business sponsor for their generous contribution to provide healthy meals and snacks: Trinity River Lumber Company in Weaverville, CA
In wrapping up 2023, we are looking at the numbers and are blown away by Ascend’s accomplishments this year – Ascend hosted 16 more days in wilderness than the previous year and served over twice as many youth!
This accomplishment is largely thanks to the launch of our very first Spring Break Day Camp (SBDC) in April 2023. This program offered outdoor education and adventurous day hikes to 60 youth, ages 5-14, during the week of spring break at no cost to families. SBDC also employed high school counselors during the week, providing adult mentorship and references as well as a source of income to teens during their time off from school.
Ascend wants to make sure to offer this excellent opportunity for youth in April of 2024!
During December, all donations to Ascend will go to supporting Spring Break Day Camp. Please consider including Ascend in your end of year giving!
Giving Tuesday is a global day of giving and a wonderful opportunity to support the causes that mean the most to you.
Maximize your giving to Ascend by donating through North State Giving Tuesday, where your gift will help Ascend become eligible for cash prizes available through this unique event.
We hope to match this past year’s success in 2024 and community contributions greatly influence our ability to do that.
Early Giving is open now!
To maximize your impact, plan your giving for the day of January 28th during the Power Hours of 11am-12pm, 3-4pm, and 7-8pm. The more gifts Ascend receives during these times, the bigger the portion of a $15,000 cash prize pool Ascend will receive!
Ascend is proud to serve communities in the north state and help make public trails accessible to everyone.
Ascend Wilderness Experience has just wrapped up their final outdoor trip of 2023, rounding out their most awe inspiring season yet. In response to community feedback, Ascend went above and beyond their classic summer backpacking excursions and offered a more diverse catalog of free programs than ever before, beginning in spring with the launch of our first ever Spring Break Day Camp and extending into fall with additional Adult Stewardship opportunities for weekend warriors and Board Members. In all, Ascend hosted 6 overnight trips and 4 day hikes for youth including two family-friendly opportunities and 5 Adult Stewardship trips, totaling 50 days in wilderness for youth and adults.
Spring Break Day Camp
Youth Programs started in April this year with the first ever Ascend Spring Break Day Camp. Youth ages 5-14 spent five weekdays during their spring break based at East Weaver Campground exploring the creek and trails on day hikes, eating great snacks, and learning about botany, outdoor ethics, camping basics, and a day in the life of a Forest Service pack mule thanks to guest speakers and presentations. 60 kids attended anywhere from one to all five days of camp and had an amazing time during this unplugged, educational day camp. Ascend cannot wait to continue supporting local families with environmental education by hosting this free 5-day Spring Break Day Camp again in 2024.
Youth Hiking and Backpacking Trips
A wet June and beautiful July saw the majority of Ascend’s Youth Programs adventure into the Trinity Alps Wilderness Area. Three multi-day trips and three day hikes adventured into different areas of the Trinity Alps Wilderness, giving youth the chance to build connections in their groups and within themselves in the unique setting of backcountry wilderness.
3-day Backpacking Trip (Ages 9-11)
A group of eight brand new backpackers joined the beginner 3-day trip for ages 9-11. These brave new wilderness explorers journeyed up to East Boulder Lake, enjoying swimming, exploring the wildlife, day hiking to a patch of snow for sledding in July, and imaginative play around the campfire.
5-day Backpacking Trip (Ages 10-13)
Youth ages 10-13 got a great backpacking experience adventuring up Swift Creek and taking the turn to Granite Lake where they camped halfway along the trail before making it up to the lake the following day. Participants were wowed by the incredible lake and let their imaginations take over playing in the alpine waters, day hiking up to a snow patch where a snowball fight and sledding ensued, and playing games around the fire.
5-day Leadership and Mentor Training Trip (Ages 12-14)
The second 5-day youth backpacking trip was for ages 12-14 and intended for youth who exhibit aptitude or desire to take on a leadership role in wilderness. This trip hiked up and around Union Lake in the cool June weather dodging hail storms, catching fish, playing games, and spending time around the fire. One participant wrote in their journal, “A breathtaking experience for me were the stars last night. I’ll never forget about how many stars I’ve seen. Also bonding with everyone was so special to me. I felt free and proud of myself for pushing myself to hike.”
Youth Day Hikes (Ages 6-9, 9-11, 12-14)
In June and July, youth attended three day hikes, exploring swimming holes and alpine lakes during summer months when a hot swimming day was followed by a rainy hike to a snow covered alpine lake mere days later. These age appropriate days hikes were attended by youth ages 6-15 and were a great way to spend a summer day with peers.
In response to community feedback and with support from the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance and Rose Foundation California Wildlands Grassroots Fund, Ascend was able to expand our Stewardship Program, adding one new family-friendly day stewardship day hike and three new stewardship opportunities for adults.
Adult Spring Stewardship Trip – Waldorff Crossing
Ascend kicked off the season with a brand new 3-day Adult Stewardship Trip in May at Waldorff Crossing in Western Trinity County. Volunteers did great work clearing brush, downed logs, and treading over three miles of this trail to the North Fork of the Trinity River.
7-day Teen Stewardship Work Experience Trip
Ascend Wilderness Experience hosted their 3rd annual Teen Stewardship Work Experience Trip this past June, facilitating seven days of trail work, adventure, and team building in the Trinity Alps Wilderness for eight regional high school students. The group was led by Ascend guide, Danyel Aglipay, FS Wilderness staff Erik Fleitz, with assistance from recent graduate and former Ascend Teen Trip participant Rowan Price, who is now working for the Forest Service on trail crews.
The group base camped at Big Flat Campground in Coffee Creek where they had access to numerous trails that have been receiving attention from other trail work groups, tying into the Forest Service’s plan to utilize volunteer groups to rehabilitate a number of trails in the area. The Ascend team used hand tools to take on the difficult task of retreading a combined mile of undefined trail over swaths of Packers Peak Trail, Lady Gulch Trail, and South Fork Coffee Creek Trail. They also received training on crosscut saw usage while logging out 5 logs that were impeding South Fork Coffee Creek Trail. The crew then ventured into areas of the Trinity Alps that had recently been burned by wildfire, rehabilitating trails by filling holes where burned stumps have created instability and building water bars to improve drainage in areas that are susceptible to erosion. Lastly, these teen volunteers learned about invasive species while pulling about 700 invasive Wooly Mullein, limiting the spread of seeds in the Wilderness Area.
This trip was particularly special due to former teen participant Rowan Price taking part in a professional capacity. FS Lead Erik Fleitz said, “Rowan had been a participant on this annual trip since its inception, so it was great to have him as an assistant leader on this trip, showing how this trip can be a pipeline for local trail workers once they become adults.”
Thank you to the National Forest Foundation for their enduring support of this trip!
5 or 7 day Adult Stewardship Backpacking Trip
Ascend’s Adult Stewardship Backpacking Trip covered an incredible 18 miles from Swift Creek to Parker Creek Trail and Deer Flat trail over to Eleanor and Shimmy lakes brushing, retreading, and logging out 30 downed trees. Adults had some flexibility this year of staying either 5 or 7 days in the backcountry working and exploring with the group.
2-Day Multigenerational Stewardship Backpacking – Canyon Creek
Ascend lead a family friendly stewardship adventure up Canyon Creek Trail, where two families and an eager adult cleared encroaching brush from the trail down to “The Sinks” camp site about two miles from the trailhead. Our volunteers enjoyed incredible views, cooling off in great swimming holes, admiring waterfalls, and enjoying an unplugged night in the wilderness secure with professional guides and content with their volunteer efforts improving the trail for hikers in the Alps.
Multigenerational Stewardship Day Hike
Ascend had a wonderful Stewardship Day Hike in the mist and fall weather clearing brush on East Weaver Trail at the end of September. The views were magnificent and the all ages company on this family friendly hike to East Weaver Lake was wonderful.
Board + Friends Stewardship Day Hike – Poison Canyon Trail
Ascend hosted Board Members and friends on a trip up Poison Canyon Trail, logging out downed trees that were impeding the trail and remove brush from the trail corridor to improve access and keep hikers safe in the backcountry. This trail to Lilypad Lake has been tended by Ascend for the past 3 years and it was wonderful to introduce our Board to the area.
Fall Adult Stewardship Weekend – Rush Creek Lakes Trail
Ascend’s last volunteer trip of the season was a car camping stewardship weekend for weekend warriors who have busy schedules and are just dipping their toes into trail work. Participants joined us from as far as Shasta and Humboldt Counties to learn about using the crosscut saw and clearing trail corridors. This well attended trip performed logouts and brushed Rush Creek Lakes Trail before heading to Poison Canyon the second day to clear the trail corridor for hikers. Thank you volunteers!
Ascend is proud of its 2024 accomplishments and grateful for its incredible volunteers and amazing funders.
In all, Ascend hosted 50 days in wilderness for 162 volunteer participants, 137 of whom were youth. Volunteers and guides monitored over 80 miles of trail in the Trinity Alps Wilderness Area, performing significant trail work on 34 of those miles during Stewardship Program trips. These incredible stewardship accomplishments combined with our adventurous and educational summer youth programs make up the bulk of Ascend’s programs. However, Ascend has begun to engage with youth during the school year, providing outdoor education curriculum during after school and elective courses at Trinity County Schools and during community events like the Salmon Festival in Hyampom.
There are just a couple of openings remaining on our free fall stewardship trips for families and adults!
Family-Friendly Day Hike | September 30th | East Weaver Lake Join Ascend Guides for a ride up to the top of Weaver Bally to maintain the top of East Weaver Trail, enjoying stunning 360 degree views as you perform basic trail maintenance like brushing on the first mile of trail. After accomplishing this work, participants will have the option to make the trip to East Weaver Lake. This hike is one of the most accessible entry level hikes for young children or people new to hiking and stewardship work.
Adult Stewardship Weekend| October 14-15 |Rush Creek Lakes Trail Designed for weekend warriors, this car camping trip is an opportunity for adults to have a stepping stone before committing to a longer backpacking experience. Spend two days with trained Ascend Wilderness Guides hiking into areas in need of maintenance from a car camping basecamp at Kinney Camp. Participants will safely access areas that have been neglected or damaged by fire and perform tasks such as logouts, brushing and clearing trail corridors. Discover the Trinity Alps with like-minded peers and give back to your local wilderness area on this 2-day adventure!
We are halfway through our 2023 summer backpacking and hiking programs and have had an amazing time so far. Here are some highlights from our 3-day backpacking trip for ages 9-11, 5-day backpacking trip for ages 12-14 and our All Adult 7-day Stewardship Trip.
Ascend’s July/August trips are full but there is still room on our trips in September and October!
Family-Friendly Stewardship Day Hike ▴ September 30th ▴ Weaver Bally and East Weaver Lake
All Adult Stewardship Car Camping Weekend ▴ October 14-15 ▴ Kinney Camp/Rush Creek Trail
We love our backyard and we love our community. And because we live here, we know the Trinity Alps and local Forest Service need more caring people to steward this incredible public land. Ascend is the only Trinity County based non-governmental organization doing trail work in the Trinity Alps Wilderness Area. Please join us as we expand our Stewardship Program to host more opportunities for adults and families to join us in adventure, trail work, and building connections.
In 2022 our 5-day All Adult Stewardship Backpacking Trip cleared fire affected trail from the River Complex Fire, using hand tools and crosscut saws to logout a total of 20 logs impeding the trail to Landers Lake.
In 2023 Ascend is returning to Swift Creek July 9-15th with an option to hike out the 13th if necessary. This backpacking trip is supported by pack mules, Ascend Guides, Forest Service personnel and all food and gear is provided at no cost. This is an incredible opportunity to make new friends, connect with the natural world, and give back to the trails that grant us access to so many special places in the Alps.
If you can’t attend the backpacking trip, we have more opportunities for weekend warriors July 29-30 (family-friendly backpacking), Sept. 30 (family-friendly day hike), and Oct. 14-15 (all adult car-camping). More details here.
Ascend is proud to be expanding our stewardship program thanks to support from NWSA National Forest System Trail Stewardship Partner Funding, California Wildlands Grassroots Fund of Rose Foundation, Recreation Programs of the U. S. Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, and Outdoor Equity Grants Program.
*Due to the stormy winter we have been having, youth backpacking and day hike destinations are TBD
We are thrilled to announce the introduction of FOUR new trips this year to accompany our much loved Youth Day Hikes, Youth Backpacking Trips, and Teen & Adult Stewardship Backpacking Trips!
Teen Salmon River Fish Count – July 17-20: Open to older teens pursuing education or careers in environmental science, wildlife biology, etc., this trip will focus on river ecology and spend time exploring the Salmon and Klamath Rivers while receiving education and training about fish populations.
Adult Stewardship – Waldorff Crossing (May 9-11) **Apps due ASAP**: In answer to community feedback, Ascend is offering several new 1-3 day trips that take place during the shoulder seasons of spring and fall. The first will be on the lower elevation and less frequented trails of western Trinity Alps near the North Fork of the Trinity River. Participants will spend 3 days clearing the trail to ensure packers have access to pick up specialists doing fish count dives down the North Fork.
Adult Stewardship – East Weaver Lake Trail (Oct. 14-15): This 2-day car camping stewardship trip is a great intro to Ascend Adult trips for those who may not be able to get away for a longer backpacking adventure. Join Ascend Guides and like-minded adults for a weekend of learning about crosscut saws and logging out fallen trees that are impeding the popular East Weaver Lake Trail.
Multigenerational Day Hike – Weaver Bally (Sept. 30): If you or your family can’t make the Canyon Creek overnight multigenerational trip in July, join us for a family friendly day hike up on Weaver Bally where individuals, teens, and families can join in on stewardship tasks and take a hike to East Weaver Lake.
We can’t wait to get out in the Wilderness with YOU!
Applications Due May 15
**Don’t forget! Spring Break Day Camp Applications are due April 3rd! Apply Here**