Sierra Club Wilderness Travel Course (WTC) 2016 - Kaweah Group

  • Updated: October 23, 2016
  • Post By: Matthew Hengst

Past the break is a very long quasi chronological sequence of photos following the 2016 Wilderness Travel Course in Orange County with most being specific to Kaweah Group led by myself and Paul Warren along with a staff of extremely hard working volunteers.

For more information on what WTC is and how to take the course see the official site here.  More posts on WTC by me can be found here.

This was the fifth year since we started Kaweah Group and the students this year were some of the strongest and most active we've ever had.  The best years are the ones where you can feel the group starting to gel early on and this year they were all planning hikes and other get togethers on top of coming along on any trips, paddles, or other activities we threw at them.  It made all the classes and outings a joy to participate in and the post class summer trip season one of our most active.

We also had more snow than last year's abysmal showing which is hopefully a trend which will continue.

Classroom Sessions

This was the first year we did the classes at the Norman Murray Center in Mission Viejo.  It was further south than we've used before and a few of the classrooms were on the snug side but it was also one of the newer and nicer places we've been.

Sadly circumstances would force us to move again for the 2017 class.

Getting binders ready for the students

This was my first year as Orange County area chair and things were a bit manic

As students filtered in we had a slideshow of images from previous WTC years and summer adventures in the Sierra which I occasionally wandered up to narrate.

This was the smallest of the classrooms we used for breakout lectures.  It was cozy.

Paul talking navigation

Staff socializing before class

Wendy brought her daughters to visit before class

Class 4 we do a gear show and tell.  In past years we've had to do it inside which means limited space and we're not allowed to light the camp stoves.  This year we had an outside area with plenty of space though it was a little dark so pictures didn't really come out.

Matt Kraai and Wendy discussing hiking clothing layers

My own fashionable contribution to the sleeping system discussion

We had former Kaweah student Nikki back again to do a presentation on her experiences on the PCT

Joshua Tree theme discussions

The vote for snow camp theme ended up tied between "Just" Luau and "Just" Fiesta before the staff jumped in with an executive decision and we decided on Fiesta + Luau.

Whitney Group staff prepping for class

Class 10 we pitch the students on all the summer experience trips

Then we get them excited at all the wildlife encounter opportunities

With the classes over Kaweah Group retired to a nearby snow station and made plans for future adventures.

Conditioning Hike - Mount Wilson
February 14th, 2016

I wasn't allowed to attend the conditioning hike this year as I was recovering from a microfracture surgery on the right knee last November. So I was at home while everyone else drove out to Mount Wilson

Connie and her hiking makeup
Nav practice
Almost out!

Joshua Tree Rock Scrambling & Navigation Weekend
February 27th & 28th, 2016

The next outing was Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree theme discussions
After some debate the students decided on 80s Glow Party as the theme.

Several of the staff came out with me Friday night and had everything sorted 

Which was good since as soon as we offloaded the gear we went about getting helmets on and were off.

Our volcano even smoked

Snow Travel Day - Onyx Peak
March 13th, 2016

Due to lack of local snow we decided to head back to Onyx Peak which had an area that always seems to retain a decent amount of snow longer than the surrounding area.

Snow Camp - Rock Creek
April 1st to 3rd, 2016

Snow Camp was back at Rock Creek and this year we had more snow to look forward to.  (Last year was pretty bare)

Sebastian is the grand champion of the snowshoe races

Kaweah Cotton Party
May 10th, 2016

WTC 2016 Graduation
October 22nd, 2016

Graduation was back at Indian Cove in Joshua Tree.  We were in Site 13 again but this time all three Orange County groups were together.

Dave Black who was responsible for me taking the course back in 2008 is retiring after 15 ish years.  He'll be missed!


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