Walking Trout Foundation 2015
Organized by: Steven Ashburn
EVENT DATE Aug 29, 2015
The Walking Trout Foundation is a group of friends who are longtime backpackers and campers. Most of us are in our mid 40's, and after years of backpacking and camping together, we decided to help take people with mobility limitations on camping trips so they could experience the beauty and majesty of the Sierras. So, in 2013, we advertised our first trip by posting flyers at rehab facilities that cater to people with mobility limitations. We rented a bunch of tents, sleeping bags, and vehicles, and took 13 people we'd never met to Rock Creek Lake in the Eastern Sierras. The trip was a great success, so in 2014 we took a second group of 14 people to Mammoth Mountain. Pictures and trip logs from both of these trips can be viewed at www.walkingtrout.com/Foundation.html.
We are so happy to share the Sierras with people who might not otherwise think to take themselves camping. We've taken people who have never been camping before, as well as people with prior camping experience. We've helped people catch their very first trout, we've helped campers travel a portion of the John Muir Trail via wheelchairs and canes, and we've had plenty of campfires, complete with s'mores and lame jokes. Each year, we also arranged for private guided tours for our groups (Mono Lake in 2013, and the Devil's Postpile in 2014).
Our most basic goal is to take people out to the beautiful Eastern Sierras and introduce (or reintroduce) them to camping, and show them a good time... to give them something to look forward to, and something to look back on (which is pretty much the same reason ANYONE goes camping). And if in the process we happen to encourage some of the campers to go outside of their comfort zone, to push themselves a little harder than normal and perhaps discover some unknown strengths, and just maybe catch the "camping bug," well that's OK, too. In the end, we consider the trip a success if the campers have a great time, and so far it's been a 100% success rate.
It turns out it's expensive to rent vehicles (including a lift van that allows some of the campers to stay in their wheelchairs during the drive), tents and sleeping bags, and to buy enough food for 14 campers plus the Walking Trout Foundation volunteers for four days. There are other expenses as well. In 2014, we rented a pontoon boat and took the campers fishing on Convict Lake, one of the Eastern Sierras' most storied lakes. In 2013, we treated the campers to lunch at the quirky Whoa Nellie Deli overlooking Mono Lake, and pies from the (possibly) world-famous Pie in the Sky Cafe at Rock Creek Lake. Then there's the fee for the campsites, the gas for all the vehicles, the rented U-Haul trailer, the fishing gear, the t-shirts... the list goes on. We raised about $4,000 in 2013 and again in 2014, and both years the trip cost about $5,000. So, for 2015, we are trying to raise $5,000 and hopefully come out of pocket a little less.
With two trips now under our belt, we can assure you with personal experience that any amount you contribute will be put to good use, and will help make a positive impact on the campers. Thank you for any help you can provide.