Bill King never met a mountain he didn’t like. Like John Muir, who urged life’s travelers to “climb the mountains and get their good tidings,” the Mariposa resident has been drawn to exploring the outdoors since childhood.
In 2016 King’s passion for outdoor adventure sparked the idea of a solo backpacking trip across the Sierra Nevada. Looking eastward across the Sierra foothills from the UC Merced Vernal Pool and Grasslands Reserve, he hatched the idea that someone could literally step off an urban campus in the Central Valley and hike across the foothills, into the mountains and over the Sierra into the desert and beyond - an idea that was irresistible to this inveterate explorer.
King invites area residents to experience his trek vicariously in a slide presentation, “Mono to Merced (M2M): A Valley-to-Valley Trans-Sierra Backpack,” at the Yosemite Area Audubon Society’s monthly program at 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 8, at the Mariposa Methodist Church parish hall on 6th Street in downtown Mariposa.
Taking 21 days, his covered about 160 miles, with the high point at about 10,500 feet and the low at 200 feet, much of it through Yosemite National Park. The route traversed several terrain types - high desert, subalpine forest and montane meadows, temperate forest, oak woodland and grasslands. Temperatures ranged between freezing and 100 degrees F.
Like all YAAS programs, King’s presentation is open and free to the public, although donations to defray program costs and to support the chapter’s local activities are welcome.
Field trip Feb. 17
YAAS will also offer, in partnership with the Sierra Foothill Conservancy (www.sierrafoothill.org), its monthly field trip on Saturday, Feb. 17, to the Stockton Creek Reservoir in Mariposa.
The hike will start at 9 a.m. at the Stockton Creek Preserve trailhead on Highway 140 about a half mile north of Mariposa. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.yosemiteaudubon.org for more detailed information about the trip.
Details: (209) 742-5579 for more information about the program or visit www.yosemiteaudubon.org.
NOTE: The mission of the National Audubon Society, the namesake of noted 19th-century naturalist and bird painter John James Audubon, is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity.
Yosemite Area Audubon Society