Notes From the Field: Condor Teens

From the Field: Condor Teens

You cannot

trick teens with candy

change their feelings

or make them eat extra oatmeal.


you cannot

convince them that this is not

hard, grueling, sweaty, painful


you cannot make them

walk faster

be nice

brush their teeth every morning and night

go to sleep when they're not ready.


but there is a different way--

a blossoming

a witnessing

an alpine flower blooming at eleven thousand feet.


your teens!

that smile and laugh


that decide

of their own accord

to climb mountains

to wash dishes

to carry heavy bear cans for MILES up MILES of mountain


that decide

to try

new foods

new modes and methods

new ways of being




at eleven thousand feet high.


They are tremendous

They are strong

They are determined and soft


and thank you for the extreme privilege

of watching them grow



I miss my mom

I miss my pets

My dad taught me that

This feels better

I never knew

This is incredible and amazing


They did more than I thought possible

when I was pawning bribes to make it to the top.

They made it on their own

their own way

More beautiful and true than I could ever coordinate.


Thank you. Thank you!

-Dominique, Lead Program Staff


Summer Condor Backpacking Trips

The California Condor soars high and flies far, riding thermals over and through rugged terrain. Condor is a 5-day-long backpacking trip for teens wanting to push their skills and edges, while living fully and reveling in the wild beauty and freedom of the Mountains.

During this trip in summer 2021, we went to the Western Sierras, climbing up through pine and fir forest to a massive bowl of alpine granite and a beautiful lake. We climbed mountains, swam in the lake, fished, crafted, sang and played in this wild mountain playground, while sinking deeply into connection with the land, the waters, the plants, the animals and each other.