An Education in the Majestic Sierra Nevada

Zen Habits

Hailing from Guam it's a pleasure to introduce Leo Babauta, who will be providing the Chelsey community with inspiration and tactics on setting and achieving your goals each and every week, check out his blog Zen Habits

The Sierra Nevada

By Leo Babauta

We set out for the Sierra Nevada as a family, all eight of us, excited but unsure of what to expect from our first family camping trip in the mountains.

I surveyed our two vehicles full of camping gear and food, and wondered at foolishly calling myself a minimalist sometimes. A family of eight people has a lot of sleeping bags, sleeping pads, tents, chairs, veggie dogs and vegan marshmallows, though. And we probably overprepared, after reading and worrying about bears and the cold and cougars and Lyme disease.

At any rate, earlier this month, we drove four four hours, the scenery out our windows becoming more and more incredible, pine forests and alpine meadows and creeks winding through towering peaks, Lake Tahoe and more. We were awed, as a family from the tiny tropical island of Guam, used to beaches and jungles and swordgrass.

This was the start of our adventure, our education in the mountains.

Barney Lake

One of the things we’ve learned by unschooling four of our six kids is that education isn’t just in the classroom or books: it’s everywhere. All the time. And as we arrived at our campground in the Eastern Sierra, that was never more clear.

We’ve also learned that education isn’t just for our kids: we learn with them. We set up tent, learned about various pine trees (Jeffrey pine smells like vanilla!), wandered along the creek, watched the majestic stars come out. I sketched the chipmunks and deer, studied the supermoon, and then lay under the vast night sky to watch the best meteor shower I’ve ever seen. Seriously, we saw some awe-inspiring meteors shooting across the entire night sky with huge tails, looking like they were about to take out a mountain or two.

We learned to chop wood (badly), to start a fire and keep it going so that we could be drenched in smoke, to cook over the fire with much gourmet char, to prevent forest fires, to keep bears from getting into our food stores or cuddling up with us in tents. We learned about safety in the woods, about what to do in the unlikely event that we encounter any dangerous animals (spoiler: don’t run screaming, despite what all your instincts tell you), about what water is safe to drink and what isn’t.

One of the best things we learned is that we don’t need all the modern conveniences we’re used to — we can get by without electricity and running water for a few days, we can re-use the same clothes, go without TVs and the Internet and all our devices. The lack of running water was probably the least convenient, but the rest we lived happily without.

We learned we can find entertainment in exploring nature and telling stories and playing games and finding delight in the company of those around us and the place we’re in. Amazing discovery.

2014-08-12 18.36.18

2014-08-12 19.34.00

And we learned that we’ve been missing out on the gorgeousness of nature so close to us. By immersing ourselves online, we forget what’s out there.

We rediscovered this in the Sierra.

The mountain lakes are breath-taking. And cold. The trails are winding, peaceful, quiet, profound. The trees have a power like nothing found in towns and cities. The mountains dwarf you, and make you realize your humble place in the world. The rivers sing songs of peace and joyful dancing, and the skies are ridiculously expansive and severe.

2014-08-13 13.07.13

2014-08-13 13.43.47

This isolation in the wilderness, cut off from texting and social media, served to bring us closer together as a family. We pitched in and worked as a team, shared the trail and creeks together, made jokes at each other’s expense, witnessed beauty together that can’t be expressed to others accurately unless they’re with you.

I think the kids (and Eva) learned they are tougher than they thought, too. They could hike through mountains and be exhausted and be totally happy. They could sleep in the cold air, and while it’s not as comfortable as being in their warm beds, they’d survive. They could weather heat and desert-like terrain, suffer some sore legs and cuts, be dirty.



Now, I’ll be the first to admit that what we did in the Sierra was pretty tame, and probably old news for many people. I’m not claiming to be better or more courageous than anyone, or saying anything other than, “We islanders went into the mountains and learned a lot.”

We had conveniences: we were in a campground with bathrooms and picnic tables, with a carload of food. We had coffee and hot chocolate and wine. We weren’t truly roughing it.

But we did learn to love the mountains.

And learning to love something is the best education there is.








Sort by
  • Renee says
    To be extra specific, Most Essay Writer are trying to find a few vicinity where people or businesses locate every different and speak with not unusual hobby, consisting of nature exploring, mountain climbing, touring...Essentially folks who like to live energetic way of life. I like nature and would really like to explore it greater, however i do not have sufficient those who would love to do it with me continuously...
  • New Member says
    Most of the students are trying to discover a few surrounding area where people or businesses place every dissimilar and speak with not unusual pastime, consisting of natural world exploring, stack climbing, on the road. Essentially folks who like to live lively way of life. Help With Assignment Writing, I like natural world and would really like to travel around it greater, though I do not have sufficient those who would love to do it with me incessantly.
  • New Member says
    People can easily get an education in the beautiful places like the Sierra Nevada, if you are a nature lover. The Sierra Nevada is a mountain range in the Western United States, between the Central Valley of California and the Basin and Range Province and it is the most beautiful place I have ever seen. I am a writer and provide custom assignment help to the students and I mostly go there to write about blogs and novel.
  • New Member says
    Education in every corner of the world is matter where you are living, in a small country or in the biggest country of it is must for every person to get well educated.Even it is must for females to get the proper education so that even they can't go outside they at least provide online nursing essays assistance to the students and earn some money.
  • alice says
    Website designer
    website designer in delhi
    Web Design Delhi
    Website designing Delhi
    website design Delhi
    website Design Company
    Website Design Company in Delhi

    Website Development

    website developer in delhi
    website development company in delhi
    Web Development Delhi
    Website Development Delhi
    Website Development Company


    dedicated server hosting
    dedicated server hosting plan
    vps hosting
    vps server hosting plan
    cheap vps server
    linux vps server
    Website hosting
    shared hosting

    Packers and Movers

    Packers and Movers Delhi
    Packers and Movers Mumbai
    Packers and Movers Bangalore
    Packers and Movers hyderabad
    Packers and Movers Chennai
    Packers and Movers Gurgaon
    Packers and Movers Pune
    Packers and Movers Faridabad
    Packers and Movers Ghaziabad
    Packers and Movers Noida

    Movers and Packers

    Movers and Packers Delhi
    Movers and Packers Mumbai
    Movers and Packers Bangalore
    Movers and Packers hyderabad
    Movers and Packers Chennai
    Movers and Packers Gurgaon
    Movers and Packers Pune
    Movers and Packers Faridabad
    Movers and Packers Ghaziabad
    Movers and Packers Noida

    Packers and Movers

    Packers and Movers in Pune
    Packers and Movers in Mumbai
    Packers and Movers in Gurgaon
    Packers and Movers in Noida
    Packers and Movers in Delhi
    Packers and Movers in Chennai
    Packers and Movers in Hyderabad
    Packers and Movers in Bangalore
    Packers and Movers in Ghaziabad
    Packers and Movers in Faridabad

    Movers and Packers

    Movers and Packers in Pune
    Movers and Packers in Mumbai
    Movers and Packers in Gurgaon
    Movers and Packers in Noida
    Movers and Packers in Delhi
    Movers and Packers in Chennai
    Movers and Packers in Hyderabad
    Movers and Packers in Bangalore
    Movers and Packers in Ghaziabad
    Movers and Packers in Faridabad

    Packers and Movers

    Packers and Movers in New York
    Packers and Movers in San Francisco
    Packers and Movers in California
    Packers and Movers in Los Angeles
    Packers and Movers in San Jose
    Packers and Movers in Honolulu
    Packers and Movers in Oakland
    Packers and Movers in Denver
    Packers and Movers in Chicago
    Packers and Movers in Buffalo
    Packers and Movers in Boston

    Movers and Packers

    Movers and Packers in New York
    Movers and Packers in San Francisco
    Movers and Packers in California
    Movers and Packers in Los Angeles
    Movers and Packers in San Jose
    Movers and Packers in Honolulu
    Movers and Packers in Oakland
    Movers and Packers in Denver
    Movers and Packers in Chicago
    Movers and Packers in Buffalo
    Movers and Packers in Boston

    Packers and Movers

    Packers and Movers New York
    Packers and Movers San Francisco
    Packers and Movers California
    Packers and Movers Los Angeles
    Packers and Movers San Jose
    Packers and Movers Honolulu
    Packers and Movers Oakland
    Packers and Movers Denver
    Packers and Movers Chicago
    Packers and Movers Buffalo
    Packers and Movers Boston

    Movers and Packers

    Movers and Packers New York
    Movers and Packers San Francisco
    Movers and Packers California
    Movers and Packers Los Angeles
    Movers and Packers San Jose
    Movers and Packers Honolulu
    Movers and Packers Oakland
    Movers and Packers Denver
    Movers and Packers Chicago
    Movers and Packers Buffalo
    Movers and Packers Boston
    • quickessayhelp says
      I use to have a lot of problems in writing an essay and then submitting several of them on time with least number of mistakes then I got to know about Essay Writers and I got solution for all my problems as I hardly had to write essays myself.

    • New Member says
      We know that the education standards in UK universities are high and students face bottlenecks when they have an essay to write. So when they search for in essay service, we top the list. We perfectly understand what are the students’ needs and demands. So being in this essay writing industry for over a decade, we have evolved ourselves with the changing time and sufficed the necessities of the student. An instant essay typer is one who produces brilliant write-ups for someone else, giving the other person official credit for the concerned article in exchange for a fee. Get flawless essays composed from scratch through our wide range of students essay writing service in UK. From conducting thorough research to composing your essays with skilful hands, our team of scholarly essay experts are sure to work wonders for your grades through our top-notch online essay writing UK.
    • New Member says
      It is always a good experience to went for an outing with all your family members, I am a professional essay writer, whenever I went on an outing with my family I used to memorize all those things and later on I try to write all those in my essay.
    • Marco Williams says
      If you are worried “If anyone can help, guide and support me with my assignments”, then ask our assignment guidance experts available online to help my assignment with their expertise. From assisting you in understanding the basics of assignment writing to helping you overcome tricky sections in the paper, our assignment helpers will meet all your priorities efficiently.

    • Jessica Glover says
      University education standards too high to maintain? puts an end to all your assignment worries. Ranking on the top of the list when you look for online writing service in USA we give you the finest assignment with the guarantee of the best grade fulfilling the norms and educational standards of your university. Hence we also have developed and improved our services as well with the introduction of many new services to provide a complete help and giving the best assignment writing service in USA.
    • New Member says
      I am very enjoyed for this blog. Its an informative topic. It help me very much to solve some problems. Its opportunity are so fantastic and working style so speedy. Bad credit apartments

    Post your comment

    Want to have your say?

    It's quick, easy and 100% free.


    Latest discussions

    Endorsed Events

    • SpringBreakFIJI SpringBreakFIJI

      Secure your motivation for the year by locking in SpringBreak in Fiji, your own exclusive island

    • The Fijian Cup The Fijian Cup

      The Pacific Touch Rugby festival (Fijian Cup and Kava Cup) is underway on November 2, 2017 and with support from Touch Fiji and...

    • Rock Island VANUATU Rock Island VANUATU

      From a fully chartered resort, an incredible line up of Kiwi musicians and Rock legends flown in you'll find nothing close to...

    • Summit FIJI Summit FIJI

      Summit FIJI aims to revolutionise how businesses can approach conferences, corporate retreats and team building weekends