ABOUT THE FOUNDATION:
The Walking Trout Foundation is not a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, or any other kind of corporation. We’re not even sure what a “foundation” is, but it sounds cool (and gives us WTF as our abbreviation). WTF is just 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, and the Walking Trout Foundation was born.
The idea of the Walking Trout Foundation is to share the Sierras with people who might not otherwise think to take themselves camping. And we’re talking about “real” camping… in tents, in the Sierras. No RV camping for us! 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 conquer 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). We arrange private guided tours for our group, and we do our best to eat like royalty.
We do private fundraising to pay for the trips (see link below), so our trips are completely free to the campers. We provide all necessary gear (with the exception of sleeping bags), food and transportation. About the only thing we can’t provide is specialized care, so if the camper needs individual assistance, they are welcome to bring a caregiver (who also enjoys the trip for free). In fact, each participant is welcome to bring one guest, whether it is a spouse, sibling, friend, or poker buddy – they all travel for free. For participants who have a hard time transferring from their wheelchair to the floor, we provide cots for them to sleep in. And for people who can’t transfer from their wheelchair to a regular passenger van, we rent a van with a lift that allows the camper to stay in their wheelchair during the drive. All the campers need to do is show up at our launching site at either San Diego or Ventura with their clothes, sleeping bag and an appetite for adventure.
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.
NEXT YEAR’S TRIP:
The 2018 trip will be taking place from September 8th to 11th and will include four days and three nights. We will be leaving from the Santa Clarita area and camping near the town of Mammoth Lake, in the majestic Eastern Sierras. The trip is limited to 16 campers and is first-come, first-served. At this point, our roster is full, but we are still taking names for the wait list. Click here to get some more specifics about the 2018 trip.
SPONSORSHIP AND DONATIONS:
Donations are accepted at our Crowdrise site: www.gofundme.com/ walking-trout-foundation-2018
Although your donation will not be tax deductible, it certainly will be appreciated and put to good use.
If you want to ask us additional questions about WTF, please contact us at:
Prior trip logs and pictures can be viewed from the images below or links on the left side of this webpage.