All our backpacking treks include a diversity of tasty meals packed full of critical proteins, fats and some carbohydrates. We will carry foods that are light, and which travel well in the backcountry. Given its environmental convictions, Optimize Trek when at all possible, purchases organic, Non-GMO, sustainably-sourced, healthy foods. We happily accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee.
Sleeping during Optimize Trek backpacking trips is done in premier 2-person backcountry tents. Top-of-the-line self-inflating sleeping pads, inflatable pillows, and synthetic-fill sleeping bags (professionally laundered after every trip) are also provided. If a solo tent is preferred, this can be accommodated for an extra fee.
Sleeping arrangements during the COVID pandemic: In an effort to minimize exposure to COVID and its variants, Optimize Trek only accepts persons who have been fully vaccinated to join its treks. We also actively follow national, state and local area guidelines. If there is a need to practice rigorous social distancing due to a variant, Optimize Trek will provide one tent per person or per household. This may increase the cost of the trek and participants will be responsible for these increased costs (both for hotel and tent lodging).
To foster each trek’s expressed goal of searching for something deeper within and without, Optimize Trek seeks to minimize the distraction of technology while in the backcountry. Trekkers are encouraged to leave their cell phones behind to prevent the numerous distractions of home. If required to carry into the backcountry, cell phones must remain in Airplane Mode.
Guides will carry an inReach communication device which will provide twice daily text updates to participants’ key persons. This satellite device can receive emergency messages, with two-way communication capabilities, should they need to be sent to trekkers in the field. The guide will carry their cell phone (in Airplane Mode the duration of the trip) and GoPro for picture and video taking. Trekkers are welcome to bring their own digital camera if desired but are welcome to borrow the guide’s unit(s) anytime desired.
Yosemite National Park supports more than 400 species of vertebrates including fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. The high diversity of species is the result of diverse habitats in Yosemite that are largely intact and the excellent protection of Park Managers.
Among the 90 mammal species in Yosemite, black bears are VERY well-managed by park staff. Optimize Trek follows ALL backcountry wildlife safety guidelines and uses bear canisters and lockers. Additionally, we keep safe distances from all wildlife, carry alert whistles, and honor the Leave No Trace approach to the wilderness and all its inhabitants.
While Optimize Trek Guides love the outdoors, topography, and geology of wild spaces, their expertise is not in the flora and fauna. Guides will carry maps and GPS units to help us identify peaks and terrain together.
Optimize Trek’s primary “guiding” focus will be on integrated life: physical, mental, social-emotional, and spiritual health. Come ready to sojourn together through the beauty of the backcountry, while engaging with self & your fellow trekkers. Each of us has life lessons, goals, and insights from which we can all learn and grow.
While in the backcountry, no alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, or other recreational drugs of any kind are permitted. We will be strenuously exercising each day and need all our faculties to be fully engaged to ensure both safety and awareness. In addition, we will be on Federal lands during this trek and the rules and regulations associated with Optimize Trek’s Commercial Use Permit, and the liability insurance coverage required, prohibit consumption of these substances.
We actively follow national, state and local area guidelines. It is clear that the best way we can protect our guides and clients from the risk of the novel coronavirus is by requiring COVID-19 vaccines. This is based on the wide availability and efficacy of vaccines in the United States, the most recent changes to CDC guidance, the increased transmissibility of the Delta Variant, and the potential for new variants to emerge. We are therefore implementing a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for our treks. Participants must provide official proof of vaccination ten days in advance of the scheduled trip date (physical vaccination card, electronic copy, or attestation).
During trips, we require clients to bring face masks and hand sanitizer with them. Mandatory face mask usage will be based on CDC, National Park System, California Department of Health, and County Health Department guidance.
If there is a need to practice rigorous social distancing due to a variant, Optimize Trek will provide one tent per person or per household. This may increase the cost of the trek and participants will be responsible for these increased costs (both for hotel and tent lodging).
If you need to cancel, for any reason, please consult Optimize Trek’s Cancellation Policy (provided along with the trek application). We strongly recommend the purchase of travel insurance to cover any non-refundable fees in the event you need to cancel your trek. Three insurance provider options are: www.yonder.com ; www.travelguard.com ; or www.worldnomads.com
Our scheduled treks are priced to run on a full, or near full basis. If there are insufficient registrants, we will give you the option of paying an additional surcharge to enable it to run. We have found that most participants would rather do this than have the trek cancelled. We will discuss this with you should the situation arise.
Optimize Trek accepts personal checks for payment, mailed to the address on our Contact Page. You can also pay via Venmo (@optimizetrek).
The price of our treks assumes each individual will have their own bed in a shared, two, person room (usually Wawona Hotel, Yosemite Valley Lodge or Tenaya Lodge outside the park). If you would prefer your own private room, Optimize Trek will do everything it can to secure lodging for an additional administrative fee of $100. If a specific lodge is preferred (ex: The Ahwahnee), we will do our best to secure lodging for the client and will bill the client for the extra costs incurred. Advanced notice is essential for these types of requests.
Please note that lodging on the Valley Floor is very challenging to get, and at highly visited times a private room may need to be secured at a separate location inside or outside the park. We always do our best to secure lodging in the same hotel for all trip participants. Where this isn’t possible, we ask for flexibility and have our client’s rendezvous for the orientation meeting at the Guide’s hotel.
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