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Morgan Baker

Morgan Baker

NATURALIST GUIDE

Why did you come to Yosemite?

My first season in Yosemite I spent as an intern for Yosemite National Park, talking to visitors about Giant Sequoia Trees and working in the Ranger Station. I loved it so much that I have come back for two more seasons now! Yosemite also inspired me to study geology in college and I keep coming back for those glacial troughs and polished granodiorites!

What are your hobbies?

I love alpine skiing, hiking, backpacking, looking at rocks! 

Favorite hike/trail here in Yosemite?

The Young Lakes Trail up in Yosemite’s High Country is one my favorites because it was my first ever solo backpacking trip. That hike proved to me that I was a capable outdoorswoman even by myself during my first season in the park. Along the way it travels through beautiful alpine meadows, and dense forests, and it ends in a magical chain of three lakes. 

What’s your craziest hiking story? 

I spent two weeks backpacking in the Adirondacks in New York a few years ago. It was raining and cold for most of the trip and the trails were so wet it was like walking up creeks. One day on the trail I developed moderate (but not severe) hypothermia and I got a little crazy for a bit. I was shivering uncontrollably and a little loopy.  After some hot soup and quality time in my zero degree sleeping bag, I was back to normal!

Tell us about your go-to favorite hiking meal/trail snack? 

I love dried fruit like mangos and apples for trail snacks. My go-to backpacking dinner is pesto tortellini because it’s super easy to make in a camping stove!

What is your dream vacation? 

I would love to backpack through Iceland or Norway because they have amazing views and a lot of cool rocks!

 

Lori Zocklein

Lori Zocklein

Naturalist Guide

Why did you come to Yosemite?

LZ:  I came to Yosemite in May 2016.

What are your hobbies?

LZ: I love hiking, woodworking, cooking and playing with my cat Cheeseburger.

What is your favorite hike/trail in Yosemite?

LZ: I love hiking on the abandoned Big Oak Flat Stagecoach Road after a big snowstorm.

Tell us your craziest hiking story.

LZ: I was hiking to Wapama Falls at Hetch Hetchy and a black bear walked out of the bushes onto the trail about 5 ft in front of me. I started walking backward slowly while making eye contact and talking to the bear in a calm voice saying “hey bear”. After about 5 minutes of this, the bear lost interest and wandered back into the forest. It was terrifying.

What's your favorite hiking meal or trail snack?

LZ: Blueberry banana pancakes with honey peanut butter spread in the middle, eaten like a sandwich.

And what is your dream vacation?

LZ: Spending 10 days with only my favorite people in the Wilderness hiking, swimming, and cooking good food.

Brittany “Bee” Hopper

Brittany “Bee” Hopper

Naturalist Guide

Why did you come to Yosemite?

BH: I came to Yosemite to pursue an opportunity to work outdoors with others who are motivated to encourage people from all parts of life to try new things as well explore all the different parts of Yosemite National Park has to offer!

What are your hobbies?

BH: Well, this is a tough question since I love to constantly try new things, but a few of my most favorite hobbies would include jiu-jitsu, climbing, backpacking, running, and making others laugh!

What is your favorite hike/trail in Yosemite?

BH: My favorite hike in Yosemite would have to be Mirror Lake, but I am looking forward to checking off my list of new hikes to try in Yosemite!

Tell us your craziest hiking story.

BH: During my time as an undergrad student, I joined an Outdoor Adventure Program, to which would lead me to sign up for my first ever backpacking trip! Going into the start of the second day on the trip my friend, Haley, and I really had to go use the bathroom, which is not always the easiest to find while in the woods.

Haley went off to find a spot, I decided to stay on the trail so she would be able to spot me while making her way back so she would not get lost. As I was waiting for her, I was in awe of the quietness of the morning and the way the wind would rustle the fall leaves, but then I suddenly noticed a large black object moving through the woods in front of me, which I quickly realized was a black bear!

I start waving my hands at Haley and point towards the bear like crazy. I also attempted to yell her name quietly, since at the time I thought loud noises would attract the bear. Haley has no idea what I am trying to say to her and finally starts to hike back towards me. Thankfully, as she is making her way back, I also notice that the bear starts to move in the opposite direction of where we are. I finally explain to her why I was waving, and she could barely believe it!

All of this was a crazy way to start off the second day into my first ever backpacking trip, but it is also the thrill of this first trip that has stuck to me today and has lead me to pursue a life filled with adventures!

What's your favorite hiking meal or trail snack?

BH: My favorite go-to hiking meal is hands down and will forever be pita pizzas! All you need is a slice of pita bread, pepperoni, mozzarella cheese, and pizza sauce. They are super easy to make for a lunch break or a quick snack if you are feeling risky.

And what is your dream vacation?

BH: I love this question! My Dream vacation would be between taking a backpacking trip through Altai Tavan Bogd National Park in Mongolia, or traveling through South Africa!

Michelle “Meesh” Ramos

Michelle “Meesh” Ramos

Naturalist Guide

Why did you come to Yosemite?

MR:  For the past few years I’ve worked in sleep away camps and after-school programs in Florida. In the summer of 2018, I wanted to challenge myself, and experience something new. So I flew to the mountains! And I’m not quite ready to leave!

What are your hobbies?

MR: I truly enjoy the arts. Whether it's drawing, painting, crafting, singing, and more. Something that I continue to fall in love with more and more is hiking and camping. Especially since being in Yosemite it’s quickly growing into an obsession!

What is your favorite hike/trail in Yosemite?

MR: A very tough question! So I will be choosing two, haha! Glen Aulin has a special place in my heart. It was my first backpacking experience in Yosemite and it did not disappoint! I was accompanied by my good friend, the adventure queen Maure Buckley! My second is Clouds Rest. The diversity in plant life and beautiful scenery was breathtaking! I’d like to do it again and catch the sunrise!

Tell us your craziest hiking story.

MR: What immediately comes to mind is my hike “almost” to the top of El Capitan. My boyfriend and I had been planning to hike to the top of El Cap for weeks and we were hoping to do this hike before he had to go back to Michigan for school. Luckily the weather had cleared up and so we took the opportunity! The hike began pretty well! The weather was perfect, we were super excited and having a blast! About 2 hours in I began to feel a bit sick but I didn’t say anything. As we got higher in elevation we began to see snow, which for me was pretty exciting since I’m from Florida and I never really have had the chance to experience it. We continued on and the snow is getting deeper and deeper, but we could still see the trail. This hike, by the way, was super tough for me! But, my boyfriend, Lance did a great job of motivating me. After hiking for hours we are sinking to our thighs in the snow we can’t tell where the trail is. We check the map on our phone and it seems that we were going the right way but we weren't too confident. It dawns on me that we are not going to be able to finish the hike, it was starting to get dark, our phones are dying, and it’s starting to get really cold. I was so disappointed I start crying haha! As we hike down altitude sickness hits me! I was soooooo embarrassed! I sickly made my way down the mountain with Lance who was so caring during this whole thing. Finally were about a mile from the car and we look up. The sky is shining with stars, it was unforgettable. We made a deal to try it again this summer. I can’t wait!

What's your favorite hiking meal or trail snack?

MR: My favorite trail snack is definitely Guac squeeze packets accompanied with crackers, cheese, and salami! My meal is hands down rotisserie chicken with alfredo pasta and avocado! Delicious!

And what is your dream vacation?

MR: My dream vacation would be to head to Chile and do some hiking and camping in Torres Del Paine National Park! There is an animal called a Guanaco that I really want to see!

Jesse McCandless

Jesse McCandless

Naturalist Guide


Why did you come to Yosemite?

JM:  Yosemite is not only home to some of the best rock climbing and hiking in the world, but also home to some of the most breathtaking views in the world. How could I resist coming to a place like this?

What are your hobbies?

JM: I love to play the guitar, and have for 13 years. I enjoy working on cars, too. I spend my time outside hiking and cycling, both on and off road. When the snow falls, I snowshoe!

What is your favorite hike/trail in Yosemite?

JM: So far I haven’t found a more enjoyable all-around hike than the Dewey Point on the South Rim. At about 9 miles, it’s challenging enough to make the gorgeous view from the top feel extremely satisfying. The view of the valley below is awe inspiring.

Tell us your craziest hiking story.

JM: The first time I went backpacking, my friend Greg and I did very little planning and just went out. We were hiking on 600 acres of wooded property owned by the summer camp we worked for in Kentucky. It was mid Spring, and halfway into the hike, it started to pour. This is when I found out my “rain jacket” was actually a windbreaker. I got soaked, but we pushed on. The rain let up long enough for us to set up camp, make a little fire, and make some food, but shortly after it came down hard again. We got in our tents and tried to settle in for a long night, but at 2 AM, after no sleep and hearing the wind and rain get significantly worse, we decided to hike out. We made the camp lodge early in the morning, hung our wet gear up everywhere, started a big fire, and slept in the big chairs. When the receptionist for the camp found us the next morning, she asked what we’d been doing, and when we told her she nearly exploded in a mixture of anger and fear. “It wasn’t just bad weather last night, there was a tornado warning until 6 AM!”

The lesson? Check the weather.

What's your favorite hiking meal or trail snack?

JM: For overnight outings, I really love getting creative with Ramen noodles. They’re cheap, lightweight, and diverse. While not the healthiest option day-to-day, they’re great when you’re exercising heavily and losing salts to heat and the sun. Plus, they taste great!

And what is your dream vacation?

JM: I dream of a 3-year, Around-The-World cycling trip. Unsupported, and with not much of an idea of where to go outside of a general route. I recently rode my bicycle from Florida to California, and I’m itching for a longer and more adventurous trip.

Lance Allen

Lance Allen

Naturalist Guide


Adventure is Lance's middle name. After a quick trip to the area, Lance knew he needed to find a way to spend more time in Yosemite and experience everything the park had to offer.

Why did you come to Yosemite?

LA: I visited Yosemite a few years ago and quickly realized that I would need more time to experience all that the park has to offer. I moved out here to continue to explore this incredible place.

What are your hobbies?

LA: I enjoy mountain biking, skiing, backpacking, and longboarding. I recently picked up a camera and would love to get into photography.

What is your favorite hike/trail in Yosemite?

LA: My favorite hike would have to be the Cathedral Lakes trail. It's an easy way to see some of the most breathtaking views of the high country.

Tell us your craziest hiking story.

LA: Last summer, I visited Alaska with a few buddies. We hiked up a mountain right outside of Anchorage called Mt. O'Malley. After a few hours of hiking and a scramble up a ridge, we made it to the summit. Just as we started to relax, it started pouring. We decided it was too dangerous to climb back down the ridge, so we opted for sliding down the scree slope. The slippery rock and sharp decline let to a couple close calls. We all ended up making it to the bottom and were happy to be off the mountain. A bit sketchy for sure-- but it is a hike that I will never forget.

What's your favorite hiking meal or trail snack?

LA: My favorite trail food is a classic PB&J sandwich.

And what is your dream vacation?

LA: My dream vacation would be a backpacking trip to Western China. China is one of my favorite places on Earth and is home to some of the largest peaks in the world.

Kiana “Ki” Newman

Kiana “Ki” Newman

Naturalist Guide


Although Ki has a true affinity for water, she is truly at home in the mountains. You'll find her running up the highest peaks on her time off and absorbing everything Yosemite has to offer.

Why did you come to Yosemite?

KN: I came to work at Yosemite because after moving from Hawaii to Malibu to study at Pepperdine University, I fell in love with mountains too. I got to visit Yosemite a few time working as an Outdoor Recreation Guide for my school and absolutely fell in love with it.  

What are your hobbies?

KN: My hobbies include surfing, hiking, backpacking, trail running, and long-distance running, rock climbing, yoga, painting, eating and meeting new people!

What is your favorite hike/trail in Yosemite?

KN: My favorite trail in Yosemite is probably the classic hike up the Mist Trail to the top of Vernal and Nevada Falls!

Tell us your craziest hiking story.

KN: My craziest hiking story is when I hiked 27.5 km to Trolltunga in Norway in 4 feet of snow. There were only 6 other people on the trail and there were moments where we had to dig trenches to walk in on the side of the mountain because of how steep and unstable the mountain got. We all had snowshoes, ski poles and lost of chocolate to share. We stopped frequently to take off layers when it got too hot on the uphill segments and then to put them back on when it got blistery and snowy. There were times when I trailed behind the group just to hear nothing but the snow flurries and soft ringing of pure silence; it felt like I was truly in the heart of the Norwegian wilderness. I remember getting to the top and standing on the "Troll's Tongue," which is the outjutting piece of rock from the cliff that acted as a perch over the snow-glazed mountain range and icy fjord below it. I've never felt more alive and free!

What's your favorite hiking meal or trail snack?

KN: Favorite hiking food is simply chocolate and trail mix, with any kind of edible plants I find on the trails along the way!

And what is your dream vacation?

KN: My dream vacation is any place that I haven't been before; I'm always seeking a new adventure!

Maggie Bean

Maggie Bean

Naturalist Guide


Yosemite has truly been a transformative place for Maggie. After her first season in the area, Maggie knew she needed to come back and share with our guests what makes Yosemite so special.

Why did you come to Yosemite?

MB: Yosemite is the type of natural wonder that enriches your spirit. I initially came here in May 2017 to improve my mental, physical and spiritual well-being. I found out quickly that Yosemite always gives you exactly what you need. Afterall wilderness makes you better.

What are your hobbies?

MB: In addition to guiding at the Evergreen Lodge, I've been a professional glass artist for almost 7 years. Although this is one of my occupations, I still highly consider it to be a form of release and meditation. I also love to play volleyball, whenever I get the chance.

What is your favorite hike/trail in Yosemite?

MB: There are endless trails in Yosemite that I could choose to be my favorite, but the most memorable one I did here was the hike to Cloud's Rest. It was the most physically demanding, but also the most rewarding. The Carlon Falls Trail is my go-to after work quick trail, and could easily be considered another favorite. And then of course, outside of Yosemite my favorite trail is The Subway in Zion National Park.

Tell us your craziest hiking story.

MB: Hiking to the top of Cloud's Rest was pretty 'adventurous'. After hours of an exhausting climb to the top, my two best girlfriends and I found ourselves face to face with a mountain lion right before the summit. Fortunately, it was quickly scared away from our group. As we continued to approach the summit we noticed a huge lightning storm forming above us and it quickly became a race against the clock. We soaked in the views from the top and saw a couple bolts of lightning strike less than 10 miles so we decided to run down as calmly as we could. Shortly after starting our descent, it started hailing on us and we took cover under a tree. Our body temperatures were getting low, so we had to keep moving. We had no choice but to keep moving forward, and we eventually made it down to our car at the trailhead. And just when we thought our hike couldn't get more eventful, we found ourselves standing in awe of the brightest rainbow we've ever witnessed at the trailhead. That was truly a great and unforgettable day.

What is your favorite hiking meal or food? 

MB: Anything wrapped in a tortilla. Tortillas are hands down my favorite food.

Tell us about your dream vacation.

MB: I've always wanted to go to Hawaii. Any tropical place with big mountains sounds like a dream.

Kevin Loftin

Kevin Loftin

Naturalist Guide & Recreation Coordinator


Although Kevin originally hails from the East Coast, he has instantly become a Sierra Nevada expert. Not sure where to start your Yosemite adventures? Drop by the Recreation Desk and Kevin will help you plan out the perfect day in Yosemite.

Why did you come to Yosemite?

KL: To work at the Evergreen Lodge and explore everything Yosemite National Park has to offer.

What are your hobbies?

KL: I cannot get enough backpacking, paddling, and cooking. The only thing that tops them is when you combine them all together.

What is your favorite hike/trail in Yosemite?

KL: Rancheria Falls. Not only is it in Hetch Hetchy right down the road from the Evergreen, but the trail being wrapped around the reservoir also makes for stunning views the entire hike.

Tell us your craziest hiking story.

KL: Backpacking along the North Carolina Coast, I stopped to help a stranded sea turtle. I made camp after dark, only to realize in the morning that I had slept in a swamp and woke up to over 100 mosquito bites.

What's your favorite hiking meal or trail snack?

KL: Homemade GORP. That's trail mix, for those who don't know.

And what is your dream vacation?

KL: I would love to spend a year paddling the lengths of rivers around the world.

Santino “Tino” Thornton

Santino “Tino” Thornton

Naturalist Guide


Tino joins us from the East Coast but has instantly dialed into the Yosemite adventure mode. Catch Tino as he explores Yosemite and adds to the list of peaks he has sumitted.

Why did you come to Yosemite?

ST: To have the chance to experience the beautiful landscape along with all of the amazing outdoor activities that Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada have to offer. 

What are your hobbies?

ST: I love listening and playing music. I also love playing soccer and I'm starting to get into bouldering.

What is your favorite hike/trail in Yosemite?

ST: My favorite hike so far is the Upper Yosemite Falls Trail.

Tell us your craziest hiking story.

ST: My craziest hiking story happened in North Carolina. I hiked 4 hours up steep slopes. I made it to the top of the mountain with 360-degree views. After lunch I began to hike down, it wasn't until two hours into the trek down did I realize I had dropped my phone somewhere. I ran back to the top and looked everywhere but couldn't find it. I had to then hike down in the dark. A few days later, someone turned my phone into a business that was located close by. Luckily they emailed me and I was able to pick it up.

What'ss your favorite hiking meal or trail snack?

ST: My favorite hiking meal is a PB & Jam with Trail Mix and Fruit.

And what is your dream vacation?

ST: My dream vacation would be to rent a camper van and travel across all of New Zealand. I would camp, raft, canoe and climb where ever possible.

Katherine “Katie” Bode

Katherine “Katie” Bode

Naturalist Guide

Why did you come to Yosemite?

KB: I came to Yosemite to explore one of America’s coolest national parks. I am passionate about sharing outdoor experiences with others.

What are your hobbies?

KB: I love going skiing. I also enjoy hiking, backpacking, mountaineering, and looking for wildflowers.

What is your favorite hike/trail in Yosemite?

KB: Although I have only been here for a few weeks, I really enjoyed the Mist Trail. It was a fun trail that offered challenges, great views, and wonderful waterfalls. I am excited to explore the high country and the park this summer!

Tell us your craziest hiking story.

KB: One time whilst hiking through a canyon in Moab, Utah, we woke up early to have a pancake cook-off. We had been hiking for seven days. We woke up at 5am to cook pancakes. My group had saved our M&Ms from our trailmix to put into our pancakes. Although we didn’t officially “win” the challenge we did eat our pancakes while watching the sunrise.

Whats your favorite hiking meal or trail snack?

KB: My favorite back country meal is trail tacos, with hot sauce!

And what is your dream vacation?

KB: My dream vacation is to go to Alaska and explore some pristine wilderness.

Bryann “Bry” Hoffman

Bryann “Bry” Hoffman

Evergreen Lodge Recreation Manager


With an extreme passion for the outdoors and epic adventures, it's no surprise that Bry has found herself in Yosemite. With a degree in Adventure Education and a thirst for adventure, you can find Bry exploring Yosemite if she's not at work helping you make the most of your Yosemite experience.

Why did you come to Yosemite?

BH: I came to Yosemite to pursue my dream career in the field of Adventure Education. I currently hold a Bachelors of Science in Recreation/Sports Management and a masters degree in Adventure Education. So I came to Yosemite to work and play in a magical and inspiring outdoor playground.

What are your hobbies?

BH: My hobbies include hiking, snowboarding, backpacking, softball, basketball, trail running, hiking with my dog Jake, hanging with my friends, fitness, and living a well balanced healthy lifestyle. Basically, if it involves moving I'll probably enjoy it.

What is your favorite hike/trail in Yosemite?

BH: My favorite hike in Yosemite thus far was from the valley floor to Clouds Rest. This hike pushed me more mentally than physically and I did it in one day. It provided me the opportunity to see the valley from a whole different perspective.  And another trail I can't get enough of is the Four-Mile Trail-- it's perfect for trail-running!

Tell us your craziest hiking story.

BH: During graduate school at Prescott College, we did a canoe trip down the Black Canyon, in Lake Mead National Recreation Area. When we arrived at our sleeping destination a couple of the Teaching Assistants decided to go on a hike, and of course, I was game. While hiking we stumbled across a ladder. We went up the ladder to find a hot spring pool in a side canyon. The canyon walls were about 6-9 feet apart filled with highly mineralized water at about 105 degrees. We soaked together in the hot springs-- a pleasant surprise after a long canoe trip down the Black Canyon. We shared many great stories, that will last a lifetime. I will never forget the beauty of that day and the feeling I felt in my heart.

What's your favorite hiking meal or trail snack?

BH: I have to go with a vegetable green curry made with my pocket rocket and my favorite hiking snack would have to be an English muffin with coconut oil, peanut butter and a bit of honey sandwich.

And what is your dream vacation?

BH: My dream vacation would be snowboarding all through the Swiss Alps.