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Location: Mineral King, Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park

Date: July 16-20, 2021

The Sierra Nevada range is home to hundreds of cave systems, including 225 in the southern Sierra alone. Hundreds of thousands of years ago, rainwater seeped through pores and cracks in the limestone, journeying through plant matter, soil, and stone. On its way, it accumulated carbon dioxide turning into a weak acidic solution. As it pooled deep in the water table, the acid slowly excavated cavities and passageways under the rock, caverns that later drained of liquid as the water table naturally sank.


On this trip, we will explore the Mineral King area, known for several different cave systems. In the White Chief area specifically, many openings to the cave system are visible and while we might peer in the door so to speak, we will not enter. Instead we will walk considering the potential of these unseen and unexplored spaces underneath. If we normally encounter mountains as solid accumulations of matter pushed up against itself to protrude upward, how does our experience change if we walk through them with a conscious attention to the porous spaces, the negative forms of mountains that cushion that perceived solidity?

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^ post-trip artifact by Gabriel Slavitt

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