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This all new backpacking and rafting experience offers youth of all genders the opportunity to explore the outdoors and themselves in a challenging and fun way. Participants will spend two magical weeks of their summer backpacking in the wilderness of the High Sierra and getting whitewater rafting experience on Class II and III rapids. The group will use their outdoor campground as a launch pad for explorations all over the foothills and alpine environments of Northern California, and will get immersed in the world-renowned flora, fauna, and sunsets that the Sierra has to offer.
The trip begins with a welcoming introduction as we meet our teammates and say goodbye to our friends and families. We will learn new names, play ice breaker activities, and drive to a high and low challenge ropes course to get to know our fellow teammates. We will spend the night camping in the San Francisco area, and the next morning we will jump in a van and drive to the alpine lakes and mountain meadows of the High Sierra. In the evenings we will hold our first nightly council circle where we enjoy the process of debriefing our day, sharing about ourselves, and learning about each other.
During our first week together, we will challenge ourselves mentally and physically as we climb the breathtaking High Sierra terrain. We will have professional guides teach us about how to stay safe in the wilderness, set up tents and navigate the landscape with a map and compass. We will learn the art of backcountry cooking, bear can usage, and river crossings. These essential life skills will be paired with lessons on: plants and animals that live in the alpine environment; learning to appreciate the beauty and stillness of the natural world, and leadership–as each participant is given the opportunity to step-up and become group leader for the day.
After experiencing a week in the backcountry, we will return to the front country, where we will spend a week on the most rafted river west of the Mississippi. We will spend our first day easing into Class II rapids, learning the basics of river hydrology, eddies, and wave trains. The next few days we will enjoy paddle rafting Class II and III sections of river, using oar boats, and even inflatable kayaks. Each day will be spent entirely along the river – paddling around 11 miles each day and sleeping by the babbling brook at night. Students will also explore the history of the area while visiting the town of Coloma – the birthplace of the California Gold Rush. The group will see the site where gold was first discovered, and maybe even partake in some gold panning themselves. During the evenings we will cook together in the outdoor kitchen while jamming to music and laughing with our newly found best friends.
Graduation Day! This is a potluck-style gathering in San Francisco with our friends and families. We invite our supporters to join with us as we watch a slideshow of our adventure while sharing the highlights, stories, and laughter of our journey one last time before departing ways.