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This 22-day sea to source course offers teenagers from diverse backgrounds a thrilling and educational journey along some of the most scenic landscapes on the West Coast. This trip includes a ropes course, sea kayaking on the stunning Tomales Bay, backpacking through the iconic mountains of Northern California, whitewater rafting on the Wild & Scenic Rogue River in Oregon, and road tripping home through the Coastal Redwoods. Students will learn how watersheds link the mountains to the sea and connect the wilderness to our homes. Participants gain outdoor skills, become environmental stewards and discover the leader within them all.
The trip begins with a welcoming introduction as we join our teammates in San Francisco. We will load our gear into large vans and begin our trip with a day on an adventure ropes course where we challenge ourselves and learn to work together as an inclusive team. Each student will have the opportunity to challenge themselves as they see comfortable with a wide variety of low ropes elements, high ropes challenges, and partner/team obstacles. The group will then drive up to Heart’s Desire Beach in Inverness to camp for the first night. In the evening we hold our first nightly council circle where we enjoy the process of debriefing our day, sharing of ourselves, and learning about others.
We spend our first few days bonding with our new teammates, and learning the technical skills of sea kayaking. We will become experts in what to wear on the water, how to paddle correctly, and even practice capsizing and rescuing other boaters. Once we are comfortable in our kayaks, we will pack them with all the gear, food, and water that we need for 4 days and we will embark on our Tomales Bay journey. We will spend each day kayaking to exciting new beaches, learning about wildlife, and laughing with new friends. Experienced guides will teach you about the history of the area, the wildlife that calls Tomales Bay home, and help you become strong and competent sea kayakers. You will live simply and close to nature, needing only what you pack into a dry bag and sleeping on beaches with the sound of crashing water singing you to sleep each night.
We leave the Tomales Bay estuary and drive north to the iconic Castle Crags area for a week of expedition backpacking. The challenge of backpacking and carrying only our essential needs gives us opportunities to gain confidence, feel empowered, and to process our experiences. We will take time to connect to the nature around us and reflect on our relationships with each other and the earth. Each night we will participate in an evening council, which will deepen our awareness of ourselves and each other, all while creating laughter and building positive relationships with our group cohort.
The last week of the trip will be spent in southern Oregon, where we will travel to the Rogue River, one of the first rivers to become protected in 1968. There we will spend 5 days on the water – basking in the sun, exploring beaches and side canyons, and learning all about white water rafting skills. Instructors train the group to navigate rapids and students take turns leading each other down Class I-II sections of the river. The more challenging Class III sections will be safely run by knowledgeable and experienced guides. Every night we will sleep under the magnificence of the Milky Way Galaxy.
Road Trip Home & Graduation
We then prepare to end our journey together and celebrate in style. The group will split the drive back to San Francisco into two days to allow time for exploring coastal Redwoods and closing ceremonies. Once we get back into San Francisco we will have a potluck graduation ceremony with our families and friends while sharing the highlights of our journey together.