Challenge and excitement best describe this incredible California adventure. Experience the variety of the Golden State as you hike in Yosemite’s high country, trek among Redwoods, climb to the spectacular snow-capped summit of Mt. Shasta, whitewater raft the American River, and surf at Half Moon Bay.
Our programs offer a wide variety of activity options. Explore the activities specific to this program below.
Passing over the unmistakable Golden Gate Bridge, your plane will set down in San Francisco. Excited to jumpstart your adventure, you will be greeted by your trip leaders and your equally enthusiastic group. After the entire group assembles, you’ll hit the road towards your first beachside campsite where you’ll set up your tent for the first time, get to know your group by playing games, and go over your itinerary for the next three weeks as a team. That night you’ll enjoy your first meal under the Californian stars and get a good night’s sleep in preparation for the days to come.
Your first activity will be two days of fun and excitement on the waves at Half Moon Bay! The first stop will be at the Half Moon Bay Board Shop to get fitted for wetsuits. The surfing beach is quite conveniently located just a few miles up the road from where the group will be camping. Well protected by northwest winds, the beach here is perfect for beginner level waves. All of the lessons include a surfboard, safety instruction, the practice of proper surf etiquette, hands-on instruction, and a lot of fun! Working with skilled surfing instructors, you’ll spend the next couple of days quickly learning the basics. You’ll be hanging ten on the famous California surf within a couple of hours.
Next up will be a trip to Yosemite National Park! Housing such famous mountain peaks as El Capitan, Sentinel Dome and Half Dome, which each rise thousands of feet above the valley floor, Yosemite is a national treasure and your visit here will be something to remember. You’ll immerse yourself in a world of Giant Sequoias and unparalleled natural beauty. It will be incredible for you and your group to venture off the main paths to the seldom explored heart of the Yosemite Valley. A day hike will warm up your legs and take you from thriving alpine meadows to glassy emerald lakes and valley fields of mountain wildflowers. There are few other places where you can see such diverse landscapes while traveling by foot alone. Your time spent in the Yosemite wilderness will surely set a positive tone for the rest of your trip, and you’ll be amazed at the noticeable transition you and your fellow trip mates have made from a group of students to an inseparable team.
After Yosemite, you’ll take to the whitewater of the thrilling American River. Professional guides will teach you all you need to know in order to conquer these class III rapids. Your guides will also share tales from the Gold Rush days as you stop for lunch along the riverbank.
On your way through California’s Central Valley, you and your group will be sure to take advantage of the numerous roadside farmer’s stands to pick up some freshly harvested Californian vegetables. You’ll take a day to prepare for your next excursion – backpacking through California’s Trinity Alps. Once you’ve finished grocery shopping, learning to properly pack your backpack, and dividing up the group gear evenly, you’ll hang out at your front country campground for the night and relax with some frisbee golf and a refreshing swim in the lake.
Despite its being the second largest wilderness area in the state, the Trinity Alps are one of California’s best kept secrets. This mysterious alpine paradise is full of granite spires, azure lakes, snow fields, and flower-filled meadows. As you backpack through these magical trails with your group, you will increase your strength and refine your backcountry skills. You’ll practice route finding and navigation, food prep, Leave No Trace principles, and leadership skills as you prepare for your group’s upcoming climb of one of the most impressive peaks in the Coastal Range.
Following your adventure through the Trinity Alps, you will set your sights north to the culminating activity of your High Sierra adventure – Mt. Shasta. You will spend a day preparing for your climb and gathering the specialized gear you will need for your summit attempt. To further compliment your backcountry skills, you’ll spend two days in mountaineering school prior to your summit attempt. You’ll learn to use ice axes and crampons and how to travel in a rope team. Then finally, you’ll attempt to scale this impressive 14,179 foot spire. Climbing and working as a team, you will quickly see how naturally everything you’ve learned throughout your trip comes into play. Your summit experience will be both a team victory and a personal triumph.
As you make your way south back towards the Bay Area, a visit to Muir Woods National Monument will allow you to experience the towering old-growth redwood trees (Sequoia sempervirens). For your final two days together, you’ll rejoin civilization. You will have a day to visit the Golden Gate Bridge and see gorgeous views of the city from afar along this recreation area’s many hiking trails. Lastly, when your days together have drawn to a close, you’ll gather one last time to enjoy a celebratory feast in the traditional WA end of summer banquet. You will part ways the next morning full of memories of new experiences and the reassurance that you’ll keep in touch with so many of the special individuals who now seem like family.
Our group was tight-knit and we had a whole lot of life-changing experiences. It was amazing!
Jacob, 2019 High Sierra Student
Trip Price Includes
- Group gear
- Personal gear and clothing
- Airfare to and form the trip start and end