California Explorer

California Explorer

Explorer Adventure - Grades 7-9

Backpack the lofty peaks of the Sierra Nevadas, raft thrilling Class III whitewater on the American River, trek along a wilderness coastline, paddle rolling waves in an inflatable kayak, surf the California Coast, paddle Monterey Bay in a sea kayak, and hike among the towering Redwoods in a paradise few people ever experience.

21 Days

$4,795

  • June 20th - July 10th
  • July 13th - August 2nd
  • San Francisco, CA

Day 1-2

Soaring into the fantastic San Francisco Bay Area, you’ll know your adventure has begun when you spot the famous Golden Gate Bridge in the distance. As you get off your plane and enter the airport, you’ll have no trouble spotting your new trip leaders – they’ll be just as excited as you are! While gathering your bags, you’ll also meet your new trip mates, all of whom are kids your age with the same passion for the outdoors and adventure. It’s a guaranteed recipe for an amazing summer experience. Once you’re all together, you’ll travel just a short distance to your first campsite.

Following your compass (or the GPS, more likely) north, you’ll travel over the Golden Gate Bridge and hop on the famous, scenic, coastal Highway 1. Along the way, you’ll have the perfect opportunity to learn about what makes this picturesque coastal region so unique. From the tiny little fishing towns, to the history of the Miwok Indians, to the dairy industry of the area, you’ll come to find that this region moves at a different pace than the rest of the state does. Once you and your group reach camp, you’ll stop, hike around a little bit, have a picnic lunch, and maybe start a pick-up game of frisbee, all the while getting to know the people you are going to befriend over the coming weeks. The next day, you’ll explore the Golden Gate Recreation Area.

Day 3-8

You will quickly find that “The Lost Coast” of California is a rather appropriate name, as it seems to be a place that time has nearly forgotten. The King Range, an imposing wall of mountains towering 4,000 feet above the black sand beaches, has helped keep this unusual environment private and lost from view. Over the next several days, you’ll spend your time backpacking along the shoreline past harbor seals and tide pools overflowing with starfish and crabs. You may even spot a surfer or two who has hiked to the surf in order to truly earn his or her waves for the day. At night you’ll enjoy your backcountry dinner and sleep under the Pacific Coast stars, listening to the gentle waves and bonding even more with your group over this incredible experience.

Day 9

The next day, you’ll plunge through the whitewater rapids of the American River! Your group will be joined by professional rafting guides who will instruct you on proper paddling techniques, swift-water safety, and also tell you some of the intriguing Gold Rush-era history that surrounds this river. 

Day 10-15

For the next several days, you’ll trek through the Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park. Here you’ll get to learn and practice fundamental backcountry travel skills as you hike past granite domes, sprawling meadows, and twisting alpine streams. Although Yosemite is a frequently visited park, you and your group will reward yourselves with solitude by taking the path less traveled. Once you leave the trailhead behind, you’ll see virtually no one – the high alpine lakes, incredible vistas, and star scattered skies will be left just for you!

Day 16-17

Following your time in Yosemite, you and your group will be treated to showers and laundry, before making your way back to the Pacific Coast. You’ll take advantage of the azure waters off the coast of Monterey Bay. This beautiful environment is home to an abundance of marine mammals, including sea otters, harbor seals, and bottlenose dolphins. It also lies on the migratory path of several species of whale. Because of the rich diversity of fauna in the bay, you’ll take the opportunity to visit the renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium, where you’ll learn about the ecosystem of marine life that you’ve just had the chance to see first-hand from your stable, two-person kayaks.

Day 18-21

Next up you’re going to change the pace a little bit by hitting the waves at Half Moon Bay! With the guidance of professional instructors, you’ll hang-ten under the California sun. After your days of surfing are over, you’ll explore San Francisco as a group before gathering around the table for our celebratory WA banquet. The end of trip WA banquet is an opportunity to enjoy each other’s company one last time before your morning departure – it’s truly a great closing event for our unforgettable California adventure.

The final day is one of goodbyes. You’ll exchange phone numbers and farewells before boarding your flight home. In light of all that you’ve experienced together, Walt Whitman’s famous words should now ring true: “Now I see the secret of making the best persons. It is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.”

Day 1-2

Soaring into the fantastic San Francisco Bay Area, you’ll know your adventure has begun when you spot the famous Golden Gate Bridge in the distance. As you get off your plane and enter the airport, you’ll have no trouble spotting your new trip leaders – they’ll be just as excited as you are! While gathering your bags, you’ll also meet your new trip mates, all of whom are kids your age with the same passion for the outdoors and adventure. It’s a guaranteed recipe for an amazing summer experience. Once you’re all together, you’ll travel just a short distance to your first campsite.

Following your compass (or the GPS, more likely) north, you’ll travel over the Golden Gate Bridge and hop on the famous, scenic, coastal Highway 1. Along the way, you’ll have the perfect opportunity to learn about what makes this picturesque coastal region so unique. From the tiny little fishing towns, to the history of the Miwok Indians, to the dairy industry of the area, you’ll come to find that this region moves at a different pace than the rest of the state does. Once you and your group reach camp, you’ll stop, hike around a little bit, have a picnic lunch, and maybe start a pick-up game of frisbee, all the while getting to know the people you are going to befriend over the coming weeks. The next day, you’ll explore the Golden Gate Recreation Area.

Day 3-8

You will quickly find that “The Lost Coast” of California is a rather appropriate name, as it seems to be a place that time has nearly forgotten. The King Range, an imposing wall of mountains towering 4,000 feet above the black sand beaches, has helped keep this unusual environment private and lost from view. Over the next several days, you’ll spend your time backpacking along the shoreline past harbor seals and tide pools overflowing with starfish and crabs. You may even spot a surfer or two who has hiked to the surf in order to truly earn his or her waves for the day. At night you’ll enjoy your backcountry dinner and sleep under the Pacific Coast stars, listening to the gentle waves and bonding even more with your group over this incredible experience.

Day 9

The next day, you’ll plunge through the whitewater rapids of the American River! Your group will be joined by professional rafting guides who will instruct you on proper paddling techniques, swift-water safety, and also tell you some of the intriguing Gold Rush-era history that surrounds this river. 

Day 10-15

For the next several days, you’ll trek through the Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park. Here you’ll get to learn and practice fundamental backcountry travel skills as you hike past granite domes, sprawling meadows, and twisting alpine streams. Although Yosemite is a frequently visited park, you and your group will reward yourselves with solitude by taking the path less traveled. Once you leave the trailhead behind, you’ll see virtually no one – the high alpine lakes, incredible vistas, and star scattered skies will be left just for you!

Day 16-17

Following your time in Yosemite, you and your group will be treated to showers and laundry, before making your way back to the Pacific Coast. You’ll take advantage of the azure waters off the coast of Monterey Bay. This beautiful environment is home to an abundance of marine mammals, including sea otters, harbor seals, and bottlenose dolphins. It also lies on the migratory path of several species of whale. Because of the rich diversity of fauna in the bay, you’ll take the opportunity to visit the renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium, where you’ll learn about the ecosystem of marine life that you’ve just had the chance to see first-hand from your stable, two-person kayaks.

Day 18-21

Next up you’re going to change the pace a little bit by hitting the waves at Half Moon Bay! With the guidance of professional instructors, you’ll hang-ten under the California sun. After your days of surfing are over, you’ll explore San Francisco as a group before gathering around the table for our celebratory WA banquet. The end of trip WA banquet is an opportunity to enjoy each other’s company one last time before your morning departure – it’s truly a great closing event for our unforgettable California adventure.

The final day is one of goodbyes. You’ll exchange phone numbers and farewells before boarding your flight home. In light of all that you’ve experienced together, Walt Whitman’s famous words should now ring true: “Now I see the secret of making the best persons. It is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.”