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Sonoma Coast Explorer — $875

Dates:June 16 - 20Ages 8 - 10
 July 28 - August 1Ages 8 - 10

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Day 1: Monday — Bodega Dunes & Bodega Head Hiking

On our hike today we roam in a maze of massive sand dunes that keep us hidden from the world, and straddle an earthquake fault line. We hear seals bark at us from Seal Island, and our scenic bluff top perch gives us expansive views of Bodega Bay and Horseshoe Cove. We look for buckwheat, purple lupine and seaside daisies before heading to our campground at Salt Point. There we learn the basics of tent set up, cooking a yummy dinner outdoors and of course, roasting s’mores!

Lessons: Camp Set up and Safety, Cooking, Sand Dunes

Day 2: Tuesday — Salt Point Hiking, Tidepools, Stump Beach

Salt Point State Park was, for years the “salt shaker” for the native Kashaya Pomo Indians, and we discover today their other favorite treats. At Gerstle Cove, we explore one of California's first underwater parks and here we can see giant green anemone, orange sea cucumbers and red bat stars. If we look closely at the rocks, we can still see eye bolts where old ships once anchored. Tide pools also teem with life, and we get to touch kelp gardens and sea stars.

Centuries of wind and water have sculpted the rocks into small cave-like honeycomb tafoni and into an assortment of forms and shapes, on which we hike and play today. Here the cliffs are scored with endless grooves and swirls. We hike coastal grassland to forests of Bishop Pine, and end at the blue green waters of Stump Beach. Beach games and “creature construction” from driftwood and jetsam follow. We spend another night at Salt Point, stargazing and telling spooky stories around the campfire.

Lessons: Leave No Trace Camping, Geology, Tide pooling/Ocean Ecosystems

Day 3: Wednesday — Armstrong Redwoods Forest

Today we take a short drive to Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve. We walk on a soft carpet of sorrel and ferns, and are dwarfed by coast redwoods, the world’s tallest living things. Some of these trees are thought to be over 1000 years old, and we stroll beneath the Parson Jones and Armstrong trees, as well as the bizarre Icicle Tree. Tonight we work on silly skits and present them to the group.

Lesson: Redwood Ecology

Day 4: Thursday — Fort Ross

What do Russians, sea otters, windmills and Miwoks have in common? They all had a home at Fort Ross, a tiny outpost on the coast and our home for the night. This historic settlement was abandoned in 1841, but tonight we bring the fort alive again with a fun reenactment. Clad in Russian clothes and cooking our traditional dinner over the fire as the Russians did, we get a true feel for what life was like for these early settlers. With the massive fort walls surrounding us, we camp out in the centre of the fort, hear the tales of hardship and survival, and get transported back to the 19th century.

Lessons: Russian History on Sonoma Coast

Day 5: Friday — Fort Ross

Today we continue our exploration of Fort Ross – an important reminder of our colorful California past. We wander the official's quarters, the Kukov house and the chapel to learn more about what life was like at this historic landmark. We learn how the settlers made their tools, and we get to touch the old cannons and even hear the boom when they’re let off. In the afternoon we head back to the Bay area and say goodbye to our new friends.

Lessons: Natural & Human History of Sonoma Coast

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