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Yosemite Backpacking — $1,195

Dates:August 4 -9Ages 12 - 14

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Day 1: Monday — Drive to Yosemite

Our journey begins in San Francisco where we spend the morning getting to know our new friends whom we will spend a week exploring, learning, and adventuring with in Yosemite National Park. Through fun ice- breaker games, we have the chance to run around, laugh, and gear up for the exciting week ahead!

From San Francisco, we head to the grandiose landscape of Yosemite National Park, our playground for the next six days. We are greeted by spectacular views of polished granite rock faces, towering domes, gushing waterfalls, and stunning panoramas. We head East through the park over Tioga Pass to the green splendor of Tuolumne Meadows. It is here in Tuolumne Meadows where we spend our first night camping and preparing for our backpacking adventure that will begin tomorrow!

As we settle into this outdoor paradise, we are taught how to set up camp and comfortably live in the outdoors. We also learn a key lesson, Leave No Trace, which will be a core part of our journey as we make it our goal to leave Yosemite as beautiful as we found it.

Lessons: Camp set up, Leave No Trace

Day 2: Tuesday — Young Lakes Backpacking Day 1

Today our backpacking trip begins! This morning we learn how to properly pack our backpacks with all of the essential items we will need for the upcoming days. We will be amazed that every necessary item fits into our backpack and fits comfortably upon our shoulders and hips! We are introduced to "Leader of the Day", a core feature of this program, as well as fundamental leadership skills. We will continue to learn and practice these important skills as our journey progresses.

Our hike takes us from the Tuolumne Meadows trailhead to Lower Young Lake, which is one of three alpine lakes that sit together in a granite bowl at the foot of Ragged Peak. We take our time on the seven-mile hike, which can be uphill and challenging at times, to absorb the beautiful scenery along the way. We are taught Topographic map reading skills throughout the hike, which will play an integral role as we navigate through the area in the upcoming few days.

After a day of hiking, we arrive at Lower Young Lake and set up base camp. This base camp will be our home for the next three nights while we spend the days exploring our surrounding areas on day hikes. With a stunning backdrop of Ragged Peak, which rises to 11,000 feet, and vibrant green water reflecting a late afternoon sun, we feel a million miles away in this serene landscape.

Lessons: Leadership, Topo map reading

Day 3: Wednesday — Young Lakes Backpacking Day 2

Today we have the opportunity to explore the surrounding Young Lakes, named Middle Lake and Upper Lake, on a day hike. Our hike from Lower Lake to Middle Lake is short, but steep, and takes us through an enchanting lush forest to the crystal clear waters of Middle Lake. Our hike from Middle Lake to Upper Lake is another uphill climb, taking us to over 10,000 feet! We are rewarded for our hard work with splendid sights of vistas below and granite peaks above! With the landscape unfolding before us, we are taught about the natural history of Tuolumne Meadows and Yosemite.

The alpine meadows, which surround each lake's emerald shorelines, are the perfect place for the group to enjoy the afternoon. Here we play fun games, eat lunch, and relax in the sunshine. The daring can even take a dip in the chilly waters! At the end of the day, we hike back to our base camp at Lower Young Lake.

Lesson: Natural History of Tuolumne Meadows/Yosemite

Day 4: Thursday — Young Lakes Backpacking Day 3

Today we explore more of this pristine area on an exciting day hike. If the weather allows and the group chooses to, we have the chance to ascend a nearby peak! Our leaders will teach us basic mountaineering skills that we will use on this adventure. As we set off on our expedition, we will be able to practice not only today's mountaineering skills lesson, but also the map reading and leadership skills we learned earlier in the program! When we reach the peak, we are greeted by breathtaking views and pride in our amazing accomplishment!

Lessons: Basic Mountaineering skills

Day 5: Friday — Young Lakes Backpacking Day 4

This morning we break camp and bid farewell to Lower Young Lake. We load up our backpacks and begin our hike back to the Tuolumne Meadows trailhead where our adventure began. We set out early for our return hike, which is primarily downhill. As we hike, we keep a keen eye out for the flora and fauna we have become familiar with over the past few days. If we are lucky, perhaps we will even see eagles, hawks, or falcons in flight!

When we reach Tuolumne Meadows, we set up camp for the final night of our incredible journey to Yosemite. Our night is highlighted with a delicious 'final feast' dinner and celebration of our accomplishments from the past five days. We take the time to enjoy new friendships as we look back on the memories created over our backpacking exploration of Yosemite and Tuolumne Meadows.

Day 6: Saturday — Drive Back to Bay Area

This morning we pack up camp, say farewell to Yosemite, and head back to the Bay Area. Although we are sad to leave the serenity of the backcountry, we are excited to return home and share photos and stories of our adventure with our friends and families!

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