Into the Wild
WildLink Expeditions give students the opportunity to experience wilderness firsthand. Since August 2000, more than a thousand students have discovered the wonder of the Sierra Nevada. Students are chosen from high schools and community programs located on the flanks of Yosemite in the Central Valley, Eastern Sierra, and San Francisco Bay Area. On six-day backpacking expeditions, students learn about the natural world first-hand, challenge themselves, and gain an understanding and appreciation for wild places.
Students explore their place in the wilderness; how their actions impact our environment; environmental science through hands-on research projects; the cultural history of Yosemite and their surrounding areas; geographical history; natural history; and possibilities for all of our futures. Students learn what they can do as individuals while developing teamwork and leadership. They will meet other students from different social and cultural backgrounds and will learn to work together to meet the social, philosophical and physical challenges of wilderness. Follow the links or visit the archives to read excerpts from student journals and view photographs of recent expeditions.
Words From the Field
"In the beginning of this trip I was regretting agreeing to come on this trip. I felt like physically I couldn’t do it and also because of how people reacted to me coming. It was hard the first day. I was crying a lot on the way up. Day two I made it to the top and was very satisfied with myself and the experience. Being here has made me appreciate everything that has been given to me and my family. It was way harder that I thought but I made it and it makes me feel so accomplished, so free, so strange, and so alive. I no longer regret coming. I also will never forget the view or the way I felt standing up on the top of Cloud’s Rest. I wish to remember the people I shared this experience with and this wonderful mountain. It will be in my heart always as a symbol of my strength and happiness."
Our Latest Program in 2017-18 School Year
Beautiful sunny skies, cool temperatures and lots of smiles made for one wonderful trip!
This very energetic group of students from the Generation Green Southern Consortium were welcomed to Yosemite by a nice dusting of snow! The group was ecstatic to see play in the fresh powder, most of them have never had that experience before! After day one of packing up gear, the group loaded their bags (into very cramped cars) and headed north the Hetch Hetchy reservoir. From there they enjoyed mostly sunny skies and nice cool temperatures!
They hiked out and were joined by NPS Wilderness Ranger Andres, Andres taught the group about what it means to be part of the National Park Service, and what exactly a Wilderness Ranger does. Andres easily fell into the grove of the group, and everyone was sad to see him hike out the following day. However, Andres first led the group in doing some train and campground work! They all enjoyed a little manual labor, and learning more about Leave No Trace principles.
On Thursday the team explored the off trail terrain of Le Conte Point, it was a challenge to make it to the top, especially given the on/off snow/rain. Luckily trail tutus and magic glitter made an appearance helping motivate the group to finish the hike. They even made the rule "at all times you have to see a tutu, and the tutus need to see each other". The group thoroughly enjoyed solo reflection time by the river and benefited from down time among all the hype of the wilderness.
All in all it was a wonderful trip, with lots of laughter and smiles.