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 2019-20 School Year
Health Careers Academy students came over from Stockton for a week of adventure in a remote and beautiful part of the park.
The group arrived on Sunday for many of their first times in Yosemite Valley. They were awestruck by the massive granite walls and formations surrounding the valley where they would be staying for the next two nights. They spent Sunday night getting acquainted with the park by watching the sunset on half dome from a meadow. On Monday morning, they met their educators and began their day full of gear and getting backpacks ready for their hike the following day. They were overwhelmed by excitement and anticipation as they trekked across the valley floor to test out their packs and finish their long day. Tuesday morning the group arrived at the Rancheria Falls trailhead out of Hetch Hetchy, and began their long, six-mile hike along the reservoir to their campsite. Along the way, there were lots of emotions. Some self doubt slowed them down a bit, but support from their peers and enthusiastic chants provided enough motivation to make it to their campsite. The group quickly settled in, ate dinner, and enjoyed a well-deserved night’s sleep. In the morning, everyone got to sleep in and enjoy the silence, stillness and soft light typical of mornings in the wilderness. After enjoying a hot breakfast, Ranger Alex facilitated a stewardship project at the campsite in which students helped remove campfire rings that did not follow Leave No Trace Principles. After the service project, they spent some time learning about Climate Change and Frogs, which ended up being impactful and memorable topics for students. The rest of the day was spent exploring the river scrambling on rocks near Rancheria Falls. The next day was their much anticipated challenge hike. The group spent all day supporting each other through and uphill hike to a beautiful viewpoint of Hetch Hetchy Valley. The final day in the wilderness included a pre-dawn wake up and a beautiful and sleepy sunrise hike toward the trailhead. Students spent the hike reflecting on their trip and the strength they found in themselves, others, and the world around them along the way. They arrived at the trailhead for lunch, said their goodbyes, and headed out on the road back to Stockton.