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
We were blessed by nice weather this fall, and had four expeditions venture out into Yosemite National Park.
Venture Academy (Stockton) - This group of high schoolers made their way to Yosemite early this september eager and ready for adventure. That is just what they got, during their journey to May Lake they enjoyed bonding with each other on trail and worked to build great group dynamics. This group put their desire for adventure to the test when they did their challenge hike up to Mount Hoffman. Students returned from their expedition with wide eyes, struggling to describe the feeling of a 360 degree view of Yosemite from the summit.
Kingsburg High School - (Kingsburg) A small but mighty group of seven students from Kingsburg High School arrived on a crisp September morning to gear up for their expedition to Cathedral Lakes. During their expedition they helped a NPS Ranger do projects around their campsite, and took a wonderful day hike out to Budd Lake.
Turlock/Pitman - (Turlock) Clear, blue skies greeted our high schoolers from Turlock High School when they arrived in Yosemite this October. 11 excited students, who are all members of Turlocks’ own “WildLink Club”, joined our educators on an epic adventure, one that they would remember forever. This group made their way out to Ostrander Lake, they enjoyed beautiful views, especially on their way to Cloud’s Rest, and laughter along the way. One student wrote “Wilderness to me is a getaway from the everyday practices of life. A home away from home. A home for the spirit and the soul. A place to be inspired and awed.”
Health Careers Academy - (Stockton) 11 eager and giggly ladies arrived from HCA late this October. Upon their arrival in Yosemite they found themselves surrounded by stunning fall colors in the valley. On their second day they geared up with their educators, learned some of the basics, and prepared for their expedition. They took off toward Rancheria, encountered a bear family and saw some amazing views as they hiked along the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. All in all they had a great expedition and even managed to sneak in some face masks in celebration of Halloween!