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The journey

A road trip across America.

An experiential learning and leadership trip for young women ages 13-17 that explores the diverse and vast environments, communities, and people across the continental U.S. and up to Alaska. We take our cameras and we document everything we see while learning documentary making techniques.  Led by certified teachers and adventure lovers we take our students on a road trip in which the girls are learning hands on travel planning, map navigation, camp set up and take down, cooking on the road skills as we journey across America visiting some of the most unique and diverse cities and comunties along the way.  This is self-development and personal growth at its finest.

We travel not as tourists, but as journalists, researchers, observers, and story recorders as we interview leaders, musicians, artists, entrepreneurs, and business owners along the way.  There will be a service component as we meet and join in efforts that build up communities we pass through.  Each girl can choose a topic they are researching and build a paper/ research project over the course of 6000+ miles and 2 months on the road.

Winding on a zigzagged path across the U.S., our goal is to experience the immense beauty of national parks, and soak in the incredible diversity that makes up our country.  We take the ferry through the inside passage from Bellingham WA to Alaska, and end our trip learning how to fish for salmon, camping and canoeing under the stars, and a rites of passage ceremony in Denali National Park.

High School Credits Available.

 

 Summer 2018

 

Applications Due May 15, 2018

 Full trip (60 Days)  June 17th-August 17th 2018  Price: $12,000

Half Trip(30 Days)   June 17th-July 17th  OR  July 17th- August 17th Price: $7,000

TUITION: Includes all gear, transportation by van and 4-day ferry, accommodation, food,  insurance, guides and activities, and academic programming. 

Parents are invited to meet us in Alaska for end of program Rites of Passage ceremony.

Scholarships on a need basis are available.

 

 

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The itinerary

1. Shenandoah National Park

Here we begin to wear in our hiking books, get to know each other, and learn each other’s strengths as we become a team—a well-oiled machine.  We will learn to pitch tents, cook over the fire, basic first aid, and begin to get comfortable outdoors.  This trip is for adventure newbies and veterans, and with safety being our goal, we begin our outdoor training.  We spend two nights here, and work with Shenandoah Mountain Guides as they give us a beginner mountain climbing class.  

 

2. McFee’s Knob, Virginia

After a big camp lunch we head to The Knob, one of the most photographed spots on the Appalachian trail.  It’s a difficult hike, but many claim it’s the best view they have ever seen.  We hike up for sunset and have our first art workshop using the 270 degree panorama as our inspiration.

 

 

3. International Storytelling Center, Jonesborough Tennessee

We attend a storytelling workshop, which ignites our creativity for the rest of our trip.  We travel not as tourists, but as travellers who are conscious of the journey, the places we go, and the diverse people we meet along the way.  We use story, art, and video media to document our adventures a long the way.

 
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4. Blue Ridge Parkway

Outstanding scenery and recreational opportunities make the Blue Ridge Parkway one of the most popular sections of the National Park System. Named "America's Favorite Drive," the 469-mile scenic road, offers stunning vistas, hiking and cycling opportunities. We take this highway to the great Smokey Mountains, but stop to hike and explore along the way.

 

5. Great Smokey Mountains

River tubing at its finest!  We join up with guides for a trip down the river.  Camping under the stars, and hunting for synchronized lightening bugs. 

 

6. Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts

We attend a private art workshop in the Smokey Mountains that uses place and story as a place of creative outlet.

 

7. Savannah

A city exploration.  Savannah is one of the largest historic districts on the country. This is where we rest and recover before our next big outdoor adventure into the Florida Everglades.  We get a couple days of good food and real beds.

 

8. Kennedy Space Center

We get to take a private tour of the Kennedy Space Center! NASA's launch headquarters is the only place on Earth where you can tour launch areas, meet a veteran astronaut, see giant rockets, train in spaceflight simulators, and even view a launch!

 

9. Walt Disney World

You can’t travel this far, and get this close, and not visit Walt Disney World.  We won’t just be entering as guests though; we have a behind the scenes tour planned where we get to learn the inner workings of this institution.  And yes, afterwards, we will get to go on some rides!

 

10. Biscayne National Park

Within sight of downtown Miami, yet worlds away, Biscayne protects a rare combination of aquamarine waters, emerald islands, and fish-bejeweled coral reefs. Here too is evidence of 10,000 years of human history, from pirates and shipwrecks to pineapple farmers and presidents. We will partake in a sailing adventure to Bocha Chita Key complete with snorkeling, fishing, and exploring. 

 

11. Everglades National Park

“There are no other Everglades in the world.  They are, they have been, one of the unique regions of the earth; remote, never wholly known.  Nothing anywhere else is like them.”-Marjory Stoneman DouglasWe will venture out by airboat to some of the most wild, most southern stretches of the continental United States.

 

12. Swim with Manatees!

Need we say more?  Take a boat out on Crystal River with a biologist and snorkel with these gentle giants.  Here the water is clear enough to see right to the bottom. 

 

13. New Orleans

We take a behind the scenes approach to New Orleans as we spend our time interviewing jazz musicians, getting to meet the people and see the life in the ninth ward, learn about the history and influences that make New Orleans so different. Here we will spend time exploring by bicycle, taking a photography class, and learning about the Voo Doo tradition.

 

14. Holmes County State Park

We pitch tents and go roller skating in the hardwood forests of Mississippi.  A unique campground in the middle of the forest boasts an old school roller skating rink that we just can’t say no to. 

 

15. Memphis

Home of Blues Music, we visit and speak with music historians, dive into the food scene with BBQ and Soul Food.  We let the locals give us a tour and show us what their city is built on.  We will have time to explore our own design/ research projects here.

 

16. Badlands North Dakota

Buried in layers of shale, sandstone, volcanic ash, and siltstone are millions of years of history.  Ancient fossils, some 35 million years old, retell the story of a shallow sea that once covered the region.  This area is widely regarded as one of the richest mammal fossil beds in the world.  Fossils of ancient camels, squid, hornless rhinos, and saber-toothed cats have been found.  We work with geologists to learn about this area and get a guided hiking tour.  Who knows who might find the next skull of a saber-tooth cat?

 

17. Mount Rushmore

Here we study the controversy behind Mount Rushmore, and the history and culture of the Lakota Tribe who lived here.  We invite guest speakers from the tribe to share their lives and stories with us.

 

18. Arches National Park

We enter Arches National park and discover a landscape of contrasting colors, landforms and textures unlike any other in the world. The park has over 2,000 natural stone arches, in addition to hundreds of soaring pinnacles, massive fins and giant balanced rocks.  We break out our sketchbooks and document the surreal views in this desert terrain.  Hiking and exploration with a guide gives a better inside experience to this national park.

 

19. Bryce Canyon National Park

There is no place quite like Bryce Canyon. Hoodoos (odd-shaped pillars of rock left standing from the forces of erosion) can be found on every continent, but here is the archetypal "hoodoo-iferous" terrain. Descriptions fail. Cave without a roof? Forest of stone? Even photographs strain credulity.   Oh, and the stargazing?  Did I mention the incredible stargazing?  Let’s sleep under the stars and wake up to the most amazing sunrise over the hoodoos.

 

20. Lava Hot Springs, Idaho

Let’s rest our muscles for a bit!  For years, people have gathered at these springs to bathe, rest, and worship. Many people believe that there are curative properties associated with the hot mineral water and refer to the Springs as "the healing waters" It is rumored that long ago the Springs were neutral ground and shared in peace by all. 

 

21. Yellowstone National Park and Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyoming

Steaming rivers, towering waterfalls, deep canyons, bubbling mud-pots, hot spring terraces, and boiling water gushing from the earth: Yellow Stone National Park is a one-of-a kind force of nature.  We get on horseback here and adventure deep into the park on a three-day pack trip with a guide.  At this point in the trip, we are seasoned.  We are ready for bigger adventures and Yellowstone brings it to us.

 

22. Seattle, WA

We finally made it to a big city, and explore it we will.  We will take an underground tour of the city learning about the history and stories that make the city what it is today.  We will interview vendors at Pike Place Market, visit several non-profits in the area, and see a show.  This is the time for us to rest, wash our socks, and get ready for the biggest part of the adventure yet.  If time permits, we will take a ferry out to Friday Harbor, on Orcas Island and visit the unique marine community that lives there.

 

23. A 4-day Ferry Journey Through the Inside Passage! 

Our van drives aboard a ferry that runs as part of the Alaska State Highway System. We will camp on the deck and enjoy the incredible scenery of the Inside Passage, only accessible by boat. 

 
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24. Haines, Alaska

We have arrived!  Not just anywhere in Alaska, but in one of the most beautiful towns known for it’s bluegrass music, mountains, and amazing sunsets.  Here we meet the locals, camp, and get ready to take the journey by road through the Alaskan wilderness to fish, go gold mining, ride horses, and experience Alaska like a local.

 

25. Homer, Alaska

With a boat ride out to Halibut Cove, we go fishing for the big ones.  We can take the salmon and halibut we catch right up to the café on the boardwalk and have them cook it. Now tell me that isn’t the freshest seafood you’ve ever had.  We will be camping on the homer spit, learning the lifestyle of local commercial fishing families, and taking a trip to a fully operating gold mine. 

 
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26. Denali National Park

Denali is six million acres of wild land, bisected by one ribbon of road. Travelers along it see the relatively low-elevation taiga forest give way to high alpine tundra and snowy mountains, culminating in North America's tallest peak, 20,310' Denali. Wild animals large and small roam un-fenced lands, living as they have for ages.   We head out on a 4 day journey with pack rafts and end celebrating our grand journey at Sourdough Sunrise B&B with a rites of passage ceremony, for this once in a life time journey brings great growth and a well deserved celebration of that is in store!