ESCAPE to Yosemite 2024

Closing out the year with a weekend of waterfalls, hiking, and connection

A fantastic year of ESCAPE club trips culminated in an amazing couple of days at Yosemite National Park with nearly 40 students from DeJean and Soskin!

After a record-breaking early and easy departure, our group of nearly 60 was on the road. Navigating the valley with a large caravan is a challenge but we had a great group of chaperones and drivers who made it seem easy. Our first big sight to see was Yosemite Falls up close in all its springtime intensity. For many students this is where it starts to set in that we are in a truly amazing place. We then headed to Wawona Campground (with a quick stop to stare at Half Dome from Tunnel View) and set up camp. Whether it was their first or hundredth time, everyone got their tents set up and we got to enjoy a delicious chili dinner.

Saturday began with hot coffee (or cocoa) and hot breakfast and then up the Mist Trail we went! We climbed the stone steps alongside the river and waterfall while experiencing what felt like a bit more than mist from the spray of the waterfall. This is a challenging hike, but every student made it to the top. Even through the difficult parts, students persevered and powered through. We all got our reward of sunbathing at the top of Vernal Falls with lunch.

Back at camp, students pitched in to prepare the best nachos, made even better by the exertions of the day’s hike! Evening activities included s’mores, glowsticks, and running around the campsite. While our day trips are awesome, the real beauty of a weekend trip is those moments sitting around a campfire, relaxing in a hammock, quietly looking at the stars (or for some students, nighttime flashlight tag).

On Sunday, we got to enjoy a slow camp morning. Some folks slept in, others were up early to sit around one last campfire, and we savored the peaceful mountain morning while we could.  We ended with reflections and share-out of what we were taking away from the experience.

Our second year back from the pandemic and as a joint club between the two schools was a good one. We couldn’t do it without the immense support we receive through financial donations, time commitment from volunteers, and words of encouragement. We are so grateful for the opportunity to connect with our school and broader communities in this way. Next year we look forward to welcoming a new crop of students and continuing to connect with our returning club members as we experience new adventures. Each year is a little different and we are excited to see what comes next for the ESCAPE club!

Check out the video if you have a few extra minutes!