Frequently asked questions
Who is WILD for?
WILD is for young men 13- to 19-years old who want to discover themselves and cultivate a personal relationship with the natural world. No prior backpacking experience is necessary. All identities, learning styles and voices are welcome.
Is it okay to come with a friend?
We've had many young men come on our trips with friends. While pre-existing bonds can be seen as a distraction or a crutch in some wilderness programs, we welcome those bonds. We encourage and facilitate group cohesion in a way that emphasizes individual experience and growth in service of the collective. We also find that having a friend with whom you've shared your wilderness experience can be very helpful with reintegration when you get back home.
Where do you go?
We work within Yosemite National Park and in the John Muir Wilderness in the Sierra National Forest.
What kind of physical shape do I need to be in?
We strongly recommend that participants engage in regular, moderate to strenuous physical activity on a regular basis for at least two months before their trip. Hiking, running, playing sports, climbing, weight lifting are all helpful in getting ready for the rigors of hiking with a full pack. We also recommend that participants explore their comfort carrying a heavy pack at least two months before the trip starts. If you have any questions about your physical ability or how to prepare for success we are happy to advise.
Is this wilderness therapy?
Yes and no. Wilderness immersion is a powerful teacher of inner-peace and well being for all of us; it is inherently therapeutic. The primary purpose of these trips is to meet all young men at their growth edge, helping them identify their inner resources and work towards their personal goals. This work is applicable for young men at all stages of their growth, regardless of their past triumphs and tribulations, and there is nothing disciplinary or punitive in our teaching philosophy.
Yes! We're happy to provide references upon request.
What is your payment/cancellation policy?
Back to Earth requires full payment with registration, 20% of which is taken as non-refundable deposit. Refunds of 80% are given until one month prior to trip's start date. Please ask if you have special financial needs.
What do I need to bring?
See our gear list. Please note that almost everything on the list can be borrowed free of charge.
What will we eat?
Teenage boys are always worried about the food. We promise it's good and plentiful. We can accommodate most dietary restrictions and sensitivities if given advance notice.
What about pick up and drop off?
Drop off takes place at Doyle Hollis Park in Emeryville, CA early in the morning on the first day of the trip. We provide transportation to and from the mountains. Pick up is at the same location in the late afternoon of the last day.