Soon after daybreak on September 14, the students and faculty from the small independent school packed their daypacks and started on the strenuous 15-mile round-trip hike up 2,000 feet of elevation to the summit of famed Clouds Rest. At 9,926 feet above sea level, Clouds Rest is one of the most visually prominent peaks in Yosemite. The hike was part of a week-long trip to Yosemite National Park with the school’s entire student body, grades 7-12. During their stay, students camped in the Tuolumne Meadows section of the park, where they learned about preservation, conservation and the forces of geology that created the natural wonders of the Eastern Sierra.

“Our educational philosophy means that our students learn not only academically but also experientially,” said the school’s founding headmaster Gordon Sichi, who led the trip. “By living for a few days in the same environment as John Muir did, the students made a connection with the Sierras that will make an impression on them for a lifetime.” Despite autumn’s frigid, high-elevation temperatures and daily afternoon rainfall, the students remained in high spirits, benefitting from one another’s courage and determination.

“I was so proud that everyone made it to the top of Clouds Rest,” said senior Haley Yuhasz who camped in Tuolumne with Anacapa five years ago. “Last week, the positive attitudes were contagious.”

At the beginning and end of each academic year, the small private school takes an extended experiential learning trip. In the past, Anacapa students and faculty have traveled to San Francisco, Death Valley, Zion National Park, Boston and Italy, among other destinations. Visit Anacapa School’s Web site:, for more information.

Anacapa School is an independent, co-educational, WASC–accredited, college preparatory day school for junior high and high school students in grades 7-12. Founded in 1981 by Headmaster Gordon Sichi, Anacapa enjoys the best student- teacher ratio of any school, public or private, in Santa Barbara at its historic campus located in the heart of the Santa Barbara civic center.


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