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One of the trails Crissy Field Center utilizes for its programs almost every day is the Batteries to Bluffs Trail. The Camping at the Presidio (CAP) program, which offers “Are We There Yet?” as an educational option for camping groups, utilizes the Batteries to Bluffs Trail to talk about progress—in every sense of the word.
“The trail was chosen not only for its stunning view of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Headlands, and local wildlife, but for the physical challenge as well,” says Grace Malango-Blake, outdoor educator for CAP. “The challenge, teamwork, and eventual accomplishment felt as groups climb the final set of stairs and look back to where they started is a tangible form of progress that even our youngest participants can appreciate. “
So what do participants do during “Are We There Yet?” Grace explains that the program begins at Rob Hill Campground with a reflective “personal map” activity in which participants document examples of progress in their own lives. Tracing an arc from where and when they were born to accomplishments and challenges they have faced, the maps allow participants draw personal connections between the abstract idea of “progress” and their own lives and community.
From there the group makes some physical progress, climbing the panoramic Batteries to Bluffs Trail toward the Golden Gate Bridge. Participants explore the idea of community progress as they learn the story of the defeated housing development of Marincello, and the resulting formation of the Golden Gate National Parks.
The hike continues to the new Golden Gate Overlook and culminates with a hands-on bridge building activity, in which participants work as a team to build their own suspension and cantilever bridge models.
Grace says that the objective of “Are We There Yet” is to provide positive gateway experiences for these youth and enrich their knowledge of the natural and historical resources of the Golden Gate National Parks. More specifically, the program celebrates the Golden Gate Bridge not only as a historical monument, but as a symbol of progress. The program aims to help participants define progress in multiple ways (physical, societal, personal, and technical) by referencing their own unique experiences and backgrounds.
Hopefully, next time you’re on the Batteries to Bluffs Trail you’ll have a new appreciation for it—not only as a great trail to hike, but also as an outdoor classroom for Bay Area youth.