At Cate the mountains, forests and ocean are both a learning space and, at times, a student’s home. True to Mr. Cate’s original vision for the School, Cate students head to the outdoors on a regular basis. There, on trips led by faculty members experienced in wilderness education, students gain knowledge and skills that help them appreciate and feel at home in nature.
During Outings Week at the beginning of every school year, students camp, hike and backpack with members of their class and with lead faculty. Cell phones and computers get left behind as students get the chance to expand their understanding of the wilderness, their classmates and themselves.
Some trips, like the ninth grade hike in the Sequoia National Forest, consist of staying in cabins with prepared meals, while tenth-graders graduate to a week of backpacking in Yosemite, relying solely on themselves to bring all the necessary food and gear. In eleventh grade, students head to the Kern River for a 40-mile full-pack hiking and camping adventure. Twelfth-graders have the option of assisting on one of the trips or camping, swimming, and snorkeling on Catalina Island. In addition, over the course of the year, all ninth-graders take part in a wilderness weekend designed to help familiarize them with the outdoor program, basic camping and backpacking skills, and the surrounding countryside.
Regular outdoor trips are offered on weekends throughout the year and are open to all students. These trips provide an ideal opportunity to get away, gain skills living in the natural world and get to know faculty and peers in a new setting. In morning assembly, students might hear an announcement for a climbing, kayaking or fly fishing trip being planned for the weekend. With parent permission, students may then find themselves heading off to Santa Cruz Island, hiking to hot springs in the neighboring Los Padres National Forest, or rafting down the rapids of the Kern river.
"My favorite part of my sophomore year was outings week when we went to Yosemite. It is a trip I will never forget."
"We even learn how to calculate residual nitrogen in our blood as a result of multiple dives, and when it is safe—and not safe—to dive again."