Coastal Loop Adventure (Trip) - Grades 7-8

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CLA 3.jpg

Coastal Loop Adventure (Trip) - Grades 7-8


Tuesday, July 17 - Friday, July 20, 2018 (FULL - Standby List Available)

Pre-Trip Meeting (Mandatory): Monday, July 16, 2018

Join an adventure-loving group as we hike to the westernmost spot in the mainland United States (and one of the most biodiverse places on the planet!).

Our trip will take us from Bellingham to Lake Ozette, then onto boardwalk trails through forests, meadows, and wetland to set up camp on the coast. The following days will see us day-hiking up the beach to the Ozette River and the archeological site of an ancient Makah whaling village; trekking south next to sea stacks, seagulls, and sea lions; ascending rocky bluffs with ropes; searching for petroglyphs at Wedding Rocks; encountering myriad wildlife on land and sea; and camping at very sandy Sand Point. Along the way, we'll exercise collaborative teamwork, learn survival skills and basic first aid, play and laugh plenty, sing by campfires, and discover and deepen our physical, mental, and emotional capabilities. Read more.

Intermediate Level. Total trip miles: 9 miles (with full packs - 3 miles each hiking day with days off in between) - more possible in day hike explorations.


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2018 Itinerary

Tuesday, July 17 - Friday, July 20, 2018

Pre-Trip Meeting (mandatory): Monday, July 16, 2018. Time: 10:00-1:00PM. Location: Cascades Montessori Middle School, 2710 McKenzie Avenue, Bellingham. Directions. Participants should bring backpack and everything on the gear list they plan to bring on the trip. While this meeting is for participants only, we're happy to fill parents in on everything we discuss!


Meet at Cascades Montessori Middle School, 2710 McKenzie Avenue, Bellingham at 8:00AM in order to catch the ferry to Port Townsend. Directions. After stopping at the Wilderness Information Center in Port Angeles to obtain permits and bear canisters for each participant (note: these weigh about 2 lbs each - empty), we'll learn about the historic Elwha Dam removal near Port Angeles then head west to our trailhead at Lake Ozette. From there, we’ll put on our packs and hike the 3.3 miles along the boardwalk through six distinct ecosystems to Cape Alava, the westernmost point in the contiguous 48 states. After setting up camp and securing food, we’ll explore the tide pools, sea stacks, grassy knolls, rocky beach, and forest in the area, practice camp set-up skills, gather round an evening fire, and let the waves lull us to sleep.


After morning exploring in the tide pools at Cape Alava, we'll review our route, then break camp and set off down the beach to Sand Point. With a little luck and our seeking eyes, we may see whales, sea otters, seals, sea lions, deer, many shore birds, and debris from the years-ago tsunami in Japan. This leg of the trip includes crossing two headlands, which we’ll be careful to do at low tide. Much of the trail is on sand and slick rock, so we’ll walk with care as we pass tide pools teeming with sea life. We’ll look for ancient Native American petroglyphs at Wedding Rocks, and search for wild strawberries growing atop sea stacks. We’ll take as long as we want to hike this 3 mile stretch of beach before arriving at Sand Point, where we’ll set up our camp for the night.


We’ll rise to the sound of surf, tend to morning chores and routine, then spend the day exploring the sandy Sand Point area in interest-led groups. We may explore inland trails, leap over incoming waves, make sand art and castles, clamber up the nearby lookout bluff, create driftwood forts, and enjoy a longer Peaceful Place time beside the sea. We'll make and eat dinner at sunset atop the lookout bluff, and perhaps be lucky enough to see a pod of whales feeding offshore.


After breaking camp and saying farewell to the Pacific Ocean, we'll complete our loop hike on the boardwalk trail back to Lake Ozette. A lunch of fresh food waits for us at the bus. Then we'll load up and drive back to Port Angeles to return bear canisters. Once in Port Townsend, we’ll bring a pizza dinner on board the ferry and recollect trip tales. Parents: plan on a creative trip report from these backpackers before you whisk them home!

Pick-up: Cascades Montessori Middle School, 2710 McKenzie Avenue, Bellingham. Time 7:30PM. Directions.

Learning Outcomes: Lessons learned and concepts covered on this adventure include an in-depth exploration of all Wild Whatcom mottos, healthy and supportive interpersonal communication, Leave No Trace (TM) ethics, collaborative leadership development, positive and negative peer pressure, common sense camping, analyzing hazards and how to mitigate their risk, integrity, exploring how our thinking affects our reality, Native American history and ethnography, self care, ecology and botany of coastal ecosystems, multiple intelligence theory, wilderness awareness, river ecosystems, survival priorities, navigation, preparedness, wildlife and their adaptation to humans, working with and through fears, coastal weather systems, accepting and working with emotions, intermediate backpacking skills, practicing gratitude, the bridge of adolescence, understanding personal potential, and more!

Participant pre-trip questionnaire and tetanus immunization required to participate.

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