Necklace Valley Voyage (Trip) - Grades 9 & 10


Necklace Valley Voyage (Trip) - Grades 9 & 10


Monday, July 22 - Saturday, July 27, 2019 (FULL). Contact us about a standby list.

Pre-trip Meeting (Mandatory) Sunday, July 21, 2019

Named for its string of jewel-like lakes, the Necklace Valley is an outdoor playground abounding  with opportunities to swim, scramble, and take in stunning mountain vistas. This trail boasts upwards of ten alpine-likes, between which wildflowers thrive and delight; trillium, calypso orchids, and yellow violets are but a few types of wildflowers a hiker may spot along the way. Hopping from lake to lake, hikers will face some spots of steep elevation and scrambling, learning to practice backpacking and hiking strategies to conserve energy and maximize enjoyment.

As we travel through these mountains we'll explore and discuss our own journey through adolescence in this coming of age. All along the way, we'll go out and go within, co-discovering our changing selves in this time and culture, considering our relationships with self, parents, peers and our community.

Click here and here for more descriptions of the trail.

Total trip miles: 18 miles with full packs, collaboratively decided additional distance in day hike explorations.

Elevation Gain: Up to 4,000 ft. Max. Elevation 6,000 ft.


Scholarship applications available during registration.

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2019 Itinerary

Monday, July 22 - Saturday, July 27, 2019

Pre-Trip Meeting (mandatory): Sunday, July 21, 2019. Time: 12:00-3:00PM. Location: Cascade Montessori Middle School, 2710 McKenzie Ave, 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 Cascade Montessori Middle School, 2710 McKenzie Avenue, Bellingham at 9:00AM. Directions. We’ll drive southeast to Skykomish, arriving at the Necklace Valley trailhead. We’ll eat lunch and do a final shakedown of gear and review our maps  and itinerary. Once on the trail, we will be greeted by an abundance of lowland wild flowers: trilliums, yellow violets, and calypso orchids. This first section of trail will ease us into the rhythm of walking with a pack, getting us comfortable with the weight on our backs for the more challenging days to come. We will end our first night camped just shy of the river junction, a footbridge awaiting our crossing in the coming morning.


While day one provided us with a nice gentle lead in to our trip, day two will provide some challenge! We will cross the river and begin our trek to the Necklace Valley - and all its jeweled lakes. We’ll scramble up a steep and rocky path, gaining over 2,000 ft on this three mile section. While this section will certainly provide us with a challenge, the reward will feel more than worth it as we consider a dip in Jade Lake - or perhaps Opal or Emerald. We will make camp near one of these gems, the cap of Mount Hinman rising just above the treeline, reminding us of the glacial and mountainous views to that await us.


Today will be a day for play and exploration. The hiking options are endless! We could choose to day hike and lake hop, visiting as many as seven lakes in one day. Alternately, if we are feeling primed with the spirit of adventure we may choose to day hike to La Bohn gap, a gravel field where we may scramble higher and higher up Hinman Peak to earn extraordinary views of the distant mountain terrain. No matter our choice, we are certain to be reminded of just how gorgeous Washington is!


Today will provide us with some much needed rest and reflection. Depending on our campsite the night before, we will either hike just a short ways to explore the gems - Jade, Opal, and Emerald lakes - or stay at camp and relax. Mentors will provide activities during this day ranging anywhere from leadership activities to games and discussions!


We will begin retracing our footsteps north to join up once again with the East Fork of the Foss. This time our scramble will be a steady downward trek, the downhill a welcome change from our previous uphill encounter with this section of trail. We’ll return to our riverside campsite, knowing that this will be our last full day in the gorgeous Necklace Valley.


Our final day! We will wake in the morning, our packs much lighter and more familiar than when we began. Final goodbyes will accompany recollections of the trail we leave behind us as we hike our last five miles. A short drive back and we will be back in Bellingham, ready to share the memories we made with friends and loved ones.

Pick-up: Cascade Montessori Middle School, 2710 MacKenzie Ave, Bellingham at 4:30PM. Directions.

Learning Outcomes: Lessons learned and concepts covered on this adventure include daily in-depth exploration of the bridge to young adulthood and all its attributes, challenges and changes; living out the Wild Whatcom mottos, healthy and supportive interpersonal communication, Leave No Trace (TM) ethics, collaborative leadership development, common sense camping, analyzing hazards and how to mitigate their risk, living with integrity, exploring how our thinking affects our reality, self care, ecology and botany of subalpine and alpine ecosystems, multiple intelligence theory, wilderness awareness and ethics, glaciers and our connection to them,  survival priorities, navigation, preparedness, human impact on mountain ecosystems, wildlife and their adaptation to humans, working with and through fears, mountain weather systems, accepting and working with emotions and intuition, exploring endings and new beginnings; letting go and holding on to childhood attributes, relationship with self, influences and effects on self esteem and body image, including media influences. Exploring river ecology; cougar and bear behavior; relationships with parents and peers, how to speak and listen from the heart, overcoming adversity, advanced backpacking skills, practicing gratitude, understanding personal potential, human and natural history… and more!

Participant trip questionnaire and tetanus immunization required to participate.

Trip Training Tips

Trip Pack List

Essentials of Layering