July 15, 2019
Second session has begun and we are overjoyed to report to you with the first trip update! We kicked off airport day with laughs and smiles, quickly building camaraderie as if we’d known each other for years. As we piled into the van, we passed around snacks and embarked on our 2 hour journey to our first adventure, the North Cascades. Upon arrival to the first campsite, we reviewed how to set up our tents, then set out for town for our opening day pizza feast. Inside jokes quickly blossomed and belly laughs filled the pizza joint- we can tell it’s going to be a fun group! After a couple introduction games at the campsite, we hit the hay in preparation for a busy next day.First morning’s breakfast was a big hit – Sausage, egg and cheese English muffins and fresh fruit. All fueled up, we cruised over to the ranger station to procure our permits, food canisters and review the Leave No Trace principles. Highway 20 is noted as one of the most scenic routes for soaking in the Cascade’s brilliance. We pulled off at a local swimming hole for lunch and a quick dip! Diablo Lake is comprised of glacial runoff- brisk, but refreshing!
Back at our campsite, we inventoried our backpacking gear and began preparations for our 6 day adventure. Katherine, Kate and Grace took the helm for our last meal- burgers and dogs! Like a well oiled machine, Katherine would toss one well seasoned burger in the skillet as Kate pulled another off. As Grace wielded the knife, she sliced and diced the meals’ accoutrements, mending the kitchen production together like Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. Excitement was in the air as we tossed our packs, brimming with provisions, into the van. After a short hike down to Ross Lake, we hailed a water taxi to shuttle us several miles in to our start point. An hour into the hike, we decided to stop along a cliffside to eat lunch.Henry stared off into the vastness of the Cascades in awe, and took in it’s righteous beauty. Henry and Kate were Leaders of the Day and wasted no time getting the group back on the trail. As a Moondance Veteran and proficient hiker, Kate set a perfect pace to land the group at that evening’s campsite with plenty of time to set up camp and go for a swim! Hudson lead the charge to the water, not minding the lake’s frosty temperature. That evening after dinner, the group indulged in Swiss Rolls and reflected on a solid days work.The next morning we were up and on the trail by 9 am. Grace took the reins and set the pace at a quick clip to arrive at our lunch spot in record time. After lunch, we embarked on the most difficult portion of the hike, uphill switchbacks.
After copious amounts of unparalleled positive mental attitude, we triumphed the segment known as Devil’s Ridge. The group trekked on, deeper into the Cascades, past towering cliffs and snow capped peaks. Hayne noted how the elevation change brought a cool refreshing climate. After a well deserved pita pizza dinner, the gang hit the hay for some ‘R and R’ before another adventures day.Hiking an average 8 miles per day, we continued North. Fatigued legs found a second wind as we passed the Hozomeen Lake marker, that signaled 1 mile remaining. Elise was the first to drop her pack and jump into the lake, and marveled with the other students how blue the water was! A much needed back country shower, coupled with sublime alpine views was the perfect refresher the group needed to close out the backpacking section.We hiked back to Deerlick Campsite the following day a whipped up a backcountry staple- jambalaya, summer sausage and crispy chicken. Brennan kept us entertained with witty campfire humor. Sarah Grace recommended we sauté the summer sausage, which the group quickly took a liking to!
The following day Katherine and Kate led the group back out toward our pickup point. We had a little backcountry celebration for Katherine’s birthday, and she shared her party size Jolly Rancher bag with the whole group. We trekked along singing trail songs, excited to be nearing our destination, and behold, a bear! Standing in the middle of the trail about 100 yards from us was a black bear, which appeared to be the size of a large, furry dog. After much directed yelling and intimidation tactics, the bear scurried back off into the wilderness- what a rush!The next day we set our toward our pickup point with mixed emotions- excited about our accomplishments and front country luxuries, but sad to leave the wilderness. A common theme for the backpacking trip was what we were going to eat upon returning to civilization. A group consensus that Thomas never let us forget, double bacon cheeseburger, fries and a chocolate shake. Hal’s Diner in Skagit, Washington serves up classic drive-in dishes paired with retro decor that teleports you to a time when the key to a tasty tune wasn’t Spotify, but a couple of coins and a few sticky buttons. One Costco run later, we were on our way to our campsite and one well deserved shower.
As the sun set, we gazed over the bay toward the San Juan islands, ready for our next adventure.
Until next time,
Molly and Steve
July 6, 2019
Hello Pacific Northwest Families!
We heard from our Trip Leaders that all students have arrived safely in Seattle, and the trip is off to a great start. Stay tuned for more stories from their adventures.