Fall Camping Trips at Explorer West

8th graders enjoying their fall backpacking trip by Dawn Fornear

It was exciting to embark on our annual grade-level camping trips this year. Smoke prevented the 7th Grade from visiting Ross Lake, their usual Fall spot. Instead, they spent time on the Olympic Peninsula. Highlights from the 7th graders included the view at Marmot Pass, hiking in the fog, climbing on roots and a log to cross to a river island, and identifying mushrooms.

Our 6th grade had a fun introduction to our Outdoor Education program.  They took a bus from school to Fort Worden State Park for a few days of camping.  Students got to know each other, learned and shared basic camping skills, got to know some faculty and staff, and explored the area around the park and at the Marine Science Center on-site. The bunkers were especially fun for hide-and-seek. One 6th grader said, "The trip was awesome and I loved exploring the bunkers. I also enjoyed the marine biology classes." Other highlights of the trip included seeing bats, and playing games.

8th Grade spent time at Mount Rainier National Park. Daily hikes were 3-6 miles with nightly stops in backcountry camping sites. They spent their days exploring the area and learning about the unique geography of Mt. Rainier! Some highlights include seeing bears, picking huckleberries, glacier viewing, and sing-alongs!