Tuesday, April 25, 2006

California Trip - April 11, 2006

Adventure Ed students woke early knowing that they had a full day of exploring awaiting them in Carmel by the Sea (http://www.carmelcalifornia.com/). Students ate breakfast, worked on their journals, packed their bags and headed out the door of St. Timothy Lutheran Church. Students walked to the Monterey Transit Plaza and caught the MST route number five to Carmel by the Sea.

The bus dropped the Adventure Ed group off in downtown Carmel. After arriving, the group made a beeline for the ocean beach. On the way to the beach, students and chaperones walked through some of the most expensive neighborhoods on the planet. The custom craftsmanship and the price tags were enough to drop even the most tightly set jaw. When the students arrived at the public beach, a football was pulled out of a backpack. The next forty-five minutes were spent playing “Tackle-the-man-with-the-ball.” No major injuries were sustained. After the game, players threw themselves on the sand, took a quick drink and prepared to push further down the beach.

The group decided to head south to the Carmel River State Beach (http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=567). Because the Carmel River had to be crossed, the Adventure Ed class hiked inland and walked across the bridge. The group then cut west into a neighborhood and found a trail leading to the beach. On the way down the trail, students and chaperones spotted some large rock formations on the ocean shore. The group hiked to the rocks and started climbing them. Once on top, students pointed their noses to the wind and took in the view. Later, students made their way out to a rock that was being pounded by the surf. Students stayed on the rock long enough to get wet. Several students were witnessed raising their closed fists in the direction of the open ocean. Students and chaperones looking on from the safe refuge of the beach swore they heard the question “Is that all you’ve got?!” uttered from someone taking waves on the rock. This statement cannot be confirmed because the wind was blowing hard and the surf was pounding the shoreline to the extent that hearing was minimal at best.

After spending several hours at the beach, students walked north along the shore. The plan was to ford the Carmel River if possible. The river was too swift at the mouth, so the group traveled inland up the bank. The group found a spot where the river flattened out. With teacher approval, Lainey and Jason were the first to ford the river. The remaining chaperones and students quickly tied their shoelaces together, slung them over their shoulders and struck out across the river. After reaching the north bank, students put on their shoes and continued their trek back into the Carmel neighborhoods.

After entering the Carmel neighborhoods, the group found a transit stop and waited for the next available bus to Monterey. The bus was able to drop the group off near St. Timothy Lutheran Church. Once inside, students enjoyed dinner and a movie.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

California Trip - April 10, 2006

In the morning, students and chaperones cleaned the basement of St. Timothy Lutheran Church. The church needed to use the room later in the day. Everyone pitched in and the area was spotless when the group was done. Mr. O’Connor, Guy’s father, had recently arrived in Monterey on a family visit. He was gracious enough to shuttle the entire group, one carload at a time, to the Monterey Bay Aquarium (http://www.mbayaq.org/). While waiting for a ride, groups that remained at the church played a football game in the parking lot.

When the entire group was assembled, an aquarium guide took us up to a research lab for an hour long class entitled “From Stingers to Spines.” In this class, students had the opportunity to handle many sea creatures including starfish, abalone, hermit crabs and moon snails. Students put food in the animals’ aquariums and watched them react to it. Students were required to sketch several sea creatures in their journals, list facts about them and describe how they reacted to stimuli such as food.

After completing the class, the group was excused. Small groups of students walked with chaperones to nearby restaurants. Several groups visited Carl’s Jr. Although slightly more expensive than McDonald’s, the hamburgers were much better. After eating, groups walked along the Pacific Grove waterfront to the Hopkins Marine Station
of Stanford University (http://hms.stanford.edu/). On the marine station beach, students had a chance to witness a large resident group of harbor seals. Students pointed out several small harbor seal pups. The group then walked back to Cannery Row (http://www.monterey.org/museum/canneryrow/), the area captured by John Steinbeck in his famous novel by the same name.

At approximately 1:30 PM, all Adventure Ed groups gathered, once again, in the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s research lab. The group was met by two scientists from the Sea Otter Research and Conservation Program (http://www.mbayaq.org/efc/efc_otter/otter_resources.asp). The two scientists introduced students to the fascinating world of sea otters. The scientists talked about the current sea otter population in Monterey Bay and how they are monitoring their numbers. The conservation program has been working hard to boost the numbers of sea otters in Monterey Bay. After hearing the scientists present information, Adventure Ed students walked outside to the aquarium viewing deck and used high tech equipment to spot sea otters in the immediate area.

At about 2:30 PM, students and chaperones were allowed to explore the aquarium. Some highlights included the kelp forest (http://www.mbayaq.org/efc/kelp.asp), sharks and rays (http://www.mbayaq.org/efc/sharks.asp) and the jellyfish exhibit (http://www.mbayaq.org/efc/efc_se/se_jla.asp).

Langley Middle School Adventure Ed would like to thank Scott Stratton and the Monterey Bay Aquarium for allowing our entire group to experience a world-class aquarium free of charge. Your generosity made for an amazing educational experience that both students and chaperones will never forget.

After exploring the aquarium, Adventure Ed students walked to the Monterey Public Library to escape into a book before walking on to St. Timothy Lutheran Church.

California Trip - April 9, 2006

Students woke early, ate breakfast and worked on their journals. Many students were running low on cash, and the group liked the idea of selling lemonade on the Monterey waterfront to help recoup their losses. Posters and donation boxes were constructed out of cardboard. At approximately 10:00 AM, the group wrapped themselves in the yellow emergency blankets that the Cachagua Fire Department (http://www.cachaguafire.com) had given them and embarked on a two-mile trek to the waterfront. The group found a spot by a large fountain in the middle of Monterey State Historic Park. This ideal location was short-lived. The group was told that a permit was needed for the area. Students found an available area outside a Wells Fargo Bank a few blocks to the south. The lemonade business was lukewarm at the new location. The rain began to fall with regularity. Students took a quick break in a Taco Bell located close to the lemonade stand. Inexpensive meals were purchased. Students then went back to St. Timothy Lutheran Church for games or walked to the Monterey Public Library. Later, all met at the church for dinner and a movie.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

California Trip - April 8, 2006

After waking, students were told that they would be without Mr. Daley and Mr. Bergquist, as they would be heading back up to Big Pines camp to pick up forgotten items. The two chaperones began their roundtrip hike at noon and finished at approximately 7:30 PM. Students were happy to recover their lost items.

In the morning, students were assigned chaperones and were expected to help with various work crews in and around the church. Mr. Scoles invited his group to help him change a leaky faucet in the church’s downstairs kitchen. Mr. Snelling’s group cleaned the bathroom and mopped the floor. The work that was completed did not compensate for the church’s generosity, but it helped to show our gratitude in a small way.

After working, students left with their respected chaperones to explore Monterey. Many students visited Colton Hall (http://www.monterey.org/museum/) where a guide spoke to them about California statehood. It was in this hall that the constitution of California was drafted. Many official documents were on display. Next, students visited the original jail of Monterey (http://www.monterey.org/museum/jail.html) and the Old Monterey Chapel, both located near Colton Hall.

Adventure Ed students then caught MST bus number one to Pacific Grove, located in northwest Monterey. There the group visited Los Pinos Lighthouse (http://www.pgmuseum.org/Lighthouse.htm), one of the oldest operating lighthouses in the country. The students then walked to Lover’s Point. At the beach, students explored tide pools loaded with hermit crabs, sea anemones and small fish. Past the tide pools, students discovered several large rocks that they enjoyed climbing on. After exploring Lover’s Point, the group caught the bus to downtown, prepared to walk back to the church.

After a full day of exploration, the group reconvened at St. Timothy Lutheran. The group boiled water and ate their freeze-dried dinners as a cost saving measure.

California Trip - April 7, 2006

After waking up at St. Timothy Lutheran Church, the Adventure Ed group walked to the Monterey Public Library. Students and chaperones had a chance to escape into a good book. Many students took advantage of the free internet access offered at the library. Ms. Brereton, a parent chaperone, and Mr. Snelling had made ham and baloney sandwiches at the church. Everyone enjoyed eating them on the sunny library deck. At approximately 1:00 PM, the group walked to the Monterey Sports Center (http://www.monterey.org/sportscenter/). The students spent the better part of the day swimming, sliding down the water slide, playing basketball and enjoying fierce ping-pong battles. At around 6:00 PM, students took a break from all the activities and walked to the local McDonald’s. Because everyone was on a tight budget, the “Dollar Menu” items were favored. After eating, the Adventure Ed group walked back to the sports center for more activities. Everyone enjoyed hot showers. At approximately 9:00 PM, students hiked back to St. Timothy Lutheran. Students were becoming accustomed to being active on the trip.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

California Trip - April 6, 2006

The weather in the Ventana Wilderness was too unpredictable. The group’s focus shifted to exploring Monterey and the surrounding area. The students awoke early and prepared to find out what Monterey had to offer for the days ahead. The majority of the group hiked to the Monterey Harbor (http://www.monterey.org/harbor/) and stopped in at the Harbormaster building. Maps were provided as well as tips on where to go and what to see in Monterey. The group was told that people under sixteen years of age could fish without a permit. This was good news to many in the class. Several students tried their hand at fishing off the Municipal Wharf (http://www.monterey.org/harbor/wharf2.html) near the Harbormaster building.

After lunch, the group took advantage of the warm, sunny skies and played a game of “Ultimate Frisbee” at the Monterey Bay Park. The game drew the attention of a local television network. The pair of journalists were out to capture people enjoying a rare, sunny day in Monterey. Students in the group told them that they had spent the night before in the sleet at Big Pines camp. The television crew was delighted at their luck, and for the next hour the cameras rolled. Extensive footage was taken of the Frisbee game. The news crew then began interviewing individuals. The group was willing to comply.

After the interviews were over, the group walked to the Monterey Sports Center (http://www.monterey.org/sportscenter/). The group was very impressed with the facility and decided to spend a large portion of the following day there. The Adventure Ed class was able to take advantage of a reduced rate of $3.00 per person for the entire day!

After stopping at the Monterey Sports Center, the group walked to a public park on the banks of Lake El Estero (http://www.mtycounty.com/pgs-parks/parks-mty/estro.html). Students saw fishermen with their limit of five Dolly Varden and decided to try their hand. According to one local, the lake had just been stocked. The Frisbee was taken out and a “Flyers Up” game started. Another part of the group, who had visited the mall, joined the majority of the group at this time.

Because the group would be swimming at the sports center the next day, the class walked several miles to the local Goodwill. Many purchased $3.00 swimsuits. The group then walked back to St. Timothy Lutheran and enjoyed the lasagna and salad that the church provided. The entire group was very thankful for their generosity.

Friday, April 14, 2006

California Trip - April 4 - 5, 2006

Adventure Ed students caught the Carmel Valley school bus from St. Timothy Lutheran Church to Los Padres Dam. The group experienced sun and rain on the bus ride in. It started raining when the group reached the area of the dam. Students pulled out umbrellas and put on ponchos.

The group began the hike to Big Pines camp. Everyone experienced rainy conditions throughout the day with short breaks of sun. Andrea fell and cut her knee shortly after we began the hike. The group stopped and made a shelter with umbrellas. Mr. Scoles and Mr. Snelling, both chaperones on the trip, treated Andrea’s cut. The small cut was treated with antibiotic ointment and a bandage. The group headed up the trail. Students climbed a switchback trail to the top of Blue Rock Ridge. Hikers had to beware of poison oak during this portion of the trail. Raymo put his leggings on shortly after beginning this portion of the trail. Raymo was the only student to experience the effects of poison oak during the trip. Students stayed with adult chaperones throughout the hike. Breaks were taken at regular intervals. Students were encouraged to eat and drink frequently.

Three students, who were hiking with Mr. Snelling, made camp early. These students were Raymo, who was recovering from the flu, Stephan and Guy. The group used a combination of sleeping pads, sleeping bags, tarps and tube tents to make their camp. Mr. Snelling radioed ahead and told the other chaperones that he was pitching camp early.

At 4:00 PM the other sixteen students and chaperones arrived at Big Pines camp. It was not raining at the time of arrival. Mr. Bergquist set up tube tents. Many students had wet clothes. Students were told to change wet clothing and climb into sleeping bags inside their tube tents. After students were settled, Mr. Lars Bergquist and Mr. Scoles left Big Pines camp to help Mr. Snelling set up camp below. At about 4:30 PM it began to rain at Big Pines camp. This rain continued until 6:00 PM when the rain turned to sleet. The precipitation alternated between rain and sleet throughout the night with occasional breaks. Mr. Bergquist and Mr. Lars Bergquist checked in with students throughout the night. At 4:00 AM, Mr. Bergquist told students that they would be heading back down the trail at daybreak. At approximately 7:00 AM, Mr. Bergquist told students to get dressed, pack their bags and get ready to go.

The group spent approximately four hours in route to the dam, which included breaks for water and food. As forecast, the day was mild with many sun breaks, which the students stopped to enjoy. The Cachagua Fire Department (http://www.cachaguafire.com) met the group at the trailhead. The hikers were pleasantly surprised to see them. They were a marvelous group of people who supplied the Adventure Ed group with dry clothes, hot beverages and soup.

The Carmel Valley school bus took the Adventure Ed group back to Monterey’s St. Timothy Lutheran Church. Students took wet, dirty clothes to the Laundromat across the street from the church. There the students met two twins, Ellen and Elaine, who the whole group would get to know as being extremely caring individuals. The “Laundry Twins” provided the class with extra time at the Laundromat, food and well wishes for the remainder of the trip.

California Trip - April 3, 2006

Students woke early in the morning on the train. Many ate breakfast in the dining car. The viewing car was a popular spot during the entire trip. Students enjoyed peering out the large picture windows. The game “Pass the Pigs” was an unexpected highlight. The train arrived at Salinas train station at approximately 5:30 PM. The train had lost about six hours during the trip. Time was lost due to heavy freight on the lines. After exiting from the train, students walked about four blocks to the Salinas Transit Center. The Adventure Ed class caught the Monterey/Salinas Transit (MST) route number 20 to Monterey Transit Plaza. From the transit plaza, the group walked approximately one-and-a-half miles to St. Timothy Lutheran Church (http://www.sttim.org/). After checking into the church, students practiced using their emergency stoves to boil water for their freeze-dried dinners. After cleanup, the group unrolled their sleeping pads, crawled in their sleeping bags and went to sleep.

California Trip - April 2, 2006

Adventure Ed students woke up at 6:00 AM in the Langley Middle School Library. After cleaning up, everyone boarded the bus. The group then caught the 7:30 AM ferryboat bound for Mukilteo. We arrived at King Street Station (http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/travel/seattle/s31.htm) in Seattle at approximately 9:00 AM. The train was delayed so students and chaperones had the opportunity to explore the Pioneer Square Area. Mr. Lars Bergquist, a Seattle Public schoolteacher and chaperone on the trip, led students to Occidental Park (http://www.cityofseattle.net/parks/parkspaces/occident.htm). This historic park proved to be a high interest area where students were eager to snap off several pictures. The Adventure Ed class boarded the Coast Starlight train and left Seattle at approximately 11:20 AM bound for Salinas, California. Students busied themselves on the train by working on math homework, socializing with friends and enjoying the scenery of the west coast. That night, students slept in the overhead luggage racks as well as across and under their assigned seats.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

California Trip – April 1, 2006

Adventure Ed students spent April Fool’s evening in the Langley Middle School Library. Students arrived at 8:00 PM with all of their gear packed for the trip. Mr. Bergquist and Mr. Snelling checked bags for several hours. Students kept busy by working on homework assignments, watching a movie or socializing with friends in the class. When told it was time for bed, students took out their sleeping bags, grabbed couch pillows and unrolled their sleeping pads in an attempt to get a few hours sleep.