Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Washington Coast Hike - June 17, 2006

Seventh grade Adventure Education students woke up at 7:30 AM. The group ate and broke camp. Students experienced a light drizzle as they started working their way toward Cape Alava at 9:15 AM.

The group encountered a tricky headland at the northernmost point of Yellow Banks. This headland was impassible the afternoon before due to the height of the tide. This time, the tide was low and the group was able to access the rocky route around this large obstacle. Students moved slowly on the slippery rocks and passed through two tunnels before immerging on the beach north of Yellow Banks.

The group enjoyed an easy, two-mile walk to Sand Point. After arriving, an enormous rock was spotted off the end of the point. Students and chaperones scrambled up the trail to the top. The view was amazing. All group members pulled out snacks and enjoyed resting while admiring the captivating surroundings. Cell phone service was found to be quite good and those that wanted to called home. Shortly after the calls were completed, the group headed down the trail and up the beach toward Cape Alava.

The three-mile trek to Cape Alava was fairly smooth. Several breaks were taken along the way.

After reaching the cape, a beautiful, grassy, sunlit site was found. Students set up their tents, hung sleeping bags and other damp items in the surrounding trees and prepared to scout out the area.

Several groups walked north up the beach in search of old native sites. On the way, the Makah-Ozette ranger station was discovered. The station had not been in service for some time. Further north, an open, shed-like structure was found. Upon entering, chaperones and students alike were amazed. The structure had at its center a Makah Nation memorial plaque. The plaque indicated that this sacred place was made to honor the proud people of the Makah Nation. The small structure was filled with whale, bear and shark bones as well as interesting stones, a mask and fishing nets. After spending time pondering this interesting place, the group walked north up the beach.

Mr. Scoles was found further up the beach. He pointed out a shell and bone midden where the Makah people once lived. Over the course of the day, each Adventure Education student had a chance to sift through a small portion of a side hill where ancient human debris could be unearthed. Different types of bones, including that of the whale were easily found. Also common were blackened, cracked firestones. Several students kept small whalebones as souvenirs. After exploring these ancient human leavings, the group headed back to the campsite.

At the campsite, things were getting interesting. A pesky raccoon was bold enough to walk into camp and start searching through backpacks. Several items were stolen. A number of students decided to have “coon” for dinner. Rocks were sharpened and bound to the ends of sticks. Coal was taken out of the dead fire pit and applied to faces. Food was laid out in strategic areas in an attempt to bait the thief. Patience was exercised in the tall grasses. Keen eyes swept the area, fingers ran along freshly sharpened spear points and sweat flowed freely in anticipation of the kill.

Although several spears flew, the raccoon was wise to the efforts of the proud Adventure Education hunters. Not a piece of fur was misplaced when the day drew to a close. Students laid down their weapons at approximately 9:30 PM. Words were spoken in hushed voices about the possibility of a late night hunt, but sleep eventually conquered all.

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