Monday, November 26, 2007

Washington Coast Hike - October 13 - 17, 2007

In mid-October, Adventure Education students spent five successful days on the rugged Washington coast. Students experienced sun, clouds, rain and wind over the course of the trip. Highlights included a moonlight/headlight hike, an oyster feed (courtesy of Mr. Sage), an epic downpour and the comfort of an open beach-fire. Students’ comments follow:

I learned that taking the patience to make a fire and dry all my stuff, like my shoes and socks, could help me stay comfortable.
- Sam D

I learned about myself, that I won’t let my body give out when I’m halfway there and won’t stop until everyone else does. Something else I learned about was my fears and how to face them, like my fear of heights.
- Quintin

The Washington coast hike has given me long lasting memories. I hope that someday, I can experience another trip as fun, difficult, informative and fulfilling as the Washington coast.
- Tommy

I didn’t learn one main thing, I learned many things and they were all about people on the trip. I got to know people better. I know what their afraid of and how they respond to being scared. I got to see what people like Jessica look like without make up. Without their hair always being perfectly straightened or curly or just having it up in a pony and having it still look good. To see what the guys looked like without their fancy shoes and nice t-shirts and Quicksilver jackets. But in rain gear, gloves, boots, beanies, sweatpants, and seeing them wear socks that are something we are never going to wear to school because of the length. Just learning about all of these different people made a difference. That people do survive without their precious material things.
- Brittany

This whole trip has really changed my perspective on hiking and some parts of history.
- Grace

I was in awe to wake up to the beautiful beach and the sound of the waves...
- John

The godly Pacific made me feel small in its presence.
- Sam L

I miss being out there already and I hope to visit the same spots throughout the rest of my life. The sights I saw are hard to describe in words which is why I recommend that you take a trip out to the Washington coast.
- Riley

The most important thing I learned on this trip was how to never give up.
- Will

It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I will remember it for the rest of my life.
- Jesse

“One man travels alone in the dark with a lantern, and stumbles upon the rocks. Two men travel together without lights and find a trail.” In Adventure Ed. everybody works together. We help each other out and help guide the way. Teamwork is key...
- Jessica

I learned that you always need to be prepared for the worst, and have enough warm dray clothes to last. You also need fire materials, to make a fire if it’s cold and windy.
- Daniel

The most important thing I learned over this five day trip would have to be doing things by myself. There was two adults in each group but we had to do basically everything by ourselves. Another thing that I learned and probably everyone else did too was how to live without electronics. We learned that we don’t have to have iPod or cellphones to live. Even thoug we missed having them we knew we could live without. Since we didn’t have any music we sang a lot.
- Brianna

I learned a lot of things on this trip. I learned how to make a good fire in the rain. I also learned how to work as a group with people I don’t know very well.
- Jimmy P


Many thanks to Charlie Snelling, Tom Sage and Sarah Diers. Your leadership made this hike another success.


Nels Bergquist

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Mount Pilchuck Hike - September 21, 2007

Upholding a challenging tradition, Adventure Education students reached the summit of Mount Pilchuck today. The six-mile hike was enjoyed by all. Lunch was backpacked to the summit and eaten in the fire lookout tower at the top. The chilly, windy conditions on the summit did not discourage students from carefully exploring the peak. While descending the mountain, students whistled “The Bridge Over the River Kwai” theme. This tune helped to set a moderate hiking pace. Students’ comments follow:

All the ups and downs are the ingredients for a learning experience. I learned that the great outdoors are the gateways to a great life. When I was on top of that mountain I thought of school, and where I could be. At the summit of Mount Pilchuck I learned that learning about people and places is better when you are there. When you experience something first hand you learn so much more.
- Sam L.

…it was one of the best experiences of my life!
- Jesse

The way up was very hard. It was exhausting because it was all up hill. My legs got tired towards the end and they were really tired but when I saw the top I didn’t want to stop and the pain went away. I don’t think I could have made it to the top without any friends.
- Jimmy

The most important thing I learned was how beautiful the Cascades are and how lucky we are to have these beautiful forests in Washington. When I saw the spectacular view I immediately fell in love with it and I didn’t want to leave. I think Mount Pilchuck is a place I will visit a lot throughout my life.
- Riley

After journaling, we found a trail that led to the tippy-top. I felt like I could see the world. The echo was intense; it traveled through the mountains like the wind when it blows through the trees, crisp and easy to define.
- Jessica

I feel proud of myself for finishing the hike, even though it was challenging at times. I learned that I have the determination it takes to do something like that and succeed in something I set my mind to.
- Daniel

Climbing Mt. Pilchuck was truly spectacular.
- Tommy

Since this was my first hike it helped me prepare for my big adventure in October when we head out to the west coast.
- Brittany

I have a much better perspective on mother nature and how beautiful it is. I now really understand about recycling and pollution because if seeing the mountain with trash everywhere it would be devastating. I also think the pollution could have made the sky all groggy and ugly looking. It was nice to get away from all the sounds of cars, sounds, phones, and it was nice to just listen to the wind and nature around us all.
- Patrick P.

The Mt. Pilchuck experience was one that took me out of my general comfort zone and encouraged me to continue to branch out and try different things. I think the most important thing that I learned falls under the category of what I learned about other people. The most important thing I learned was that a task like this affects everyone differently. I learned that some people learn to cope with some tasks differently than others. I also learned that sometimes the way they deal with things can be very entertaining. Like some people like to whistle or sing songs to pass time away.
- Devan

I learned many things on my climb. But one thing will definitely stick with me: that my body’s capable of going even when I’m convinced that I can’t go any further. When I was about fifteen minutes from summiting Mount Pilchuck my legs stopped for a second and felt like they would give out. It took everything I had left to get them to start churning again. My legs ached and burned with every step. But my body just kept going. That really taught me something about my mental strength.
- Sam D.

The most important thing I learned on the trip was to never give up. When I was the most tired and when I felt like giving up I didn’t. When I got to the top it paid off to not give up. Now I will never give up ever again in my life because I know it will pay off in the end.
- Patrick R.

I’m sad that it’s over. Maybe I will go again with my family and enjoy the experience again. Also I will stay a little longer. It would be easier too because there would be less people to look out for. I have to say this again, but I cannot wait until we go to the Washington coast because I’ve heard it is the best hike in the Northwest and I like hiking, so it will be good for me. I also get to be away from most people for five days. Adventure Ed is the best class.
- Quintin

Being with my school friends in a different environment, in an outside classroom, definitely made the learning experience more exciting.
- Grace


A special thanks to Mr. Snelling, Micah and Katie. Your guidance and passion enriched this experience beyond my expectations.

Nels Bergquist

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Washington Coast Hike - May 6 - 11, 2007

Recently, the Adventure Education class spent six days (five nights) on the Washington coast. Over the course of the trip, each student walked a twenty-five mile stretch of rugged coastline. The highlight for me, personally, was barbecuing fresh muscles on a grill we found at Cedar Creek. As usual, students exceeded my expectations. Below you will find excerpts from students’ reflection essays:

The trip had many good times, but the best part would have to be bonding with people I wouldn’t usually spend time with. You got to know people so much better spending six days away from civilization challenging yourself into being hardcore. You got to see sides of people they wouldn’t usually show at school, whether that’s a good thing or bad is up to you. We all got closer in one way or another. It’s an experience that I gained from both friends and strength. The memories you can never forget. Now I have better friends and we have all seen each other not with a gallon of make up on and for who we really are not just who we act like at school. I think that’s what made us all like each other that much more and instead of being individuals on a mission we became a group full of friends; who helped each other accomplish things we wouldn’t normally do.
- Alexandra

I wanted to quit several times, but knew I had to keep going, because that was the way to the end. I learned to make the most of every situation, because everything that happened there was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
- Samantha

The most important thing that I learned on the Washington coast was that I can go a week without my good stuff. Things such as my Ipod, tv, computer, cell phone, warm and soft bed, working toilet and shower.
- Jasylyn

Just from going on the trip I am so much more hard core…
- Avery

I have never been backpacking before. I discovered that I love it. I really enjoyed being in the outdoors for so many days in a row. Even the rain didn’t bother me. I thought the hiking would be difficult but I enjoyed the challenge. I am planning to go on another hiking trip this summer. I also liked the research we did on the Washington coast prior to our trip. It made the trip more interesting to see all the places we had learned about. The hike to the Washington coast was the highlight of my school year. I think every student should have a chance to go on a trip like this.
- Ben

I’ll tell you from recently doing this grueling 25 miles, it was a life changing experience.
- Erin

I have never been on an adventure as special as this one. From eating fresh mussels and climbing high cliffs to exploring dark caves and going swimming this hike was one of the most amazing adventures I have ever been on. I wish that I could put how awesome the trip was in better words but that would be to hard so I recommend you go on the Washington coast hike because it is an adventure you surely wouldn’t forget.

I learned a lot on this trip, had a great time, and also had some challenges that were tough but I did fine in the end. That’s why I would call this one of the best experiences of my life. I’ll probably remember this trip forever and always be happy that I decided to sign up for the adventure education class.
- Dylan

The things that I learned was that I can live without a lot of stuff that I have at home for a week or more. I have to say I did not like going without a shower for a week and not having a bathroom but I would do it again.
- Jasmine

Cedar Creek was the nicest of all our campsites. On a hill in Cedar Creek there was a huge rope swing. Me and a few friends in our group decided to try it out. I sat there for about five minutes scared to death. Finally I just said ok 1-2-3! And I went soaring over the huge hill. It was so sweet.
- Robert

This trip is probably going to be the big highlight in the rest of my life.
- Aren

I became friends with people I never thought I would be friends with. I loved how everywhere I looked it was so incredibly beautiful! That is a trip I am never going to forget.
- Kaylea

The biggest thing I learned was not to care about how my hair was or how my make up looked. At the beginning of the hike I was scared that I was going to look bad, but something hit me in the middle of the trip and I thought to myself, we’re all out here for the same reason to get the hike experience and no one really cares about how you looked. I stopped worrying so much and I began to enjoy the scenery around me. That’s when I really started to feel like I was getting the most out of the hike. It has helped me at school a lot because I don’t worry as much about the way I look because I mean no one cares. They all look the same and its you they want, not your looks or the way your hair is.
- Leah

The best part was exploring…
- Nathan

The most important thing I learned on this trip would be a hard thing to say. I would have to say it would be how to live on my own if there were no houses, stores or mom or dad to take care of me. I will remember this trip forever.
- Evan

So where do I sign up for the next one?
- Tamara


Many thanks to Charlie Snelling, Rocco Gianni and Gena Kraha. The success of Adventure Education at LMS is due, in a large part, to knowledgeable leaders such as yourselves.


Nels Bergquist

Monday, April 30, 2007

Lake Twenty-Two Hike - April 30, 2007

This morning, Adventure Education students shouldered their day-hike bags and hiked to the snow-covered shores of Lake Twenty-Two. The trail, located just outside Granite Falls, offered spectacular views of cascading waterfalls, old growth cedar and rugged alpine peaks. Lunch was enjoyed from a picturesque spot on the lake. Hot chocolate was sipped and brownies were devoured before descending to the trailhead. The five-and-a-half miles were enjoyed by all.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Lavender Planting - April 26, 2007

Today, Adventure Education students rolled up their sleeves and spent the period planting lavender in the flowerbeds along Camano Avenue. Langley Middle School PTSA provided students with tools, soil and plants. Thank you, PTSA, for allowing Adventure Education to take part in this project!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Ten New MSR "Pocket Rocket" Stoves - Thank You PTSA!

Langley Middle School Adventure Education would like to thank the PTSA for the ten MSR "Pocket Rocket" stoves that they purchased for us. Sleeping partners will use these stoves for years to come on Adventure Education trips. These stoves fit with our lightweight backpacking focus. The "Pocket Rockets" could not have been purchased without PTSA's help. We will think of you when heating our evening meals far from home...

Nels Bergquist

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Santa Barbara/Santa Cruz Island Trip – January 10 – 19, 2007

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The LMS Adventure Education class recently returned from a ten-day trip to Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz Island, California. This first-semester, culminating trip focused on a balance between wilderness and urban exploration. Students had the opportunity to ride the Amtrak Coast Starlight train and spend three nights (four days) on Santa Cruz Island. The group also had the opportunity to spend three days exploring the city of Santa Barbara.

On Wednesday, January 10, students boarded the Coast Starlight train and left King Street train station bound for Santa Barbara. Train highlights included enjoying scenery while looking out of the viewing car, eating in the dining car, conversing with other passengers and interviewing the train conductor. Because Adventure Education always rides coach, students slept two total nights on the floor of the train.

After reaching Santa Barbara, the group gained access to Santa Cruz Island via an Island Packers catamaran. The ride was approximately one hour each way. Catamaran highlights included ocean waves that broke cleanly off the sides of the bow, seawater spouting out of a pressure cave on the shore of Santa Cruz Island and a pod of one thousand dolphins.

The class camped for three nights on Santa Cruz Island. Mornings and evenings were chilly. Afternoons were pleasant with temperatures in the mid-60’s. Highlights included a seven-mile hike to Smugglers Cove. At the cove, students found an abandoned ranch house that was built in 1889. Growing outside of the house were orange and lemon trees. Students and chaperones helped themselves to the fresh, delicious fruit. Other highlights included hikes to Potato Harbor and into Scorpion Canyon. Views from the island were spectacular.

The group returned to the mainland and spent three nights at Carpinteria State Beach. Days were spent in the city of Santa Barbara. Highlights included exploring the courthouse, the Santa Barbara Mission and the local library. Students were able to complete a large portion of their schoolwork in the Santa Barbara library. Essays and spelling tests were written and taken at the library. This work was emailed to teachers at Langley Middle School on or before the due dates.

The Santa Barbara/Santa Cruz Island trip offered students many new and exciting learning experiences. Memorable, coming-of-age activities are necessary for every middle school student. Experiences, such as those encountered on Adventure Education trips, form the foundation for academic interest in the classroom. Students’ comments follow:

This trip was a great experience which I think every kid should have during his childhood years. It will make you stronger physically and mentally as students in my class have suddenly found out. Mainly, my point is that Adventure Ed students have a head start on life because of this building of the mind and body.
- Van

One of the most fantastic things I’ve ever done in my life was sleeping under the stars. It has been one of my life dreams to do that. Well, this started when Lars and Mr. B started a small group. I never thought I would be going to the top of this hill to sleep. Then that spark of my life long dream hit me. Before I knew it, I was packing a small bag for the night. Then, before I knew it, I was on top looking for a spot to sleep and running from skunk. Next, I was in my sleeping bag, staring at the magnificent stars. About one hour past then a huge meteor lit the sky burning like a heating stove, amazingly large. Hours past by. It must have been five hours later when I saw the most amazing things in the sky. Meteors everywhere! I fell asleep for around one hour. Then the sun began to rise. It was amazingly beautiful. There are only a few other things more beautiful…
- Zach

This was my first trip to this part of California, and it certainly won’t be the last.
- Evan

The best part of the trip was the scenery. It was so amazing and different. It was an incredible experience. I will never forget the memories. From the rolling hills of Santa Cruz Island to the court house in Santa Barbara, it was unbelievable…
- Alex

One day after returning from the city, Michael and I walked over to our tent. We took one glance and walked away knowing what had just happened. A rat had entered our tent earlier in the day and had torn a hole in my boxers and ripped a roll of toilet paper all over our tent. There was so much toilet paper scattered around our tent that Michael and I had to reassure ourselves that it hadn’t just snowed…
- Olin

This was the first time I had seen dolphins. It was so fun seeing them jump out of the water and run under the water right in front of the boat.
- Colin

I thought the part of the trip that was most fun was the fruit. One day we took a seven-mile round trip hike that rewarded us with these huge oranges, lemons and tangerines...
- William

I learned how I can do things on my own and not have my parents do everything for me.
- Channy

This class has everything, like a chance to go somewhere for a change. Not only that, we still do regular stuff in the classroom like homework and projects. The California trip was a great experience. This trip basically awakened me to what is in store for possible trips in the future.
- Blake

Now that the trip is over, I wish it was just beginning…
- Katie


A heartfelt thanks to Charlie Snelling, Lars Bergquist and Gena Kraha. Your determined leadership made this trip another success.

Nels Bergquist