- 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.
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…
This was my first trip to this part of California, and it certainly won’t be the last.
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…
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…
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.
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...
I learned how I can do things on my own and not have my parents do everything for me.
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.
Now that the trip is over, I wish it was just beginning…
A heartfelt thanks to Charlie Snelling, Lars Bergquist and Gena Kraha. Your determined leadership made this trip another success.