The first destination for the eighth grade class during their Outdoor Education spring trip week was the Hummocks Loop Trail, where they saw firsthand the recovery of the Toutle River valley since the 1980 eruption, and enjoyed beautiful views of Mt. St. Helens. They also stopped at Johnston Ridge Observatory before heading to the campground. The group headed to the south side of the mountain, and found their way to the next campsite – a bit of National Forest near Marble Mountain Sno-Park.
Next up: Ape Caves, which turned out to be one of the great highlights of the adventure! Two Forest Service rangers led students through the caves, sharing interesting stories and facts about the history, geology, and ecology of the caves. From there, they headed to the lodge, and enjoyed beautiful weather (and beds! running water! couches!) for the rest of the trip. Wednesday evening concluded with some raucous games in the orchard, followed by a bit of story time in the living room before bed.
Students designed many of the activities throughout the trip, and lots of fun was had by all!
Our eighth grade trip guides are grateful to have shared this experience with the students, and to have been part of their Westside School Middle School experience. They have built a remarkable and very entertaining community that will be missed next year!