Cleveland's Outing to Snoqualmie Tunnel & Snoqualmie Falls

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Cleveland STEM High School
Saturday, October 7, 2017
Trip Type:
Meet at the school for breakfast, gear distribution, name game/icebreaker, and expectations. Drive to Hyak and hike through the Snoqualmie Tunnel - Mouth Lightening midway through & glow sticks on the way back. Eat lunch on the far side before walking back. Depending on time and weather, drive from Snoqualmie Pass down to Snoqualmie Falls for a quick trek to the falls and some pictures. Hopefully, the elk herd will be in the fields between North Bend and Snoqualmie too. Drive back to school.
This was the inaugural trip for a new Cleveland High School team! We met at the school at 8:30 am for breakfast (note: cream cheese and jam on bagels did not fly with the high school crowd! I guess they've outgrown the combo??) and had the students outfit themselves with gear - prepping for rain and also cold. We also did brief introductions (of ourselves, but also ICO, since the program is new to Cleveland this year) and an overview of the day's expectations before loading 6 students and 2 adults into each van. There was no access to the school this morning and several students did not think they could wait an hour to use the bathroom, so the van drivers consulted prior to leaving the school and decided a stop at a gas station in Issaquah made the most sense. This ended up being a longer detour than expected due to Issaquah Salmon Days - traffic and road closures for the parade - but the students did not seem to mind. Once we got parked at Hyak, students packed up their lunches and put on their rain gear. It started raining in earnest just as we started for the tunnel. We stopped at the tunnel entrance for a few group photos and then plunged into the dark! We stopped a couple times to check in as a group and turn off our headlamps to see how truly dark it was, but mostly kept moving. On the far side, we were able to tuck ourselves out of the rain in a covered area just north of the tunnel entrance. We served hot cocoa and apple cider with lunch and passed out glow stick bracelets for the trip back. The students had a great time making glow stick chain jewelry - headbands, long necklaces, etc.. Several students used the pit toilet on this side of the tunnel too. Throughout the trip back, we used primarily our glow sticks, rather than headlamps to light the way. We stopped about halfway through the tunnel to pair up and chomp on Wintergreen LiveSavers for the Mouth Lightening activity. Only one errant wrapper was found when we swept the area by headlamp after the students started hiking again! And it was picked up by the leader. Leave No Trace!! The students were really good about that!! We passed Mercer Middle School shortly after Mouth Lightening (and shared some mints with them too). Fun to see another ICO group in the dark!! A couple students were pretty slow moving in the tunnel, seeming to be overly focused on the tracing made by their glow sticks.But, we all made it through in about an hour. After loading into the vans, we headed back toward Seattle, with a very short detour to see Snoqualmie Falls. Due to the detour through Issaquah on the way to the trailhead, we did not have quite as much time at Snoquamlie Falls - so it was just a viewing, no extra time for hiking. We made it back to the school just after 4 pm. Students separated their gear and took Mr. Gandy's code for the Remind101 Cleveland ICO group so they could stay in touch for future trips! All in all a good day.