Cleveland's Outing to Issaquah Alps & Lake Sammamish State Park

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Cleveland STEM High School
Saturday, October 5, 2019
Trip Types:
Hiking, Other
Hiking in the Issaquah Alps – we will select a trailhead based on weather conditions

Water Play @ Lake Sammamish State Park – If the weather is warm enough, we plan to spend time wading & swimming in Lake Sammamish in the afternoon. If the water is too cold, we’ll do a longer hike in the Issaquah Alps or spend time exploring the rest of the park.
We started the morning at the school, munching on breakfast bagel sandwiches and distributing gear while students arrived. We did a brief round of introductions (including favorite food) then outlined our expectations for the day - including giving students brief descriptions of two possible hiking options to think about during our drive to Issaquah.

We loaded up the vans around 9 am and make good time getting to the High Point Trail Head. We were able to park all three vans in the lot (we'd been prepared to drop students off with half of the leaders and park the vans out on the road). We congregated in the Education Shelter and set up a lunch assembly line, allowing students to make their own sandwiches and select their preferred fruits and snacks. This was also an opportunity for a quick stop at the restroom. Once everyone's lunch was packed, we returned extra food items to the vans and took a vote regarding our hike. Option 1: West Tiger Mountain Peak #3 Option 2: Talus Rocks. Most of the students were neutral, so the peak hike won by a slim margin and off we went.

We ended up hiking in three groups. Angie and Robbie took the lead with 6 of the students. Karen and Malena took the middle group with 2 of the students. Allison and Moa ran sweep and ended up turning around at the 2.1 mi mark with 1 student.

The majority of the students ate lunch in the clearing at the peak, enjoying the antics of several bold gray jays. We had a long conversation about why feeding the birds - or any wild animals - is prohibited and spent some time talking about the LNT principles and how they help us enjoy the wilderness. We were even able to spread the word to some of the other hikers resting at the peak. We took a series of group pictures, double-checked our surroundings for forgotten food scraps and trash, and then headed back to the trail head.

We made good time down the trail and were able to pile into the vans and head to Lake Sammamish State Park for the rest of the afternoon.

We reconvened at Tibbetts Beach for some water play. 8 of the 9 students waded in and played around in the water. One leader took the plunge too. The rest of us stood in the shallows or on the beach to avoid the epic splash war. At one point, a bald eagle soared directly overhead, giving everyone a moment of awe. We dried off by playing some frisbee on the lawn and playing around on one of the play structures - I think there was a push-up contest at one point? A few students had neglected to bring a change of clothes for after the water, so ended up wearing ICO rain pants instead. If you are thinking about a water play/swimming outing, Lake Sammamish State Park is a great option. But definitely confirm that students have towels and/or a change of clothes for after the water! The students were so excited about the water, it never occurred to us that not all of them had necessarily been planned or prepared for this part of the trip!

We did our closing circle on the playground and then loaded up the vans to head back to school. A successful first trip of the 2019-20 school year! And the weather cooperated beautifully.