Outdoor Program MS
Saturday morning we rolled out of the city and into the woods of Opal Creek. The three mile hike in was an adventure of mine exploration, cold water dips, lunch picnics, and games as we walked deeper into the largest contiguous area of low elevation old growth in Oregon. We took the slightly longer single track path along the river where we got to peer over an edge and down into the wild chasm of Opal Pool! Strolling into Jawbone Flats we were immediately transported back in time to Oregon’s mining heydays. Our cabin, one of the oldest in the camp, was the perfect home for our weekend. We moved into the upstairs bunk room and went to the meadow to play before dinner.
Then the BEST thing happened! We found a giant tractor tire! Though this may seem like a mundane event at first it was far from it. We learned we could get into the tire and roll one another around, we discovered the thrill of huge tire leap frog and we discovered the best toy of 2013. We snuck in a few rounds of woodsy camouflage. Dizzy and happy we returned to our cabin for a fiesta dinner of tacos and chips and dips.
The sun went down and we returned to the meadow for star gazing and night games under the moon and under the watch of the ancient forest. Morning found us slowly waking up, making breakfast, enjoying hot drinks on the porch by the stream, and slowly coming to life. We ate fresh fruits and cereals and embarked on our hike up to Ruth Mine where we mined for Pyrite and snacked before heading back to the meadow for a farewell to our beloved tire and a picnic lunch. On the hike out we played frisbee continuously and stopped for a final camouflage showdown before arriving at our bus, loading up, and sleeping and laughing with new friends all the way home.
The drive to the coast was filled with songs and string games as we cruised over the coast range and South to Beverly Beach. We arrived, grabbed our lunches and ran out the the beach where we picnicked, played in the waves, had a mud ball fight, jump roped with seaweed and played games. Wet and happy we returned to camp to rinse our feet in warm water and move into our three yurts.
Once we settled in and got dry we headed inland to hike through the old growth forest where we found huge trees like castles that we could climb up and hide in! We played camouflage and made forest crowns. After our hike we returned to our yurts to get ready for our costume party dinner where we had Ninjas, Boys, and Slumber partiers in attendance! We ate tostadas and built a fire to roast marshmallows on and make s’mores. To run out our s'more energy we headed out to the beach where we lit sparklers and wrote in the darkness under the gaze of the Yaquina bay light house. Back at the yurts we played games, told stories and talked into the night until sleep found us and the morning came, bringing us a glorious sunny day!
After breakfast we packed up and headed to Otter Rock where the tide was perfect for tide pool exploration where we poked sea anemones, found shell treasures, and had hermit crab races! We decided to break up the drive home with a quick stop in Depoe Bay where we acquainted ourselves with with the local cuisine of many types of popcorn and salt water taffy. Our last stop was Lincoln Beach where we picnicked and played games until all too soon it was time to load back in the bus and sing our way back to Catlin.
What a wonderful way to spend an Oregon weekend! A group of a dozen Catlin Middle Schoolers visited various Worl War II sites surrounding Fort Stevens, including various gun emplacements, ammunition bunkers and lookout stations. After multiple games of hide and seek mixed with history discussions the group spent the afternoon at Fort Clatsop where everyone explored the story of Lewis and Clark's westward journey. On Saturday night we travelled into Astoria for Thai Food before bedding down in our comfortable and warm yurts.
Sunday found the group eating a pancake breakfast and driving across the bridge traversing the Columbia River to Cape Disappointment. We spent most of the day at Fort Canby before heading bck south to Battery Riussell for one final exploration of that site.
Saturday morning weather reports predicted a big snow dump so with eager hearts we piled into the bus in the Portland drizzle, popped in the Bob Marley tape we found, and headed up to Government Camp. We arrived and found Govy gray skied, and lacking new snow. Our spirits were not to be dampened as we checked into the Huckleberry Inn bunk room, ate lunch outside, and bundled up and set out for adventure. First stop was a snow pile and an impromptu snowball fight en route to Skibowl. The lack of snow on the ground may have stopped our tubing plans but not our fun. We carried on to skibowl and went Zip Lining! 3 stories above the ground we zipped and whooped and hollered along the 500’ zip-line with Mt Hood in the sky above us.
Chilly and exhilarated we headed back to the Huckleberry for cocoa and games. At sunset we bundled up again for some night time flashlight camouflage playing which ended in a Pizza party at the Ratskeller!
Back at the Huckleberry we hung out, played games, talked, and wished for a snowy wake up.
Sunday morning: Snow! A small posse headed outside before breakfast to see how much snow was out there and ended up getting interviewed by the news before returning to the inn for breakfast and packing.
Packed up we set out to Trillium Lake with our sleds and hot picnic lunch for a little hike, take no prisoners snow battle and hot lunch picnic under the trees in the snow.
Full and happy we hiked back to the bus and headed back to Portland the weekend a success.
I could hear the bus of 18 singing sixth graders approaching and ran to greet them as they pulled into the dirt driveway of Duyck’s Peachy Pig Farm Saturday afternoon. We unloaded the bus, had a little welcome meeting and helped one another trek our gear through rows of raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries to set up camp. With tents set up in the shade of a row of pine trees we fueled up with a snack and to explore the 6o plus acres of bucolic farmland. We grazed on berries, figs, plums, filberts, fresh corn, and tomatoes. We played on an amazing merry go round, and visited Pigs, week old piglets, goats, a llama, a mini horse, a big horse, chickens, geese, ducks, a cow and an Emu! On our way back to camp be collected fresh veggies for our dinner.
Back at camp we made personal Calzones. Each student made their own dough, filled it with fresh veggies, personalized it, and got back a piping hot hand pie full of farm freshness to dip in marinara sauce!
Night fell and some of us went to start a campfire, others headed up the hill to play capture the flag in the moonlight. As the full moon rose higher in the sky we all came together to the fire to enjoy, s’mores, jokes, and reflections of the day. Tuckered out and well fed we retired to our tents to rest up for another fun filled day on Sunday.
The roosters woke up up around seven, followed by the sound of
giggles in tents as camp stirred to life. We woke up Gracie in her tent with a cupcake, candle, and a round of “Happy Birthday.” Early risers grabbed buckets and headed into the berry patch to collect fresh strawberries and raspberries for our berry crepe breakfast. We worked together to cut the berries and make our crepes. The kitchen was inspired with left-over using creativity and we were soon pumping out self titled “Berry Blast,” “Original Berry,” “Original,” ”S’mores,” and “Plain” varieties!
After breakfast we went to feed the animals. Our hands were tickled by horses lips, we giggled about pig snouts, and had our hears melted by the goats. We played some more and all gathered around Gracie’s beautiful birthday cupcakes and celebrated.
A Scavenger hunt was just the thing to burn off our cupcake energy and we searched the farm high and low for treasures before heading back to camp for fresh veggie pasta lunch.
After lunch we loaded up our gear, hung out with our friend the David Bowie Rooster, and headed to the barn where we met Jacinta who let us hold piglets! It was a real highlight to cradle week old pigs in our arms!
We piled aboard our bus at 10am and headed out to the gorge, after less than an hour of hanging out together on the bus we parked, went over the trip and began hiking switchbacks up the gorge through the tall ferns to Ponytail Falls. This 2.7 mike loop brought us over a bridge above Oneonta Falls (our final destination) where we could peer down into the chasm we would later hike up. We stopped for snacks where the trail led us behind Ponytail Falls and then snaked back down through the forest, finishing our loop through historic Oneonta Tunnel.
After a lunch by the river we began our chasm adventure. The journey starts with a scramble over a log jam. We helped one another over the massive pile of logs and came to our second challenge: chest deep water with sheer cliffs rising on each side. Some of us scaled the walls as long as we could to stay dry, some of us waded the river. Our reward for our bravery was arriving at beautiful Oneonta Falls where we splashed and played until our return to the bus.
On teh ride home we had a storytelling competition for the best Oneonta folklore. The winners were Josephine, Emma, and Hannah with tales of horses, turtles, bison, and snakes and how Oneonta Gorge came to be. They won homemade cookies on Monday at school!
A weekend jaunt brought the Catlin Outdoor Program to the Willamette National Forest for two days of camping and canyoneering in the old-growth drainage of Opal Creek. Donning wetsuits, we descended a three mile section of the creek on Sunday before scrambling up a side creek (and scaling a waterfall or two along the way!) to reach the road above and complete our loop back to the bus. The copper-rich waters of the creek resulted in the most amazing green-blue water imaginable. This beautiful water periodically collects in deep pools along the creek, and, since we were following no trail, we had most of the creek to ourselves on this toasty hot July day! Please enjoy some photos from this adventure.
We couldn't have asked for a better day on the mountain! The wintry weather that had started the month of June dissipated with a gentle wind, and the sun emerged early in the morning on Sunday and would stay with us for the enitre duration of our twelve hour climb. Nine strong, and excited 8th grade graduates joined David Zonana, Mary Green, and Erin Goodling for this year's annual climb of Mount St. Helens. Their hard work payed off, as everyone in our group reached the crater rim, where we soaked up the early afternoon sun and looked out to the surrounding Cascade volcanoes. Mt. Hood, Adams, Rainier, Jefferson, and the craggy Goat Rocks were all exposed and draped in a new layer of late-season snow. While the snow level was higher than last year's climb, the road to the Climber's Bivouac had not yet melted out, forcing us to start our climb from the Marble Mountain Sno-Park. This variation on the climbing route - known as the "Worm Flows" - adds an extra one thousand feet of elevation gain and several trail miles to reach the summit. But that didn't slow down this hearty group! Another climber on the trail remarked to me, as I was literally running to catch the students in the front, "Is that your group way up there?....man, they are MOTORING!"
And motoring, they were! Marty did not sit down once in the seven hours leading up to the summit, Jacob carried a large snow disk to the top (that, at times, doubled as a sail), Sam neglected to wear anything more than a T-shirt, Hayle was simply having an easy time of it all, and Gregor made himself a commitment that "I am going to climb this mountain!" The glissading on the way down was nothing short of spectacular, with one glissade chute even leading over a small cornice that resulted in some hang-time! It was a tremendous effort on everyone's part, and a highly enjoyable day in the sun! Please enjoy some photos from our adventure and a big thank you to Ian, Ethan, Parsa, Nic, Marty, Jacob, Erin, Mary, Hayle, Gregor, and Sam for making this such an incredible and memorable weekend! Happy Summer!
Nine 6th and 7th grade students joined the two Davids from the Outdoor Program and Sara Dier from the Learning Center on a weekend backpacking trip to the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Nick and Miguel had returned from their 7th grade class trip just hours before we departed for our backpacking adventure on Saturday morning, but that wasn't enough to stop them from joining in on the fun. Due to a drippy forecast, and trip reports of muddy trails, we moved the destination for this trip away from the original plan of the Tillamook Head Traverse between Seaside and Cannon Beach. This was a good call, as the trail along the Siouxon Creek is wonderfully maintained, and we harly saw any precipitation at all!
This trip provided the opportunity for many of the students to try out backpacking for the first time, but you could hardly have guessed that that was the case! Between the class trips and other Outdoor Program offerings throughout the year, all of the student participants had gained significant outdoor experience over the past year, and everyone made the transition from car camping to backpacking without any major hurdles. We split up group gear, and did a backpacking tutorial - covering packing a backpack, adjusting the straps, proper foot care, and hiking as a group - before heading off down the trail.
The trail descends right off the bat before crossing West creek on a cool log bridge, and proceeds to flatten out once reaching Siouxon Creek. We stopped at Horseshoe Falls to look at the first of many falls along the trail and to snack on our big bag of trail mix. Alon proved to be quite good at catching M&Ms after throwing them into the air. We put the packs back on, and continued along the wooded, Cascade creek. For its ease of access and beauty, this trail is relatively unknown and we passed many open and inviting campsites before settling in in a wide open spot along the creek. After setting up camp, we headed back on the trail to a rocky beach that we had passed on the way in. We explored the creek shore, skipped rocks and had a rock-throwing competition before heading back to camp to cook our pasta dinner. Some cheesecake and relfections on the day around the fire, rounded out a satisfying day.
Sunday morning started with hot cocoa, oatmeal, and the requisite SPAM. We packed up our personal gear, but left our tents standing as we explored further upstream to see what we could find. The trail winds its way up the verdant gorge, at times passing along dramatic precipices, before reaching another crossing of one of the many tributaries to Siouxon Creek. We crossed the creek on logs, and then explored the rocky shelves that form the rim around the main channel of Siouxon. We then continued a bit farther to discover a large, and spectacular waterfall. We messed around in the splash-zone of the falls and filled waterbottles before heading back down the trail. Multiple rounds of the game "Eagle Eye" were played in a large campsite on the way down the trail, and Marcell was unbeatable as the Eagle.
After our enjoyable side hike, we made it back to camp and finished breaking down tents before heading back toward the trailhead with our full packs. Again, there was nary a complaint as we sang and joked our way down the trail. We stopped for a nice lunch at a viewpoint overlooking another waterfall before powering through the final couple of miles on the trail. Activity bus 21 was loaded up as we exchanged high-fives after a successful trip. We were back on campus by 4:30 on Sunday, ready for the final week of classes, and all the more excited for the start of SUMMER!
Thanks for making this trip great, and enjoy some photos from our adventure:
An adventurous group of upper school students joined the Outdoor Program for an incredible three days in the sun on the John Day River in Eastern Oregon. Over the course of our trip, we floated nearly seventy river miles and completed many side hikes on the second longest undammed river in North America. On Friday, we met at 6am in the Cabell lot, where we loaded the bus with our personal and group gear for the weekend. We headed out of the lot by 6:20, and Pat Selman drove us to the put-in in Clarno, OR, taking I-84 and then heading S on Hwy 97 through Shaniko and Antelope. We met our rafts at the put-in at 10am, and transferred our equipment to dry-bags, coolers and other somewhat waterproof containers. We were momentarily set back when we realized that the rafts needed much more air in them, and we only had small “wonder” pumps (as in, "I wonder why I brought this lousy pump") to top them off with. Once we were loaded up, we had a long safety talk before starting down the river. We put on the river a bit before noon, and started floating in the very swollen river. There were many other boaters putting-in at Clarno. Five miles downriver, we pulled out in an eddy to scout Upper and Lower Clarno Rapids, and to eat lunch. Seth ran the gear boat through a hole in Upper Clarno rapid to see what we could expect with the paddle rafts. It proved not to be a problem, and after spending some more time scouting, we loaded the paddle rafts and ran the most formidable rapids of the trip without any problem! There was a lot of splashing and good excitement. We completed 18 river miles on the first day, and the weather was partly cloudy and beautiful, but we were all getting a bit chilly in the afternoon, as the wind started to kick up. We found a glorious campsite partway through Basalt Rapid, and set up our camp amongst the large juniper trees and beautiful basalt boulders on the shore. We hiked up to a rocky outcropping above camp and took in the wild scenery before playing Bacci ball and feasting on a large spaghetti dinner.
Saturday was a big day, complete with two hikes and thirty-three river miles. The river was pretty docile for this long section of river, but the canyon steepened around us and the scenery was dramatic. The day started with some exciting waves on the remaining portion of Basalt Rapids, and we floated eighteen miles before stopping for lunch and our first hike. We stopped at the eastern tip of Horseshoe Bend and ate lunch before hiking up to the saddle where we could see the river on both sides of us. This was a truly magical place, and the combination of sun, exertion from the hike, and relaxation from the long float created the perfect recipe for a peaceful nap. A few miles downstream Peter’s boat pulled out at Potlatch Canyon to see a panel of petroglyphs. Seth’s boat missed the eddy, but pulled out a few eddies downstream. Peter’s half of the group hiked to the petroglyphs and a side adventure that paid off with the discovery of an old settler’s home that had gone untouched for many years. David and Seth led the other group up a jeep track that looked as though it would connect with Potlatch Canyon. The trail passed a pretty spring and exited Buckskin Canyon before following a contour that headed toward Potlatch. We discovered a full cow skeleton bleached by the sun, and Annika discovered a rattlesnake, up close and personal (complete with a warning rattle!). The trail toward Potlatch looked long, and it was hot, so we headed back to the boats, and Peter’s boat appeared upstream in a matter of minutes. The group pushed on and we floated many miles before pulling out at the distinct Hoot Owl Rock - an impressive formation that sits atop a sharp ridge on the canyon and looks like a hunched bird . We arrived at camp at 6:30pm. We played Bacci ball, cooked an amazing fajita dinner, baked a cake in the dutch oven, and had group refelection time around the fire before bed.
Sunday, we woke early and snacked on cinnamon rolls before breaking down camp. We were pushing the boats off shore before 9am, and we had nineteen miles to cover before reaching the take-out at the Cottonwood Bridge. There is very little whitewater on this stretch of river, and many interested students had the chance to learn how to steer and captain the rafts. We stopped at Owen’s Plain and hiked up to an old windmill and stone corral in the (relatively!) fertile valley. We stopped for lunch on a pretty gravel island where a group of Canadian Geese were lounging in the sun. After lunch, the girls decided to skipper their own boat to the take-out, leaving the boys in the other raft. We made it to the takeout at the Cottonwood Bridge, and Leroy was there in bus #23 again, and we arrived back at Catlin at 5:15pm, a bit tanner and with a wonderful adventure under our belts!
Team Ecuador 2012 took advantage of the four-day Winterim by taking part in a variety of activities that helped to prepare us for a successful trip in June. Over the course of the four days, students split into pairs to tackle trip logisitics, learned about Ecuadorian history on Catlin's challenge course, participated in a cultural competency workshop at MercyCorp's Action Center, wathced a docmentary about the environmental and polical tensions in Ecuador's Intag Valley, and completed student-selected research projects on topics relevant to what we will encounter on our global trip this summer. On top of all these local activities, the group spent two days in the Willamette National Forest on an overnight snowhsoe trip to the Mt. View Shelter.
The overnight portion was designed to allow the group to bond while gaining experience with living out of a backpack! The snowy but incredible trip offered a hands-on setting to discuss and learn about the skills, physical training, clothing and gear that will be necessary for a successful trip in June. Thank you to the whole team for making the overnight such a fun outing.
Please enjoy some photos from our week together. Our Ecuadorian adventure will be here before we know it!
From the Winter 2011-12 Caller
By David Reich ’80, Challenge Course Manager
With spring teasing us in Portland, a group of middle school students and the Catlin outdoor program loaded up faithful bus #21 (back from a hiatus in the bus shop - thanks, Bubba!) to seek out some more dependable sun. Our destination: Central Oregon. Our goal: find some beautiful rock faces to climb! Upper School student Chris Reimann joined the middle school group to share some of his passion and knowledge about the sport of rock climbing.
Arriving at Smith Rock State Park, we were greeted by the very sun that we were out to find. This was the kind of sun that actually warms you when it hits your skin, and even the light wind was warm. We hiked down into the Crooked River canyon and hiked past all of the other climbers, packed into the dihedrals area. We marched past the hanging ropes and calls of fellow climber on the Phoenix Wall, and rounded the Southern Point of the magnificent Smith Rock group. Our hike ended at the base of the Waterfall Slab, where we set up for the day. A basic rock lesson reinforced some of the fundamentals of the sport: fastening a harness, tying figure-8 follow-through knots, safety checks, and climbing commands. The rest of the day was filled with climbing laps on the Waterfall Slab and throwing rocks into the Crooked River. The late afternoon sun ignited the rock faces of the park as we made the final hike back to the bus (see above photo).
Sunday started with the frying of two cans of Spam over a homemade rocket stove, and Alon tasted the wonderful canned pork-product for the first time. We then headed out Cascade Lakes HIghway to the secret climbing spot of Meadow Camp. It was snowing when we arrived at the trailhead, and wind from the frozen peaks was funneling down the Deschutes River valley and the back of our necks. Nonetheless, we headed to the short cliffs just above the river to see what we would find. We were rewarded, as the sun broke through the gray and dried the rock around us. We climbed a series of "crack climbs," played some games of "camo," hiked along the river, and ate lunch in the sun before pushing ourselves to do one final climb each in the early afternoon. It was a fabulous weekend with a great group of people. I am grateful that we all had the opportunity to spend that kind of quality time together in the energizing, educational and inspiring landscapes of Central Oregon. Please enjoy some photos from our trip.
Yes, my friends...that is a homemade igloo, lit up under the clear night's sky by the eleven headlamps of our incredible group.
Due to a forecast for over two feet of fresh (but unstable) snow up on Mt. Rainier, we made a last minute change to our itinerary and headed up to the Trout Lake area at the base of Mt. Adams. With the goal getting into the backcountry, and avoiding the presence of snowmobilers, we headed to the more obscure Snow King Sno-Park, donned our snowshoes and tromped up the unplowed road before turning off into the woods and meadows of the area. Each spot looked better than the next as we scoured the landscape for a prime spot to build our winter camp. We settled on a beautiful meadow and tucked our bags in the tree wells so that we could roll up our sleeves and start putting in the hours of work that would be required to build a snow empire. Mike Wilson had brought his igloo maker, and the so-called "ICE BOX" was put into motion as we built a 12-foot diameter igloo from the ground up. Meanwhile, our kitchen area was excavated and tents were erected. The snow stopped for the evening, and that the stars came out in force. All eleven us packed into the igloo for a spaghetti dinner before we started a campfire outside in the snow.
We filled Sunday with an off-trail snowshoe excursion up to the top of a nearby butte, snowball fights, sweetened condensed milk (poured on every food item we had - winter camping requires high calorie input!), and burgers in the friendly cafe in Trout Lake before rolling back into Catlin.
Here are some photos from one of the program's classic winter trips. Enjoy.
Water is a necessary ingredient for the verdant landscapes of the western Columbia River Gorge. A group of intrepid 6th graders joined the Outdoor Program for a day of winter hiking, and water is what we found! In our waterbottles, in the nearly dozen waterfalls we passed, in the form of snow on the side of the trail, dripping from the abundant mosses, and falling from the sky! We didn't let a wet, Oregon storm stop us from completing the beautiful Triple Falls and Wahclella Falls hikes. We ate lunch beside a raging creek, and warmed up with a whipped cream-topped cup of hot cocoa in Cascade Locks before heading back to Catlin. Please enjoy some photos from our trip.