From the Spring 2014 Caller
By Lark P. Palma
A classic Oregon adventure-- biking the old roads of the Willamette Valley, crossing covered bridges, and having fun on a warm and sunny afternoon.
The adventure began Friday night with a showing of Buster Keaton’s 1926 silent classic “The General.” A small group of trip students and parents enjoyed the film greatly and looked forward to sighting familiar settings during our trip. We departed Saturday at 8:20, the expeditionary force consisting of 6 students and 2 leaders. We pulled into Baker Bay Campground, in a Lane County Park, right on the lakeshore. We arrived 3 hours after leaving Catlin. Despite the governor’s drought declaration for Lane County, the reservoir was completely full. We ate our lunches around a huge table in the midst of a fairy-tale ring of our camping tents that had sprung up, thanks to our busy group, all around the periphery of the site. After lunch we secured the campsite against roving animals and the (highly remote) possibility of rain, and climbed on to the bikes to set off on our explorations. We started with a fun 2 mile descent, past the earthen dam, through open fields filled with yellow and white daisies, and by the Army Corps of Engineers campground at Schwarz Park below the dam. We crossed the outlet stream well below the spillway, and cycled west to where the Row River Trail crossed the road.
The Row River Trail is a former logging railroad that has been converted to a trail. The entire 15.6 mile length from Cottage Grove to Culp Creek is paved and wonderfully smooth for biking on. At Harms Park we looked high and low (even taking a detour up a hilly side road) to look for a trestle used in “The General.” We didn’t see anything remotely like what we’d seen in the film. Disappointed and let down by the guide book, we stopped for a rest in the park. After our break we headed eastward again along the lake. The trail emerged more into the open as we got to the marshy upper end of the reservoir. Our route continued on past the town of Dorena, and climbed ever so gently up the inlet river. After milepost 13.5 the trail became wilder. None of the bridges we saw on this trip are usable by cars anymore, but we were able to bike and walk on all of them. We headed back on Shoreview Drive to the campsite. It was about 5:00 when we returned to camp, and there were still many hours of daylight left. After settling chore duties for the rest of the trip, an expedition to the lake shore was mounted. Near the floating barrier protecting the mooring area there was a clear path into the lake. The floating barrier consisted of long sections of corrugated plastic pipe linked end to end like a long lake-snake. The pipes were a meter in diameter, and closed at the ends so they would float. They looked highly roll-y, but the students were able to get up on them and sit or stand on them.
We returned to the campsite to change and prepare dinner. The meal was burritos with all the fixin’s, followed by triple chocolate brownies. Nobody went hungry, and despite many dirty dishes, a very efficient clean-up crew dealt with them quickly.
We walked down to the lake shore to admire the sunset over the water and the trees across the bay. A game of Presidents was quickly organized. The rules were explained to the neophytes, and all 8 of us played. When it finally became too dark to see the cards, we started a fire in the fire ring in the midst of the tents. Once sufficient coals had developed, s’mores were toasted, constructed, and consumed. This was a first introduction to these traditional camp treats for several members of the party. All agreed that they were deliciously tasty.
As the night was so fine, several of the students decided to sleep out on a tarp, rather than in tents. They were still cocooned in their sleeping bags when the wake-up call sounded at 7:30, and the traditional Frying of the Spam commenced at 8:00 to begin the day properly. Lunches were made and stashed for eating later in the day. We washed up, packed away the kitchen gear, struck the tents, and loaded the bikes in the trailer. By 9:15 there was no sign we’d ever been in the campsite, and we drove away to Cottage Grove.
In Cottage Grove we cast about to find the city end of the Row River Trail. After searching for parking, we unloaded the bikes, stashed the gear from the trailer in the bus, and set off to follow the bike trail eastwards. There was a huge organized bike ride going on for the weekend which had all the downtown section of Main Street closed off to car traffic. There were ride volunteers at many of the street crossings, which eased our ride to the city outskirts. We came to the day’s first covered bridge at Mosby Creek. We crossed the river on a steel railroad bridge a few yards away. The next covered bridge we saw across a field, with no direct access. We had to cycle beyond it then back on Row River Road to see Currin Bridge. When we continued on, such was the enthusiasm of the group that all members charged gung-ho on up the trail beyond the road crossing before the last in line realized that that crossing had been the intended turn around point; it was where we had first gotten on the trail the day before. We ended up doing the climb to the dam again. After a full afternoon of biking a wide variety of roads, including some particularly steep sections which required a few riders to walk their mounts up the inclines, we rode to a nearby Dairy Queen (scouted when we first entered Cottage Grove the day before) for a well-earned treat. Then it was time to return to the bus to load up the bikes for the drive back to Portland. On the 2.5-hour drive north the gray skies cleared, leaving smudgy clouds like pencil-erased holes in the blue sky. We arrived at Catlin on schedule at 5:00 pm.
This was a marvelous trip. The weather was fine, the spring greenery and flowers very scenic. The biking was easy and low key, the on-trail parts particularly beautiful and soothing. The covered bridges were plentiful and varied. The crew was wonderful: friendly, inclusive, enthusiastic, helpful, adept at keeping themselves amused, and despite the wide range of biking, camping, and outdoor program experience, they stuck together and enjoyed themselves and the group.
Students who have attended Catlin Gabel since preschool, kindergarten, or first grade, and their parents, join Beginning School families and teachers for a very special Friday Sing.
Click on any photo to enlarge or download the image.
Catlin Gabel seniors are about to embark on an exciting new chapter in their lives. Five seniors speak here about their college choices, and how they found a good fit for them.
Thomas is going to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago!
Emmarose is going to the University of Southern California!
Chris is going to Princeton University!
Liban's going to Swarthmore College!
Sadie is going to Barnard College!
Here's where the class of 2014 is going to college!
Three films by Catlin Gabel 8th graders received awards at the Middle School Media Festival at Bush School in Seattle:
"Free Yourself" by Andrei Stoica and Katie Truong: Honorable Mention
"Welcome To The Hood" by Stuart Ryan, Mason Snider, and Elliott White: Audience Award
"One Fish Two Fish Dead Fish Chewed Fish" by Piper Kizziar, Kathryn Putz and Rachael Underwood: Audience Award & Teacher’s Choice Award
Congratulations to the filmmakers and their teacher, Brendan Gill.
Sophomore Nic Bergen's film "Continuous Quest" won the Grand Prix--first place, best film--last night at the selective International Youth Silent Film Festival, competing against films from the U.S., Canada, and China. Nic received a generous cash prize and time on the set of "Grimm," and will be featured in the Rose Festival. Watch for news of a public screening on June 4. Congrats to Nic and our other finalists, Søren Anderson, Becca Dunn, Gus Edelen O'Brien, Zulema Young-Toledo & Elena Lee, Ben Waitches-Eubanks & Javin Dana, and Vikram Nallakrishnan & Reuben Schafir!
Climbing Mt. Hood (Oregon’s tallest peak) is not always blue skies and sunshine.
- To learn to work together as a group
- To face challenges and difficulties and successfully overcome them
- To learn mountaineering skills
- To have fun!
The summit-bound group broke into nicer weather above and made its way to the top, arriving at 11:50 a.m. The summit was devoid of other climbers, but also of any view whatsoever.
Catlin Gabel sent two finalists this year to the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair held the week of May 11 in Los Angeles. Both Nikhil Murthy ’17 and Valerie Ding ’15 came home with awards.
Valerie Ding won four awards:
1. 4th Place Grand Award in Physics & Astronomy
2. 3rd Place Internationally & 1st Place Nationally (USA), SPIE International Society for Optics and Photonics
3. Top 6 Nationally, from American Association of Physics Teachers and the American Physical Society
4. New American University Provost Scholarship, Arizona State University (awarded to 22 projects nationally).
Nikhil Murthy won 2nd Place Grand Award in the category of Chemistry.
Congratulations, Nikhil and Valerie!