Today, the DreamExtreme class jumped onto a big yellow bus and journeyed to Oregon’s only National Park: Crater Lake. After hearing sad reports from our partner 5th grade class of their miserably rain-drenched visit to the lake yesterday, we found our seats on the bus with a certain measure of dread. Spending the day cold and wet sounded rather unpleasant.

1 IMG_6480As we entered the park, snow began to fall from the sky. Not a lot of snow, but enough to elicit cheers from the students and fear from the chaperones. Happily/sadly, it didn’t last. The morning was bone-numbingly cold, but the only snow we experienced was found in the few drifts that hadn’t dissolved in the recent rains.

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We met up with Ranger Matthew, who was wonderful to work with. He guided us through the day’s events with a marvelous balance of fun and learning.

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Our first stop was exploring a series decomposing logs to look for signs of life and a forest in transition. We didn’t see much in the “life” department, but a couple of groups managed to uncover a sluggish beetle or grub.

4 IMG_6501Next, we hiked to the Sinnott Memorial Overlook and Museum to learn more about how the lake was formed. That is where we caught our first fog-shrouded look at Crater Lake itself. Even an obscured view couldn’t dampen the student’s excitement at being able to look at such an amazing view. 5 IMG_6504

After lunch, we were amazed at how much the fog had cleared. The view of the lake was now spectacular! One of my favorite aspects of a visit to Crater Lake is how the appearance of the water constantly changes. It is like a living masterpiece of natural art. 6 IMG_6565-400x300One of the high points of the day for me and the students was our adventure in the forest on the GPS Course. Ranger Matthew gave the class a quick introduction to using GPS receivers, and then students hit the trail to look for evidence of succession at work in the forest. It was a wonderful blend of Geocaching and learning set against the gorgeous backdrop of a beautiful location. 7 IMG_6546-150x150

After a wonderful day at Crater Lake, we boarded the bus for a long ride back to school. It was a nearly perfect field trip with exciting experiences for both the students who had visited the park before and the ones who were seeing it for the very first time.

For more photos from today’s field trip, visit our class Flickr channel: