A Group Recollection by WSP 8th Grade Students – Sophia, Bea, Emmery, Rachel, Erin, Leander, Jun, Kyle, Seunghyun, and Muirinn | May 22, 2021
For the longest time, it was unclear whether or not we would get to have an 8th grade trip. COVID-19 caused uncertainty all year and understanding the course we would follow was difficult. Luckily, things worked out in an unexpected way, and as it got closer to the ideal timing of the trip, COVID restrictions loosened as it became safer to travel within the state. The progression of the vaccines also meant that most of us were able to get our first shot before the trip. With lots of help and support from parents, teachers, and others, we were able to plan a lovely week-long camping trip to Catalina Island.
It was early in the morning, 5:45 am, on May 17th, when we arrived at school. It was still dark outside as we waited in anticipation and excitement for our trip to begin. When everyone arrived, we loaded all of our luggage and camping equipment into the spacious compartment under the bus. We groggily entered, masks on, and settled into our socially distanced seats. During the ride, some people read, some talked and others slept. After about two hours of traveling, placeholder_160.gifwe stopped to have a snack and stretch our cramped legs. Then we reloaded onto the voluminous bus. As the hours passed, we grew more and more exhausted and tired students lay on the floor and across the seats. Seven hours after we left, we found ourselves at a foggy cold harbor. Here we departed our bus to continue our journey on the Catalina Express ferry for a 75-minute ride to the island.
Our campsite was a short hike away and allowed everyone space to set up individual tents, some of them with ocean views. It was a very private and quiet location especially during the week.
On our second day, after a strenuous morning hike to the top of an overlook, we were hot and tired and decided to go for a swim. The water was cold and clear and just what we needed. Our campsite included two paddle boards and many eager students clung on to one trying to fight our way back to shore. Graham lost his paddle at one point but it all worked out. So many students grabbed onto the board in an attempt to have a paddle board experience that it started to sink under the weight. There were some fun attempts to take control of the boards resulting in them flipping over and each of its passengers losing their vessel’s guide.
Each morning a different student group took turns making breakfast. There was a lot of learning involved since the students had to learn how to cook over the campfire stoves. We had to lock up our food at night because the island foxes were very sly and came out at night searching for food. There were pigeons and seagulls stalking our meals but we were lucky that only one seagull flew away with a large piece of cheese from our lunch spread. We had dinner catered in and quesadillas were a favorite meal.
This trip gave us time to chat, swim, relax, walk into town for some ice cream, and explore different parts of the beautiful island. After exploring the busy town of Avalon, everyone was happy to go back to our quiet campground on Two Harbors.
The students are grateful for their chaperones; Ms. Wong, Ms. Lader, Dr. Babinet, and Mr. and Mrs. Welch, and are especially grateful for Julie Stanford, Lexi’s mom, for her amazing camping equipment and shopping organization behind the scenes.