8th Grade Hike
Helen Yang, Middle School and High School Mandarin Teacher

Our 8th graders went for a field trip to Little Si on October 7th. For those who don’t hike, Little Si is a short 3.7-mile trail with an elevation gain of 1300 ft in the North Bend area. I had the pleasure of going as a chaperon with a team of eight students and Ms. Muller. 

Before we hit the road, Ms. Muller, one of the leaders for this event, helped students check their gear. Ms. Muller was detail-oriented and made sure that each student had a rain jacket to stay warm. I can’t think of another activity that would give us this much time to chat and get to know each other. What a great way to get to form new connections and friendships!

During this hike, we had students take on leadership roles: one in charge of checking for pace, someone else making sure that we took breaks and another student leading the group. We started slow, gained some speed and pushed to reach the top. At the end of the hike, we enjoyed our packed lunch with the beautiful view around us!

Along the trail, I got to know my students. We shared stories about our puppies: funny ones and silly ones. A couple of students attended the same school before they joined Forest Ridge, and I could feel that special and strong bond between them. I also learned that one student loves watching horror movies. I wonder now, with Halloween around the corner, what scary movie she’d watch on Halloween day? Another student cooks, and I was impressed that she brought curry-flavored food in two jars – such a variety on a hiking day! Students talked about their schoolwork and shared what they might be interested in taking next year. I was happy to get to know this group of students! 

After the hike, we gathered for a debriefing session where students shared their experiences. Some said their takeaway was learning to tell directions and follow signs. Some say they learned how to better pace themselves. Some learned to stay hydrated on the trail. Most of the groupmates agreed that one lesson they all learned was NOT wearing white sneakers on the trail! 

We were so lucky that we had gorgeous weather on the hike. The warm sun, the changing colors of fall leaves, the singing birds, the kind greetings to and from other passing by hikers, the fresh air and the beauties and bounties of nature made me feel that we are so blessed living in the Northwest!

As a teacher, I started hiking as a chaperon at Forest Ridge about six years ago. I have had a passion for hiking ever since. I am so happy that Forest Ridge helps our students and teachers explore the nature around us. “Which mountain is calling us next?”