GeoJourney has lucked out with some beautiful weather and awe-inspiring hikes as we travel along the west coast. At the last posting, we were heading towards Glacier National Park, Montana. Skies were clear, and the air, cool and crisp, reminding us that fall is on its way. After a lecture on the world-famous geology of Lewis Thrust Fault, the ancient Belt Series sedimentary rocks and the spectacular glacial features of the park, students had the option to hike to see the Grinnell Glacier. Across the valley we saw a grizzly and a black bear!
Our time in the Pacific Northwest was also very successful. For the students’ first Geo-Hazards project, GeoJourney visited Orting, Washington, where the threats of lahars off Mount Rainier are ever-present. Students interacted with local establishments and branches of government to see how aware the townspeople are of its evacuation plan in the case of a lahar. After the Geo-Hazard project, the group – all 21 students! – successfully summited Mount Saint Helens. The grueling climb ended in a very rewarding view into the crater of the volcano.
This morning before leaving Crater Lake National Park, we had a 4:30 am breakfast in order to have a sunrise jump into the 40 degree water of Crater Lake. Thunderstorms the evening before caused us to postpone the GeoJourney tradition of jumping into Crater Lake until the early morning of the next day, when students voted for the early breakfast in order to jump – what an exhilarating ending to our time in the Pacific Northwest. Now, we head towards San Francisco to spend several days to include a day off and the second Geo-Hazard project; this project is about earthquake risk in the Bay Area.