Thursday, April 30, 2009

Redwood Forest and Smith River Update by Jason Cohen

A weekend stop in the Redwood Forest proved to be a great time for World Class. It began with a quick stop in Arcata to wander around for a little while in the city. It was an interesting place, to say the least, but after a few hours we were ready to return to the real world: Crescent City, California and the Jedediah Smith National and State Parks. We camped out under the beautiful and famous Redwood trees of Northern California. Our tents were dwarfed and we all felt like little gnomes scrambling around in a world for giants.

One day all of the students, except for Donny Doran and I, went to surf the ocean. The two of us chose to cruise up to the Upper South Fork of the Smith River with three coaches, and it turned out to be an awesome expedition, partly because it was a break from 19 people crowded onto one small river. It was a fairly continuous Class III-IV run, but the most amazing part was the scenery and the crystal clear water; At all points on the run I could clearly see the bottom of the river. The untouched wilderness surrounding the river reminded everyone of Narnia, and we were expecting Aslan the giant lion to jump out and slay us. He didn’t, and we made it to the take out. While discussing the run later on, Program Director LJ Groth said, “Although we didn’t get slain by Aslan, I was still frightened that the White Witch might get us during the hike out.” Overall, it is a great run and I would suggest it to anyone.

The incredibly clear waters of the Smith River. Photo by Paul Twist.

The next morning, we comleted a day of school in the forest before heading up to Florence, Oregon. Our US History teacher, Susan Hollingsworth, had us go to the ranger station to learn about things that have happened in the Redwood Forest in history. In Biology, which Susan also teaches, we went on a walk in the woods talking about life in forest. I never knew so many things existed and depended on each other in places as small as under a rock. I’m glad we can go to so many places for interactive learning experiences.

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