Naomi and Will talk about the Pacific Northwest trip where you get to see it all!
Here's the rundown:
Q. The Pacific NorthWest is a bit of a lesser known trip, but it's one of my personal favorites. Can you let people know what to expect on the tour?
A. In my opinion, the PNW is such an easy wind. Nature is right there in the City. You have a stratovolcano, you have Rainer looming over what really feels like an Emerald City. You also have access to the sound and all that has to offer, as well as the fantastic countryside if the group decides to travel down to Portland as well.
Also, one of the absolutely most fascinating topics to explore in the area is my personal favorite, volcanism! It's wonderful seeing students realize we have active volcanoes in the USA. And just being immersed in the nature of the area is exhilarating. The weather also dictates much of the mood of the trip and provides a lot of magic.
Q. Ah, the weather! That is also a question that teachers have for me. I know that the PNW is pretty temperate year round, but which season do you prefer to visit the area?
A. By far my favorite time of year is as close to the summer solstice as possible. The weather is fantastic, and because we are at such a high latitude it stays light late into the night. It's a great treat to be able to let students and teachers enjoy some time outside after our end of day meeting.
Q. Yes, I've experienced that myself and it is really special. Now what are your top few highlights of the trip? Experiences you love to share with the guests?
A. Top of the list is Hoh rainforest. Hiking in the United States temperate rainforest is unreal. I also enjoy all of the mammal life we can see on the sound. Whale watching is particularly special, and the Orcas often put on what seem like an acrobatic performance. Lots of breaching and aerials. The Space Needle and surrounding area is also a highlight. The sensation of the height and scale of being at the top of the Space Needle is something anyone can respond to. Oh, and we can't forget the coffee. For many teachers, and students, going to the original Starbucks at Pike's Place is an omage, a pilgrimage. So we always make time for that. :)
Q. That's a total must. Now, what types of educational components, in addition to volcanism, do you enjoy sharing with the students?
A. The Salmon Hatcheries are fascinating and take you away from the big waters of the sound and show how the locals interact with the natural environment. There are also lots of interesting cultural components, especially as you tour through towns where lots of famous musicians lived. And it's not so educational, but something that students really respond to is driving onto the Ferry, or as I like to call it, a floating interstate. Taking in the majesty of the water with the Seattle skyline is mesmerizing. I also enjoy taking students to both the Cascades and the Olympic mountain ranges. We can see how different mountain ranges are formed and they can actually physically experience the differences.