6th-Graders Become a Crew While Backpacking in Mock Martian Landscapes

TEA 6th-Grader Ty Chapman documented the adventure with his camera, producing some amazing imagery that we’re extremely proud to share. Way to go Ty!

The 6th-grade Pyramid Peak crew recently completed a successful trip to Mt Lassen. This trip was an adventure component to their Space Expedition learning expedition. And as you’d expect in any expedition, especially one to the Martian-like landscapes you find around Mt. Lassen, the crew had to adjust some of their plans on the fly to ensure a successful mission. This trip was a first-time introduction to backpacking for some of the students and they would have to deal with frigid temperatures and strong winds.

The crew began their trip as planned at Butte Lakes Campground on the Northeastern border of the park. There they set up camp and hiked to the top of a cinder cone volcano, scaling its steep side and peered into its crater. This beautiful, but barren landscape gave the students an idea of the lunar and Martian terrain.

On day two, the students practiced packing backpacks for ideal balance and using backcountry stoves. Next, they divided into two groups and backpacked into the wilderness while fitting in academics on Ancient Egypt. One group set up alongside a creek, the second alongside the lake. They all met for dinner on an island and capped the evening with a laser-guided tour of the night sky.

On the third day, the Pyramid Peak crew hiked out from their campsites and toured Lassen National Park. They explored the ancient lava tubes of Subway Cave and viewed Lassen Peak. Students caught a whiff of sulfur and saw the boiling mud pots at Sulfur Works before setting up camp at Hole in the Ground. Around a campfire the crew deduced the direction the Earth spins on its axis and aimed their heads at Polaris, allowing them to reenact the path of the Earth around the Sun leading to our seasons.

Throughout our adventure, students faced and overcame challenges, helped one another, learned new skills, and came together even closer as a crew. They persevered challenging weather and in the end, had an enjoyable experience! Way to go Pyramid Peak crew!