Branch Hoppers

The start to our
2018-19 year marks the BRANCH HOPPERS' final year in the program. The BRANCH HOPPERS outing structure will look and feel somewhat different from past years and will include: three (3) extended day-long explorations, two (2) campouts (one early fall, one late spring), one (1) five-hour outing, a graduation potluck, and the opportunity to serve with our younger Explorers Club groups at our Connelly Creek Service Site by volunteering as an Explorers Mentor Apprentice (EMA).

An EMA is someone who has decided to take a more overt role of mentor in their community. Participants in our Four Shields and elder boys from our EC program are given the option (and highly encouraged) to join us for outings with younger EC groups as EMA's. EMA's are introduced to mentoring techniques such as leading from behind, risk assessment, skill sharing, game facilitation, group leadership, and micro and macro guiding.


Before we look ahead to our final year together, let's look behind and see where we have been. Please take a moment and revisit the BRANCH HOPPERS blog posts.


The BRANCH HOPPERS' skill for this year is the Art of Surviving and the Art of Thriving. Read more about our BEC Skills Progression and the vital skill of being prepared with our Be Prepared Checklist.


Lead Mentor Contact Info


Branch Hoppers 2018-19 Schedule

OUTING #1: Saturday, September 8, 9:00AM - 4:00PM 
EXTENDED OUTING: Welcome Pass

We'll hop on the Wild Whatcom bus and head out Highway 542 straight to the heart of the North Cascades. Turning off Highway 542, we will head to the Welcome Pass trailhead. We will spend the rest of the day exploring through the old growth forest, working on skills and learning about why having a "backcountry mindset" is so important when you are further from town. 

If we are well-prepared and ready to hike then we'll have enough time to get all the way up to the subalpine meadows of Welcome Pass. Lupine, moraines, babbling brooks, wildflowers, and talus fields await our long climb. We'll have up close and personal views of the north side of Mt. Baker and the Black Buttes. This location is sure to impress.

Drop-off and Pick-up Directions: From I-5 take exit 250. Turn west onto Old Fairhaven Pkwy for .5 of a mile. Turn right onto 24th St for .3 of a mile. Turn right onto McKenzie Ave for .2 of a mile to Cascades Montessori Middle school. Map.

OUTING #2: Saturday, September 29 at 9:00AM - Sunday, September 30 at 5:00PM
CAMPOUT: NFS Rd 3070 via Salmon Park SnoPark

We'll hop on the Wild Whatcom bus and head out Highway 542 straight to the heart of the North Cascades. Driving up the road we will wind along the upper headwaters of the North Fork of the Nooksack River. When we get off the bus at the campsite, we will take a moment to figure out where we are in relation to Bellingham and our Nooksack watershed. The hemlock and spruce-laden forest that will surround us will provide a fantastic place for exploration as we celebrate the beginning of and set the tone for our final year together in Explorers Club.

Drop-off and Pick-up Directions: From I-5 take exit 250. Turn west onto Old Fairhaven Pkwy for .5 of a mile. Turn right onto 24th St for .3 of a mile. Turn right onto McKenzie Ave for .2 of a mile to Cascades Montessori Middle school. Map.


OUTING #3: Saturdays and Sundays, October 6 - October 21
EMA Opportunities at the Connelly Creek Service Site and Woodstock Farm!

Your lead mentor will help you coordinate a time to get out with a younger group as an EMA on their service outing. You will have an opportunity to Teach Who You Are as you share your experience and wisdom with the next generation of Explorers while serving alongside them.

Directions: From I-5 drive west on Old Fairhaven Parkway for 0.1 of a mile. Turn right onto 30th St. and drive for 0.3 of a mile. Turn right on Donovan Ave. and drive for .1 of a mile. Turn right onto 32nd Ave. and drive for .2 of a mile. Turn left into Bellingham Park & Ride (WSDOT) Westside. Map.

OUTING #4: Saturday, January 5, 9:00AM-4:00PM 
EXTENDED OUTING: Yew Street Woods

The Yew Street Woods lie on the Western entrance of the Lookout Mountain Open Space. From our drop-off location on San Juan Blvd. we will access the power line trail and venture Southeast along the lower flanks of Lookout Mountain. With plenty of space to roam and navigate we will utilize the myriad of social trails and spend some time getting to know this wild land located right in our own backyard.


Driving Directions: Heading South on I-5 take Exit 253  and head East on Lakeway Drive for 1.1 miles. Turn right on Yew Street and drive for 0.7 of a mile. Turn right onto San Juan Blvd. On street parking will be on your left. Click here for the Google Map Destination.


OUTING #5: Saturday, February 2, 9:00AM–4:00PM 
EXPLORATION: Birding at Rawlins Road (Skagit River Wildlife Area) 

Heading out on the Wild Whatcom bus we'll navigate our way south just past La Conner to the North Fork of the Skagit River delta. The Skagit River delta provides rich estuarine and freshwater habitats for salmon and many other species of wildlife. This are provides excellent tracking opportunities! This location is also a premiere area to observe migratory waterfowl and raptors. Wrangell Island Snow geese, Cinnamon teal and Canvasback ducks, Trumpeter and Tundra swans, Western meadowlarks, Short-eared owls, and Northern harriers are just a few of the rare varieties that frequent this area from fall to early spring. Make sure to bring your rain boots for this exploration!

Drop-off and Pick-up Directions: From I-5 take exit 250. Turn west onto Old Fairhaven Pkwy for .5 of a mile. Turn right onto 24th St for .3 of a mile. Turn right onto McKenzie Ave for .2 of a mile to Cascades Montessori Middle school. Map.


OUTING #6: Saturdays and Sundays, March 3-March 23
EMA Opportunities at the Connelly Creek Service Site and Woodstock Farm!

Your lead mentor will help you coordinate a time to get out with a younger group as an EMA on their service outing. You will have an opportunity to Teach Who You Are as you share your experience and wisdom with the next generation of Explorers while serving alongside them.

Directions: From I-5 drive west on Old Fairhaven Parkway for 0.1 of a mile. Turn right onto 30th St. and drive for 0.3 of a mile. Turn right on Donovan Ave. and drive for .1 of a mile. Turn right onto 32nd Ave. and drive for .2 of a mile. Turn left into Bellingham Park & Ride (WSDOT) Westside. Map.


OUTING #7: Saturday, April 13, 9:00AM-Sunday, April 14, 5:00PM
CAMPOUT: Baker River 

Located in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, the Baker River trail is the southwestern gateway to North Cascades National Park. This trail not only offers great camp spots along its gravel bars, it also boasts spectacular views of Mt. Baker and Mt. Shuksan, is home to primordial old growth Douglas fir, hemlock, and cedar, cascading creeks, long-haired lichen, rare amphibians, large mammals, and so much more. 

Drop-off and Pick-up Directions: From I-5 take exit 250. Turn west onto Old Fairhaven Pkwy for .5 of a mile. Turn right onto 24th St for .3 of a mile. Turn right onto McKenzie Ave for .2 of a mile to Cascades Montessori Middle school. Map.

OUTING #8: Sunday, May 19, 10:00AM-3:00PM 
EXPLORATION: Hundred Acre Wood

One of the greatest parts of exploring in Bellingham is that we have the ability to hop on the Interurban Trail that connects us to the Chuckanut Mountains. We will begin our day where the Branch Hoppers' journey began, the Hundred Acre Wood, for our final exploration!

Drop-off and Pick-up Directions: From Fairhaven Parkway, turn south onto 24th St. Drive until you see Willis St and find parking.  Click here for the Google Map Destination.


EVENT: Sunday, May 19
Branch Hoppers Graduation Potluck and Slideshow!

Join us for a celebration to commemorate the Branch Hoppers' journey through Explorers Club. Please stay tuned for more event details as we get closer to this day.

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