On October 31st WYLD and a tight-knit group of 12 seasoned nature enthusiasts from the Carver Middle School area headed out at 6pm for some student-lead night exploring at Griffith Park. Along for the ride were Chris Chandler, parent-volunteer Lizz, and new-to-us guide, Kiwi Raza-Blade Dave, as he would later be nick-named. Donning costumes, most of us, and bright, blinky, and on-way-too-often headlamps, we headed out from Fern Dell below the observatory and aimed right for the Planetarium to see the half-hour presentation of "Centered in the Universe." After learning all about famous astronomers and their discoveries, we ventured out, up and away into the hills, destination: the Hollywood sign. It was Nicole's 13th birthday, so she had the map.
Our first student-lead activity was a solo walk, masterminded by our youngest ranger, April V. who, taking her cue from what she's learned from two visits to Mono Lake, suggested we spread out and get quiet for a little solo walking on the bridge, at night. That was the last we heard from silence that evening.
This group of intrepid Leave-No-Tracers did a lot of giggling and laughing our way up the trail, and finally stopped for "lunch" and a little birthday celebration at a point overlooking the twinkling city lights of Los Angeles. Our guide, Nicole, finally corralled us up and we hit the trail again. The time keepers did break it to us that we would not actually make it to the Hollywood Sign, as the ambitions of a middle-school explorer don't always match up with the "playful" pace of a fun evening hike with too much to see and chat about.
We had a blast! This group of kids who we've been working with for two years now, is enthusiastic and takes their adventuring very seriously: you must laugh and enjoy each moment, or you will have to carry all the water :).