Cave Dwellers (Raccoon Kits)

For Parents and Explorers:

Congratulations, CAVE DWELLERS, on completing your third fall season in Explorers Club! Thank you, Explorers, for your creativity (gotta love the new name!), sense of adventure as highlighted by our failed attempt to cross Chuckanut Creek, growth as individuals and as a group, and care of and for the land. You have answered the call to Stretch Your Edge and grow into the wider world of exploration with us. We're excited to continue the journey with you! Before we look ahead to Spring, let's look back to that exciting first season. Take a moment and revisit the Cave Dwellers/Raccoon Kits blog posts to refresh your memory.

First up for our Spring 2016 season will be a challenging hike up Pine & Cedar Lakes trail. Once we catch our breath at the top, we’ll decide which lake to explore. Each has enough to offer to fill numerous outings. Staying with the lake theme - we’ll next explore Squires Lake where we can hope to observe beavers busily repairing their dams after winter storms. In 1995, Whatcom Land Trust helped Whatcom County purchase the 80-acre parcel that has become public land for all to enjoy. So, let’s enjoy!

For our third outing, we'll join with the larger EC community by continuing service at our adopted Connelly Creek Service Site. This is a great opportunity to connect to the land and to our community by putting our energy into restoring balance to the plant-life in the area and creating suitable salmon habitat. Please, take a moment to track the history and view photos of this amazing site. Our final outing of the spring will take us to a new Whatcom County trail - the aptly named Rock Trail. We’ll marvel at the views, explore caves (appropriate, no?), and get to know the newest addition to our rich storehouse of close-in trails.

The Cave Dwellers’ skill for spring will be Tracking and Bird Language. Don't forget to check out our newly developed Boys EC Skills Progression. This progression will lead the Explorers on a Earth Skills Journey that will lay a firm foundation of craftsmanship, wilderness living, and deep naturalist connection. To read more about our new Boys EC Skills Progression please click here. Being Prepared is also a vital skill. Click here for a link to the EC Equipment List.

Cave Dwellers Spring 2016 Schedule

Lead Mentors: Brian & Tim

Saturday, March 5th, 10:00-3:00pm
Exploration: Pine and Cedar Lakes

The hike up is rigorous, to say the least, but the rewards are plentiful. The Bellingham Herald described them as tree lined ponds that can’t help but lower your stress level. In Explorers Club, we call that connecting with the land. Close to town but a world away, our biggest decision may be which lake to explore. Lots to be thankful for here. And, who knows, your explorer might just find a spot to come back to when it’s warmer for a swim.

Driving Directions: Drive 1.2 miles south on Chuckanut Drive. Veer left onto Old Samish Rd and continue for about 1.9 miles to the trailhead parking area on the right. Click here for the Google Map Destination

Sunday, April 17th, 10:00-3:00pm
Exploration: Squires Lake


Just when the explorers start to ask “are we there yet?” we’ll crest the 1/3 mile trail and will be rewarded by beautiful Squires Lake. We’ll decide which way to explore around the lake and then whether to connect with another trail that goes up to an active beaver pond. The dam at the north end of the pond drains into a stream that has provided hours of play for explorers. If we’ve timed it right, the park will be showing touches of spring: robins and wrens flitting about, frogs singing, mosquitoes hatching, Indian plum leafing out and the shocking-pink blossoms of salmonberry brightening the shore.

Driving Directions: 
Take I-5 south (13 miles from Meridian Street on ramp) to WA-99/Nulle Rd (exit 242). Turn left onto WA-99/Nulle Rd. The trailhead will be on your left (.7 mi.) Click here for the Google map destination.

Saturday, May 14th, 10:30-2:30pm 
Service: Boys E.C. Connelly Creek Restoration Site, Happy Valley Park

Our Official Explorers Club Restoration Site has changed dramatically in the last two and a half years. Blackberries that were once well over head-high have been chopped down to nothing, and many of their persistent roots have been dug out; hundreds of pounds of trash has been removed (including large car parts and a jungle gym); a 6-foot cedar fence was “discovered” and liberated from the blackberries; the Reed Canary Grass has been covered with bark mulch, native species are beginning to be planted on the banks of the creek, and the Alder are growing markedly faster than our Explorers. The most exciting news is that, for the first time in about 80 years, the salmon have returned. Now those returning salmon are really going to need our help if they are going to lay eggs. We'll focus on providing just the right environment for a vibrant and happy northwest stream. With the help of Bellingham City Parks and Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association, we are making a real positive impact on our land.

New this Season! Drop-off and Pick-up will now be at the Bellingham Park & Ride (WSDOT) Westside as per the request for the residents on Wilson Street. We apologize for the inconvenience. 

Driving Directions: From I-5 drive west on Old Fairhaven Parkway for 0.1 of a mile. Turn right onto 30th Street 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. Click here for the Google Map Destination.

Sunday, May  22nd, 10:00-3:00pm
Exploration: Rock Trail via Cleator Road

The Rock Trail is carved out of the steep, rugged hillside connecting the top of Cleator Road to the South Lost Lake Trail. This is one of the Chuckanut's newest trails offering steep climbs, gorgeous views, and a peek at our area's fascinating geology. 100-foot high sandstone cliffs pocked by little holes and large caves, enormous mossy boulders, and handmade staircases and bridges are just of few of the exciting wonders that await us. If we have time we might even make it to Lost Lake!

Driving Directions: Take exit #250 and turn right onto Fairhaven Pkwy for . Go to second stoplight. Turn left on SR 11/Chuckanut Dr for 1.3 miles. Turn left onto 12th st. for .1 of a mile. 12th st. becomes Chuckanut Dr. follow for 3.6 miles. Turn left onto Hi Line Road then follow the gravel road 3.5 miles as it turns into Cleator Road at .6 of a mile. Click here for the Google Map Destination