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Published: Friday, May 24, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Day camp lets youth experience nature

  • Campers from the Neighborhood House in Auburn raft down the Skagit River.

    Genna Martin / The Herald

    Campers from the Neighborhood House in Auburn raft down the Skagit River.

  • Israel Haile (left), 12, and Sandy Ngo, 16, bike through the Clear Creek Campground in Darrington. Outdoors For All provided various types of bikes an...

    Genna Martin / The Herald

    Israel Haile (left), 12, and Sandy Ngo, 16, bike through the Clear Creek Campground in Darrington. Outdoors For All provided various types of bikes and adaptive cycles for campers to ride during the Wild and Scenic Institute's Hike, Bike & Boat day camp.

  • Abdi Shiekh, 12, cheers as he reaches the end of the white water raft trip down the Skagit River on May 11 during a Wild and Scenic Institute Hike, Bi...

    Genna Martin / The Herald

    Abdi Shiekh, 12, cheers as he reaches the end of the white water raft trip down the Skagit River on May 11 during a Wild and Scenic Institute Hike, Bike & Boat day camp, a free outdoor recreation program for disabled, at-risk, and disadvantaged youth in the Seattle area.

  • Campers from Neighborhood House in Auburn bike through the Clear Creek Campground in Darrington on Saturday. Outdoors For All provided various types o...

    Genna Martin / The Herald

    Campers from Neighborhood House in Auburn bike through the Clear Creek Campground in Darrington on Saturday. Outdoors For All provided various types of bikes and adaptive cycles for campers to ride during the Wild and Scenic Institute Hike, Bike & Boat day camp, a free outdoor recreation program for disabled, at-risk, and disadvantaged youth in the Seattle area.

  • Malena Madplume (center), 11, bikes with other campers from Neighborhood House in Auburn through the Clear Creek Campground in Darrington on Saturday....

    Genna Martin / The Herald

    Malena Madplume (center), 11, bikes with other campers from Neighborhood House in Auburn through the Clear Creek Campground in Darrington on Saturday. Outdoors For All provided various types of bikes and adaptive cycles for campers to ride during the Wild and Scenic Institute Hike, Bike & Boat day camp.

DARRINGTON -- Ginny Green's daughter, Raina Hubbard, got to raft the Skagit River, bike around a campground, and join a hike led by a National Forest Service guide on a trail surrounded by trees up to 250 years old.
Both Green and her daughter, who live in Clinton, were participating in an annual event May 11 called Hike, Bike and Boat. The event was coordinated by the Wild and Scenic Institute, based in Mountlake Terrace.
More than 100 kids, teens and young adults, some of whom had never before had a wilderness experience, got a chance to smell fir- and cedar-scented air and bump through rapids on a federally designated Wild and Scenic River.
Participants included children with autism, homeless kids, those from low-income neighborhoods and some with disabilities.
Raina Hubbard, 21, an Edmonds Community College student, has cerebral palsy, is deaf, and communicates with American Sign Language. Special rigging was used to secure her wheelchair to the river raft, her mom said.
"She said it was fun to … see all the beautiful trees and she loved being in the water," Green said.
The two-hour trip took place on an unusually warm, sunny spring day. Campers saw hawks and a beaver dam at the river's edge.
"It was spectacularly beautiful," Green said. "You could look back and see way up into the mountains, the Cascade Pass area."
After their river run, campers traveled to the Clear Creek Campground, three miles south of Darrington, for biking and hiking.
"Some of the kids had never ridden a bike before," said Sara Sokolowski, president of the Wild and Scenic Institute.
Adaptive bikes allowed some of the campers to propel their bike using their hands to peddle, she said.
Nearby, Phil Kincare, who works with the in the U.S. Forest Service's Skagit Wild and Scenic River program, led 45-minute interpretive hikes along the Sauk River trail.
"There are some really big trees along the Old Sauk Trail, bigger than anything they had ever seen," Kincare said.
It was hard for some of the campers to imagine that the nearby towering, 250-year-old trees started with one seed from a Douglas fir cone, he said.
Janet Jeng of Lake Forest Park said her 5-year-old son, Boon Dumrong, had been to area parks "but not out in the woods."
Boon, who is blind, loved smelling the trees along the trail, she said, comparing the scent of the Douglas fir to cedar.
"He really loved it," she said. "He's very adventurous. He loves talking to people and exploring."
Hunter Hendrickson, vice president of the Wild and Scenic Institute, said the group has been organizing the annual trips for at least the past decade.
Each year, the number of campers increase by about 20 percent, he said. This year, it took more than 40 adult volunteers to coordinate transportation, events and feeding of the campers.
Campers were "thrilled…definitely all smiles," at the end of the river float trip, he said.
"It was perfect," Hendrickson said. "A huge success."
Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or salyer@heraldnet.com
Story tags » Outdoor RecreationYouth

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