The Student Newspaper of Lakeside School


The Student Newspaper of Lakeside School


The Student Newspaper of Lakeside School


Outdoor Trips Are an Underutilized Opportunity

Here’s why you should go on more than the required one
Rishi L. ’24
Mason D. ’25 gears up for a full marathon of Lakeside outdoor trips.

I hate the outdoors. I love technology, sleeping in a bed, and showering daily, but I love Lakeside outdoor trips. So far, I’ve done Deschutes rafting and Mount Baker mountaineering, and I hope to do a few more before I graduate. Every Lakeside student is required to complete at least one outdoor trip, and the vast majority of students stick to that minimum, with an average of only 14.1% of students in the classes of 2010–20 doing multiple outdoor trips. That means that less than one in seven students take full advantage of these amazing opportunities. 

When asked in the Tatler Poll about their reasons for not doing multiple outdoor trips, respondents mentioned a dislike of the outdoors, busy schedules, apprehensions about having a “bad” group, and concerns about bathrooms. While these are completely valid reasons, I still believe that the benefits of doing multiple outdoor trips heavily outweigh the drawbacks.

Less than one in seven students take full advantage of these amazing opportunities. 

First, most outdoor trips are entirely free, aside from a few that involve air travel. No matter how many trips you want to do, they come at absolutely no cost. In fact, if you don’t have all the gear on the packing list, the outdoor trip office has a plethora of high quality gear to lend you for your trip. 

Outdoor trips also usually involve doing something new, which means attaining new skills. While the skills you learn vary from trip to trip, it is certain that you will learn a lot. Potential skills include cooking in the wilderness, using a water filter, route-finding, reading tide charts, or, my personal favorite, using an ice ax to self-arrest (a technique to stop yourself from sliding down a mountain once you have fallen). “If you do one backpacking trip with us and you’re paying attention,” says outdoor programs coordinator Greta Block, “you can learn a ton and gain enough skills to go out on your own or with family and friends.” You also gain confidence in yourself through trying new things. When I got to the top of Mount Baker, I realized that when I push myself outside of my comfort zone, I’m capable of achieving a lot more than I think.

Another reason to do multiple outdoor trips is to explore the Pacific Northwest. We live in such a gorgeous area of the world, and, to be completely honest, I had barely noticed just how beautiful it was before doing these trips. Through the outdoor program, you can explore the Goat Rocks, Ross Lake, the San Juan Islands, Olympic National Park, and more. The more places you explore, the more you can appreciate our environment. Going on Lakeside outdoor trips has inspired me to want to explore the area we live in more, both during my time at Lakeside and later on in my life.

My outdoor trips have been some of the only times that I’ve felt at peace with doing nothing, and that’s something worth seeking out as much as possible.

I know this might be controversial, but I think one of the main appeals of outdoor trips is that they’re relaxing. Though leaving behind the convenience of our daily lives might be slightly uncomfortable, there is a lot of peace that comes from being surrounded by nature during all hours of the day and not consumed by devices and social media. I, like many other Lakeside students, feel like I should constantly be doing something “productive.” But on outdoor trips, I can’t log onto Canvas, open up an SAT prep book, or prepare for an upcoming Model UN conference. My outdoor trips have been some of the only times that I’ve felt at peace with doing nothing, and that’s something worth seeking out as much as possible. 

Lastly, the bonds forged on outdoor trips are top-tier. As one student observed in their 2023 post-trip survey, “There are not very many activities that can bring together 10 unique kids from different grades and social groups.” I completely agree. Whether it’s meeting new students and teachers or even strengthening current relationships, you grow incredibly close with people on outdoor trips — something that wouldn’t happen through casual interaction at school. On my outdoor trips, because I couldn’t use my phone whenever I got bored, I got very close with the group, including people I had never talked to before. 

Overall, outdoor trips have been some of my favorite memories at Lakeside, and I strongly believe that you should try your best to do multiple of them. If you are trying to get on additional trips, Ms. Block suggests signing up for as many as possible, especially less popular ones (usually backpacking). Additionally, she says that if you don’t get on a trip initially, you should feel free to email her and let her know that you are available, so she can tell you if a spot opens up last-minute. Not that it’s a contest, but if you want to beat the current record of eight trips completed by a single student, you should start signing up. 

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About the Contributors
Mason D. '25, Social Media Chief
Mason loves to read, bake, do jigsaw puzzles, take long walks with his dog in the park, and go on runs. When he isn't reviewing a bakery, he can be found eating ice cream (usually Ben and Jerry's half baked).
Rishi L. ’24, Creative Director
Rishi Lakshminarayanan He’ll never make you yawn He’s soft on ducks, like dawn (dish soap) We all hope That one day He’ll be the pope Current VP (Teehee) Like Micheal Jackson He’s lots of fun Like a nun Mother Theresa He’s never tilted like The leaning tower of Pisa 6 foot 1 But not one and done Back to back He’s winning chips Always wearing fresh kicks Ready for some fire flicks No sneaky tricks He’s the man Drives a van He doesn’t need a game plan He goes with the flow With his banjo What a combo Yuh Yuh Yuh (Rishiiiiiiii) Yuh Yuh

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