Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail

Diablo freeze
Move over United States Postal Service, neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail shall keep the graduate program from connecting with this place.
Alumni and current students gathered November 6th through the 8th for the First Annual Graduate Program Alumni Reunion. Along with friends, family, and faculty of the graduate program, we enjoyed an energetic dinner filled with reminiscing and laughter. Known for our friendly competitive nature, we engaged in a battle of wits and strength—a trivia night to remember. From North Cascades knowledge to a raingear relay, from a campfire song sing-off to mystery granola identification, our wisdom and vigor was challenged. Conquering the final night-time scavenger hunt mission, the winning team received pennywhistles, which with they will attempt to master in the same fashion as our own Executive Director, Saul Weisberg.
The next morning, we headed out into the elements for a photo scavenger hunt. Given a list of tasks, each team gained points for photos that captured the completion of these tasks, awarding points for difficulty, creativity, and bribery. As typical Northwest torrents poured on us, cameras captured glimpses of team hugs, reenactments of the Davis family, nature art, and notable places from Mountain School in Newhalem. Also known for our determination and perseverance, many grads and alumni ventured into Diablo Lake in order to earn the most points. The winning team, relentlessly tough, achieved victory by swimming under the glacial waters of our green lake on a day where temperatures would drop and snow would fall.

That night, we attended the Sourdough Speaker Series featuring graduate program faculty Dr. John Miles. In addition to an exceptional meal, we enjoyed a spirited discussion on the state of wilderness in the national parks. That night, we were mesmerized by huge snowflakes blanketing the Learning Center for the first time this winter. The next morning, some assisted in naturalist activities such as hikes on Learning Center trails, while others jumped in the big canoe to admire the freshly fallen snow glimmering in the sunlight.
Thank you to all alumni, students, friends, family, and faculty for supporting the graduate program and making this year’s reunion such a success!

Skagit TotemRecreation of a Skagit Totem, can you tell the difference?
Gorge LakeThis team stands where land and and tree stumps are usually under the waters of Gorge Lake
The Davis FamilyThe homesteading Davis Family
Newhalem SkitA team performs a skit at the Newhalem Visitor Center Amphitheatre
Going to the dogsThis team sure has gone to the dogs
Wet Tree huggersThe weather didn’t keep this team from hugging trees
TotempoleSmiling faces simulating a Skagit totem pole in the town of Newhalem on Highway 20
Trail of CedarsA team appreciating the splendor of the Trail of the Cedars near the Newhalem Visitor Center
TurbineA turbine, integral for Diablo Dam and the Skagit River Hydroelectric Project
Mountain School shelterThe winning team of the photo scavenger hunt poses at the Mountain School shelter in Newhalem
Grad CanoeGraduate program students, alumni, and supporters enjoying a Sunday canoe filled with snowy views
Photos courtesy of various Graduate Program alumni and North Cascades Institute staff.


  1. Meghann Willard

    That Davis Family is looking Mighty Fine Mighty Fine. I had soooo much fun that weekend. Thanks all for a great time. I look forward to next years celebrations.

  2. Paul Wiemerslage

    Oh Boy! What Fun!

  3. Aneka

    Special thanks to Brandi and Martine for creating such an fun and fabulous weekend!! I had a blast 🙂

  4. Brian Larsen Stafki

    Sorry to have missed it. Looked like fun. Would have been nice to represent C3. Maybe next time.

  5. Bruce Parelskin

    You all are having too much fun! Wait, there is no such thing… Keep it up…
    Mike’s Dad

  6. John Miles

    I haven’t had this much fun since the halloween I spent a couple of years ago at the Learning Center with the staff the C7s, and some 60 fifth graders and parents. Cold fall weather at the ELC brings out the best in us! My thanks to Brandi and Martine for orchestrating a fine weekend.

  7. Mary Nowicki Sullivan

    Looks like lots of fun. Crazy for going into those icy waters at that time of year! My East Coast skin would not have stood for it. Takes Native Northerners or West Coasters to do that!

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