Biology Graduate Student Retreat 2016: Cascades or Bust!

Last weekend nearly a third of our graduate students (+ many partners/families) headed for the hills, leaving behind the grading, studying, culture transfers, emails (right...), funding applications, to enjoy each other's company in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. A weekend retreat at the Wallace Falls State Park lodge has been the tradition for several years now. Below are some highlights. Special thanks to Lyda Harris for helping compile contributions to this post!

The entire crew assembled in the lodge with the local wildlife.

List of Assembled Grads (in no order related to the photo above): Lyda Harris, Alex Lowe, Steph Smith, Kory Luedke, Chris Wells, Mo Turner, Luke Weaver, Gideon Dunster, Lauren Vandepas, Molly Phillips, Jorge Bustamante, Megan Whitney, Alex Brannick, Hannah Jordt, Brandon Peecook, Octavio Campos, Frazer Meacham, Meredith Bache-Wiig, Claire Rusch, Itzue Caviedes Solis, Myles Fenske, Ryo Okubo, Molly Roberts, Yasmeen Hussain, Eleanor Lutz, Jennifer Hsiao, Jeremy Chan.

The best part of the Cascades is - the Cascades. A crew headed up to the eponymous falls, and as Luke described it: "the sun came out as soon as we hit the trail and from the top you could see the mist rising from the stream and meandering through the trees below- so beautiful!"

Hike to Wallace Falls

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The Cascades also got a TON of snow this past weekend, affording a bunch of great opportunities to fly downhill on a thin layer of temporarily melted ice - or trudge up it with fancy tennis racquets tied to your feet - pick your poison. Brandon opted for fancy tennis racquets, "Since Stevens Pass was overflowing with skiers, some of us took our snowshoes up an old forest road and railway into the mountains near Skykomish. The clouds broke for some decent views and we even got to meet some fluffed up denizens of the wintry forest."

Snow Day

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Also this.

Final Thoughts

Jorge: The grace of Wallace Falls was reminiscent of Rivendell, and only rivaled by the Fellowship of the Grad Students.


Jeremy: Hot tub was great, hike was fantastic and the dance was a ton of fun :) It was great fun connecting with all the other grad students!

Octavio: Nothing like deep conversations about life, science, and the fragile graduate condition, to refuel and take on the rest of the school year! And the beautiful Northwest winter scenery was fantastic as well!

Frazer: I had a great time at the retreat. It's always good to see so many of my friends and to get to know the first-years. Friday night we partied and played games. On Saturday I went "snowshoeing" with Gideon, Heather, Brandon, Avanthi, Itzue, and Hannah. I put "snowshoeing" in quotes because, although they all had snowshoes, I did not. But I went along at the last minute anyway, undaunted by my lack of equipment. It turns out I should have been a little more daunted than I was, because while they were walking I did a lot of sinking. But a washed-out road came to my rescue and we turned around before I had to give up and admit that one needs snowshoes to go snowshoeing. After the "snowshoeing" came more games and a great dance party. It was a fun weekend.

Gideon: On Saturday, a group of us rented snow shoes to use in the mountains. Although it was raining and our hike was cut short due to a severely washed out road, we did get in some pretty views of the mountains and it was wonderfully enjoyable to watch Frazer Meacham negotiate the terrain without snowshoes.

Alex: One of my favorite moments was the team effort to put chains on my car. Bumper to bumper traffic, front wheel drive, and icy roads are a bad combination for driving uphill! We made it, and had a great time skiing thanks to Skadi and Lyda.

Skadi (L) and Lyda save the day - Alex contributes to the 'team' effort by documenting the occasion.

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