Beats on the Peaks: Lookout Poets and Backcountry Tales on Ross Lake

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Beats on the Peaks: Lookout Poets and Backcountry Tales on Ross Lake
Program Series Field Excursions
When Thu Aug 14, 2014 05:00 PM to Fri Aug 15, 2014 09:00 AM
Where North Cascades Environmental Learning Center
Triple Accommodations $295.00
Clock hours 21.0
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NOTE: This adventure begins Thursday night 8/14 at the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center before heading out for two nights on Ross Lake, Friday 8/15 and Saturday 8/16. It concludes Sunday evening 8/17 with a home-cooked dinner back at the Learning Center.

“On the solitary lookouts of the Cascades, the Beat movement seems to take flight even as its poets learn to sit.” — Stephen Prothero

During the 1950s, several young men took summer work as fire lookouts in the North Cascades and their experiences helped to shape a generation. Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen and Jack Kerouac went on to prolific careers in literature and poetry, as well as important contributions to Zen Buddhism, the Dharma and the birth of a wilderness ethic.

Venture up Ross Lake and immerse yourself in this fascinating literary history of the North Cascades while taking in the beauty of the landscape, “virtually unchanged since these men journeyed there thanks to the environmental protections they helped inspire,” as biographer John Suiter notes. Traveling by boat with two great storyteller-naturalists with decades of backcountry experience between them, we’ll read poetry and lookout journals, go hiking and tour the lake’s hidden canyons.

The highlight of our adventure will be hiking to the top of Desolation Peak where Kerouac, the reluctant “King of the Beats,” spent the summer of 1956 -- an experience he famously documented in his novels The Dharma Bums and Desolation Angels. Don’t miss this annual expedition of books, rucksacks, campfire tales and jaw-dropping views!

LEARNING CENTER ACCOMMODATIONS: Triple Accommodations is the tuition for sharing a room with two other people (this may require use of an upper bunk, accessible by an easy-to-climb ladder). Double Accommodations is the tuition for sharing a room with one other person. Single Accommodations is the tuition for a room for one person.

The Learning Center campus features classrooms, a dining hall, a library, outdoor learning shelters, trails, a canoe dock and an amphitheater. Our three guest lodges have shared gender-specific bathrooms with showers and each room contains two sets of twin bunk beds, desks, wardrobes and wireless internet connectivity. Facilities and local trails are all ADA accessible and a personal mobility vehicle is available. Delicious, healthy meals incorporating local and organic foods are provided in our dining hall. If you have special dietary requirements or food allergies, we will gladly attempt to accommodate them with advance notice. Sorry, but we cannot accommodate pets.

TO REGISTER, please choose one of the following options:
  • Click button above to register online
  • Call (360) 854-2599 with your VISA, MasterCard, or Discover card ready
  • Download and mail a registration form with your credit card information or personal check
Field Guide to North Cascades Institute