Seattle area Teens go wild – for nature

ROSS LAKE — It didn’t matter that they’d just spent the past six days hiking, canoeing and swinging heavy woodsmen’s tools.

Ignoring physical fatigue, the nine teenagers were full of energy and optimism Thursday as they sat aboard the Ross Mule, a barge-like boat that North Cascades National Park staff use to traverse Ross Lake in the northeastern end of the park. All participants of North Cascades Institutes’ NC Wild outdoor education program for disadvantaged youths, each teen explained how nature had transformed them in a matter of days.

“This is the first time I’ve been in a real wild place,” said 16-year-old Hikmatullah Arif, who immigrated to Seattle from central Pakistan in 2000 with his family. Overlooking the lake’s jade green waters and shorelines plush …

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