Stranded Jackson High students on the way home

MILL CREEK — A group of students from Henry M. Jackson High School were on their way home Monday after state Department of Transportation crews reopened a blocked lane of Highway 20.

The 42 students, accompanied by five teachers and two parent volunteers, went to the North Cascades Institute’s Environmental Learning Center at Diablo Lake on Wednesday for a three-day field trip.

That trip turned into an extended learning experience when a snow slide blocked the highway east of Newhalem on Friday.

The state determined that the slide was too unstable to attempt to clear, and instead let it settle and stabilize over the weekend.

Some students required their daily medications, however, and the weather up at Diablo Lake included rain and a low cloud ceiling, making for poor flying conditions.

National Park Service Rangers and Diablo firefighters were able to bring needed medical supplies in on foot Saturday.

The students had enough food and water at the retreat, and they had the opportunity to delve more deeply into their studies at the Environmental Learning Center, Everett School District spokeswoman Leanna Albrecht said.

The kids had more lessons with the center’s staff, more team-building activities and some free time, she said. The additional activities included taxidermy, microscopy, identification of local plant species, art, yoga and national park trivia.

The students were expected to arrive at their school Monday evening.

The current highway opening is for emergency vehicles only. The state plans to attempt reopening a second lane on the highway Wednesday, but the highway’s regular winter closure between mileposts 134 and 178 remains in effect.

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165; cwinters@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @Chris_At_Herald.

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