This was taken about 2 p.m. this afternoon from near the Nisqually Vista trailhead, looking west/southwest roughly. 5 pictures stitched together...
I've worked in a lot of schools and I've seen how parental support and socio-economic factors can affect a child's education. Today was just another example of the despairity happening in America. The kids we had visiting the park today were from a private school. For 17 kids, we had 10 parents come along. These kids were ready to go, brought all of the coats, mittens and dry socks that they needed, and listened attentively (until we plainly just wore them out and they were sleepwalking back to their vehicles).
Contrast this to last week's seventh and eighth graders, from a public school near Seattle proper, most of whom didn't bring winter coats with them. The teacher for those kids couldn't get parents to come on the field trip; two teachers - and a couple of high school seniors were along as 'chaperones' - came with the group of 42 students.
The younger kids today had way more energy and knowledge; they asked good questions are were curious about what they would see. They complained a lot less, even when they got tired. They were a bit more supportive of each other when sliding down the big sliding hill, although the kids did stick to their parents a bit when actually hiking.
I know, it seems you can attribute some of these differences perhaps to age differences and things like that. There was just such a difference.