The DeLong family has embarked upon a historic adventure. Rising eighth- and fifth-graders Taya and Ian flew with mom Allison to Bilbao, Spain (via flight delays in Vancouver, B.C., and Munich, Germany) last Thursday. After a quick bus trip to France to see some cathedrals and eat croissants, the trio started their walk on El Camino de Santiago – the 1,200-year-old pilgrimage route through Northern Spain.

They began on the French side of the Pyrenees and plan to finish near the Atlantic coast to the west in Santiago de Compostela, where the remains of the apostle St. James are allegedly buried. The 500-mile route is steeped in myth, history and tradition. Like other medieval pilgrimages, the Camino de Santiago traditionally begins at one’s home and finishes at the pilgrimage site; but the DeLongs elected to skip the cumbersome walk across the United States and inconvenient crossing of the Atlantic by starting in France. Dad Pete will join his wife and kids after they have been on the trail for a month, to complete the journey with the family.

If anyone would like to walk along the Camino through the eyes of a 13-year-old, you can check out Taya’s blog at Unlike pilgrimages in medieval times, this one has Internet access all along the way.

Saturday’s turnout to try out the proposed playground design at the elementary school was “a bit disappointing,” in the words of fourth-grader and event co-organizer Maggie Moore, but Maggie and the rest of the fourth-grade playground committee are undaunted.

Having created a series of design ideas for an improved playground and raised funds to begin to cover some of the costs, the fourth-graders are continuing to pursue their vision and are seeking additional community involvement. On Tuesday, they presented their ideas to those in the valley who have been most committed to and responsible for an enhanced playground – the Winthrop Kiwanis.

When the fourth-graders aren’t busy designing playgrounds, they’re occupied with building bridges. As part of a unit on tension, compression and stress, the students made scale models of bridge trusses using the favored building material of elementary schools everywhere: pasta. With a lasagna strip deck and linguini and spaghetti trusses, just add a little hot water and these bridges are positively edible!

If you haven’t caught a fish yet this year (or even if you have), don’t miss National Free Fishing Day at the Winthrop Hatchery this Saturday (June 8) from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. With games, educational activities, food, a newly stocked trout pond, and artwork by Methow Valley Elementary fifth-graders, the event is fun for everyone.