March 7th & 8th brought us our annual snowshoeing trip to Crawford Notch, New Hampshire – our 7th annual trip, in fact!
Students and staff arrived bright and early on Saturday morning to get checked in and load up the van and Ms. Robbie’s car. Once everyone was accounted for, we hit the road! Our ride is about 3 hours and we know we’re almost there when we see the Mt. Washington Hotel….and all the gorgeous views of the mountains! It’s like being surrounded by snow-covered walls.
Our home for the weekend is called the Highland Center and this place is amazing! We settled into our group room and broke off into two groups : 1 group made GORP (good old raisins and peanuts, also known as trail mix) and lunch while the other group picked up all the gear needed for the weekend (boots, snowshoes, any warm/waterproof layers). Once those tasks were done, we switched. Once those tasks were completed, we geared up and went outside to try out our snowshoes! (Snowshoes seem pretty daunting at first : getting them strapped on correctly is a bit tricky the first time and they’re so big……but essentially, if you can walk, you can snowshoe!) Mr. Best led us on a great hike on the Around the Lake trail. Our students were doing great, even if there was lots of falling down - that’s what this practice day is all about. After about an hour of hiking, we reached a trail junction and played one of our favorite Adventure Club games. You guessed it….Camouflage!
It was starting to get dark after a few rounds, so we trekked back to the Highland Center to get ready for the evening’s activities. Students unpacked in their rooms, took advantage of the showers, and had a little bit of down time. Then it was dinner time! After some seriously delicious food and some great conversation (we shared a dining room with another YOP group and got to see our good friend Lindsay!), we headed down to the game room. Some students opted for a quieter puzzle or game of cards while others joined in a ping pong tournament! We ended the evening with some homework time and reading followed by ghost stories told by Mr. Best.
Day 2 came quickly and after packing up our rooms and getting into our warm layers, we hit the breakfast buffet! Full of delicious food, we grabbed our snowshoes and headed out! Our goal for the day was to make it to the summit of Mt. Willard in time to have lunch. It was rough going in the beginning, with students struggling with the uphill climb. As our turn around time got closer, there were some doubts if we’d make our summit goal.
Another hiker coming down told us the summit was pretty close and Ms. Gordon saw a landmark that confirmed it. This, along with our fantastic lead hiker Ricardo (who set an amazing pace for us!), gave us the boost we needed and suddenly there it was : the summit! Words cannot express the pride shown on the faces of both students and chaperones. This was a tough hike, but our group took up that challenge and tackled it head on.
We took tons of photos of both our group and the amazing view and then settled in for lunch. Everyone was still grinning and the compliments were flying. It’s awesome to hear students telling each other that they are proud of what they just did, thanking others for being so supportive, and sharing stories about the experience together. After our lunch, it was time to trek down and before we knew it, we were back at the Highland Center. Borrowed gear was returned, remaining items were packed up, and traveling clothes were changed into. We checked out, loaded into the van, and headed home.
We have taken many trips with the Adventure Club and while they are all amazing experiences, I think this one will stick out as a very special and meaningful trip for everyone involved.