Category Archives: Trips

Overnight on Camel’s Hump

The following post was co-written by all the campers as they drove home from the trip, exhausted–but in a good way:

The fearless outdoors club left campus around noon on Saturday, despite forecasts of cold and rain. After picking up Izzy from her ACTs, we set off to Camel’s Hump Mountain. Some listened to ghost stories in Mrs. Dedam’s car on the ride up, noticing all the other little ghosty moments, like caution tape and french road signs, and entertaining the possibility that Camel’s Hump was haunted. In reality, the only thing to fear was the possibility of a bear… The other car listed to Emma (who admits she likes to talk). We arrived at the trailhead right on time, signed in, and headed up the trail, taking note of the warning sign: “local bears are eating campers’ food.”

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The first part of the hike, carrying all of our stuff up to the campsite, was difficult, but once we got there, we set up tents and left our heavy gear behind.  Much relieved, we began the ascent. Climbing the mountain was exciting as we scurried up the rocky trail in order to make it to the top before sunset. Once we arrived, breathless and content, on the windy peak, we saw the lights from Burlington glowing at us in the oncoming darkness. The wind was so fierce at the top it felt like we were going to blow away, but it was worth it for the beautiful view.

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The sun set as we started down the mountain and out came the headlamps and flashlights. The glow of the lights from our friends shined through the trees and glinted off a few patches of ice. Some trees even had snow on them. After about an hour of going down the treacherous slope, the trail finally evened out and we found the turnoff to the campsite. The last part of the hike back to the camp was much easier.

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At the campsite, we layed down our packs and started to light the fire. After ten mintues work, we were ready to eat: back to the bear box and out with the sausages. We ate hot dogs and two types of veggie sausages for our “first course”; Mrs. Dedam and Mr. Schmidt decided that Izzy’s veggie ones were better than the tofurkey ones. We wrapped up potatoes in tin foil and put them in the fire to bake. Next, we made tons of smores: “pass the ‘mallows,” “where are the graham crackers?” “Who wants cheese?” Finally we pulled our baked potatoes out of the coals and stuffed them with Vermont sharp and extra sharp cheddar.

All in all there were five tents, but the guys (excluding Mr. Schmidt) were all in the same tent, which leaked as it rained and hailed all night long. We were saved from the bears by Austin’s snoring. It could probably be heard on the other side of the mountain. Although  Izzy and Jenny swear the bear was sniffing around their tent at 4:00 in the morning (just after their rain fly blew off).

After very little sleep (except for Ms. Dedam, who enjoyed a night away from her toddlers), we rose with the sun and packed up, grabbing bagels and cream cheese for the last mile down. The ride back was rather subdued: even Emma slept quietly in the back seat. After stopping for coffee and dropping off the Straford kids, we returned to TA at 11 AM, ready for a good night of make-up sleep.

Less than 24 hours, but full of great memories!

Afternoon Hike

The outdoor club hiked Mount Cardigan on a chilly Friday afternoon. Despite a few raindrops on the way up and a brisk wind on top, we all enjoyed a vigorous hike and spectacular fall foliage. Next weekend we plan to hike Camel’s Hump Mountain in Vermont.

Here is an account of the trip from one of our student hikers, Anabel Reining:

As we left the school on Friday for the Cardigan hike, Izzy led us out of the school and through the parking lot, as if directed by the map of Cardigan she was studying, “Okay, the map says to turn left once you leave the shop, then take another left, but not that left, and not that right either. Then go this way, then that way…… okay, stop here.” After congratulating ourselves on making it to the school van, the ride was somewhat quiet. We passed around M&Ms and Jenny and Izzy discussed their halloween plans. When we started the hike, it began to drizzle on us, but only briefly, and it didn’t subdue the foliage at all; the leaves were bright reds at the base of the mountain which then faded into oranges, yellow, and greens, all mixing together and letting the sunlight through in interesting ways. We took a different trail than many of us had done before which took us to a viewpoint before we got to the fire tower. Looking back where we came from, we could see the storm clouds that had passed over us at the start of our hike, which put us right in the midst of a startling combination of dark clouds, bright sunlight, and as we watched, a rainbow formed arcing over us, and disappearing over the highest point on the mountain. We only went the wrong way a few times before making it to the fire tower, and as we made it to the upper summit, we could admire the way the sun cast light through the clouds and onto the large puddle of accumulated rainwater just below the peak.
Not only was the light unusual, the wind was unexpectedly strong, nipping at our fingers and attempting to push us off our feet. We stood at the top, basking in the glory of our first club hike, but not for long, as we were quickly becoming chilled from the wind. We put on extra layers, tried to figure out if we could see Thetford Academy from the top, then began our descent. As we hiked down, we were almost immediately out of the wind, and began to warm up and take off some of the layers we had just thought we needed. We played two truths and a lie, and all learned some new things about each other, including that we all understood the deceptive simplicity of the game; it’s very difficult not to do something wrong, like accidentally tell three lies. As we got back to the parking lot, the sun was beginning to get lower in the sky, and for a minute it was shining yellow light through the clouds, making all of our shadows long and dark as we stepped out of the trees, but that only lasted a minute or two before the sun was covered by a cloud, and we all appeared shadowless. On the car ride home we played hot seat and other summer camp games (Izzy knows all of them), while burning our tongues on mint hot chocolate from a store in Canaan. It was dark out when we got back to school, and the four of us walked together back to the shop to get our school bags. Our hike was a success; everyone lived, and we all were looking forward to next weekend’s overnight at Camel’s Hump.

Mountain Day

Thetford Academy’s 37th annual Mountain Day took place on Friday, Sept. 18.  One of our school’s most beloved traditions, Mountain Day was established in 1979 by the late headmaster Frederick G. Torrey, whose fondness for the outdoors was an inspiration for many.

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During this annual adventure, our six classes hiked six nearby mountains viewable from Thetford Hill:  Mt. Cube (7th grade), Black Mountain (8th), Smarts Mountain (9th), Cardigan Mountain (10th), Mt. Ascutney (11th), and Mt. Moosilauke (12th).
This year, there was an alternate hike to Lincoln, NH.