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.