English teacher Dr. Anne Keller goes through a strenuous expedition through the Porcupine Mountains with a friend.
Following the path taken from a guide instructing them to follow along a small stream, Keller is faced with a fairly common complication: the stream is nearly dry. Placing an almost total disregard for the once-dominant literature, they cut through the woods with little guidance as to where they should go. They spot the headlights of an approaching car – a close call.
After a semi-alarming stop at Ranger Station before tackling Mount Williamson in the Sierra Nevada Range, science teacher Joey Spadafore embarks on an icy journey. Shortly after reaching the trailhead and beginning their hike, Spadafore and his team realized that the alarming concerns at Ranger Station would be a problem. Not only that, but they would need to climb vertical faces. Following a stream as a guide was the chosen amo. They weaved through the bush and ended about three thousand feet from where they started – basically they had circled.
Senior Rachel Marco and a friend find themselves completely lost in the middle of the woods, armed with no technology, not even a compass. Using the melting snow and the sun’s place in the sky, they were able to find their way.
When asked for a memorable story of hiking endeavors, Keller, Spadafore, and Rachel all quickly shared those tails. Interestingly enough, what they have in common is the fact that in each of them they were lost.
“It’s the — I don’t know — the weird situations you find yourself in,” Rachel said. “It’s kind of interesting, not relying on technology and stuff to stretch out and see what you know. Scary stuff can still be fun. If you’re scared of something, or it’s not an ideal situation, it can still be fun and you can still get some really good things out of it.
Scary things can still be fun. If you’re scared of something, or it’s not an ideal situation, it can still be fun and you can still get some really good things out of it.
“The biggest lessons that come from hiking are to be self-sufficient and to enjoy where you are right now,” Keller said. “This is one of those activities that requires your attention at this time. You can’t rely on your technology. You’re just there and experiencing it, and I think we don’t do that often enough.
Without the aid of technology, problem solving is learned when unpredictable situations arise.
“I love being in nature and off the beaten path,” Keller said. “I like when you can rely on what’s in your backpack and nothing else. You remove all unnecessary things and only have the essentials. It’s just peaceful to be outside. There’s a lot of problem-solving and thinking about your survival that you don’t have to do on a regular basis.
With Rachel and Keller, they focused on improving problem-solving skills gained through intense activity, while Spadafore had a different benefit.
“Just the ability to be alone with yourself and to understand and challenge yourself [is why I enjoy hiking so much]said Spadafore. “It’s hard to be alone without education. I never have my phone with me or I’m not alone for a moment for miles around – the ability to be on my own.
Each hiker has a set of benefits tailored to their individual experience, and so do their lists of favorites.
The hike to Nordhouse Dunes seems to be a popular hiking spot. However, they each have a compiled list of their favorites.
“I’ve been to a lot of places to hike,” Rachel said. “My favorite is probably Banff National Park in British Columbia, Canada. I mean, Canada doesn’t look super cool, but it has crystal clear waters and huge mountains. there’s nowhere like it in the world, and it’s really not that far.
Rachel’s love of activity stems from a unique array of experiences. She attended the Goodwillie Environmental School as well as the Alzar School. The Alzar School teaches leadership through hiking, rafting and kayaking. Her love for all things outdoors seems to stem from her family.
“I’ve always hiked my whole life,” Rachel said. “When I was little, my family went to national parks instead of the beach, so I guess I grew up doing that.”
No matter the coveted lists of favorite hikes or where this appreciation for hiking and nature comes from, it’s obvious when talking to some of FHC’s dedicated hikers that there’s a lot more to gain from hiking than what it projects outwardly.
“I really like it because I’ve always really enjoyed being active, and I think it’s a great way to see new things and challenge yourself physically,” Rachel said. “It’s also a good thing to do with friends because you’re in trouble outside. It’s fun not to feel super comfortable all the time, to not be afraid to feel uncomfortable.