jetBlue777 From United States of America, joined Jul 2009, 1427 posts, RR: 1 Posted (10 months 1 week 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 2427 times:
It's been nearly three weeks since I last visited a.net!
Earlier this year, I was accepted into a scholarship program that sends students around the United States into two experiential trips during the summers of our sophomore and junior years. Here in NYC, nearly 2000 students were given the opportunity to apply and I am fortunate enough to be one of the 70 who got accepted after a series of essays and interviews. The first trip is usually a wilderness trip that ranges from 14-22 days, and the next trip is an international/cultural immersion/community service trip of a country of my choice. This year I was sent to Central Maine for 22 days of hiking and canoeing. I spent one week hiking, summiting several mountains in the Maine Appalachian Trail with Whitecap being the highest at around 3600 feet. It was definitely a challenge considering my body size, carrying 30+ lbs on my back. I gained bruises and scratches in my legs having a very bad footing and balance. Right after the hiking portion, we canoed for 11 nights, visiting some awesome lakes, rivers and ponds in Central Maine. I was definitely pushed to my limits at certain points, having nearly evacuated when I fainted during our longest canoeing day (7-hour paddle) Despite the challenges, I pushed on and finished my trip with minimal injuries and memories that will sure last a life time! Perhaps the most surprising to me part was that I actually didn't mind not having facebook, the internet, my iPod, cable TV and other technology that I own (although I was really home sick on the first few days and I'm definitely glad that I have those things back after quite some time) Also, being from New York City, living in a highly urbanized area, it was refreshing to spend some time in the complete serenity of the wilderness. Anyways, being out there for 3-weeks made me appreciate many things such as the strength that I have shown my trip leaders, fellow trippers and myself that I never knew I had inside me. I never considered myself as someone who is physically strong, but after this trip, I gained a lot of confidence in me. It was a life-changing trip that taught me responsibility and a sense of appreciation for every single thing in my life in the "real world". It was most definitely challenging, but I learned so much and the memories will definitely stay with me and I can't wait for my next summer trip!
Some pictures from my trip!
One of my trip leaders at Lobster Lake
Whitecap Mountain right after a triple 8-mile day
On the summit of Whitecap Mountain, one of the proudest moments of my life...reaching the top, something that I accomplished that's not academic-related
My trip leaders and fellow trippers carrying me
geezer From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 1430 posts, RR: 1 Reply 2, posted (10 months 1 week 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 2356 times:
Congratulations on your achievement, and welcome back to the forum !
Your post and your description of your "adventure" is one of the best and most interesting of the year to date.
I know just how you felt; I used to do quite a lot of that sort of thing in my youth. I'm sure your leaders are thoroughly familiar with the hazards and pitfalls of "back-country" Maine; not too many critters to worry about in Maine, however there are black bear and moose, and both of these can be quite "hazardous" under certain circumstances, such as rutting season, and mothers with young. I had a very frightening experience in back-country New Hampshire involving a big bull moose back in the 70's; (But the moose didn't appear to be frightened at all.......just curious; sure had me fooled ! )
I have been all over Maine many times, but unfortunately I have never had much opportunity to go hiking and camping in the back -country very much; most of my wilderness experiences have been in Colorado, Arizona, Utah and California; in the western states you need to spend more time watching for snakes, scorpions, and the occasional mountain lion.
Just "making the cut" to become part of the group was a tremendous achievement, one which you and your family will be justifiably proud of for many years to come.
And your pictures ! ( I'm not saying this just to be "patronizing"), but I spend a lot of time talking and comparing notes with a lot of very fine photographers, and looking at their photographs; had I seen some of your pictures in a magazine, or on a photography forum, (other than A.net), I would have thought I was looking at photos taken with new a D 4,
D 800, etc. by people who have been doing it for years ! (And I'm guessing that you could ill-afford the space or the weight penalty imposed by lugging around a pro-sized D SLR.)
All that hiking, all that climbing, seemed very daunting when it was still in front of you; even after it's over, it still seems that way; that really isn't because of your relative small size, or your notion of not being "big and brawny"..........it is all because of a lack of previous experience ! And the next time, you won't have that "lack" ! Next time, you will think to yourself, "hey, I have already proven to myself, I can DO THIS ! It's just like learning to play a piano or a guitar......it takes lots of practice; the more practice, the more confidence, and the easier it gets ! Strength isn't just in one's arms, legs or muscles; it's in your mind, your spirit, your determination..........And it sounds to me like you are off to a very good start. Again, congratulations on a job well done !
Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
blink182 From Azerbaijan, joined Oct 1999, 5430 posts, RR: 19 Reply 4, posted (10 months 1 week 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 2337 times:
Glad to know you liked Maine! Were you along the coast at all? Did your leaders buy you a lobster roll or whoopie pie? I went to college in Maine, and even on the darkest and coldest winter days, Maine's nature always put on a great show. Don't be too hard on NY though! As you clearly found out, NY is different from Maine, but I find NY equally incredible in different ways.
Happy travels, and cheers to many more.
Give me a break, I created this username when I was a kid...
canoecarrier From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2657 posts, RR: 12 Reply 6, posted (10 months 1 week 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 2240 times:
Congrats! It's no secret that I really enjoy canoeing.
Quoting jetBlue777 (Thread starter): Right after the hiking portion, we canoed for 11 nights, visiting some awesome lakes, rivers and ponds in Central Maine.
As I mentioned above, canoeing to me is one of the most scenic ways to see the wilderness. If it's not windy you glide along on the lake and I never really mind portaging since it breaks up the day.
Quoting jetBlue777 (Thread starter): Perhaps the most surprising to me part was that I actually didn't mind not having facebook, the internet, my iPod, cable TV and other technology that I own (although I was really home sick on the first few days and I'm definitely glad that I have those things back after quite some time)
I think a lot of people would come to that conclusion. Where I did most of my canoeing there wasn't (at the time) any cable TV or internet. I'd come off the water after a 10 day trip and spent most of my time writing letters or having a beer down at the bar. You also get quite close to the people you're traveling with because you're with them everyday.
I can understand how exahsting it is though. You don't have a water tap for drinking water so you have to paddle out and get it yourself. You don't have a microwave so you have to cook it yourself. And, shelter means putting up a tent.
jetBlue777 From United States of America, joined Jul 2009, 1427 posts, RR: 1 Reply 7, posted (10 months 1 week 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 2133 times:
Thanks for your replies everyone!
Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 1): How were the mosquitoes? I don't miss those....
For the hiking portion, it wasn't that bad. However, our first camp site for the canoeing portion was absolutely surrounded by mosquitoes, and one of the trip leaders said that it was one of the worst ones he had seen in many years! I didn't get that much bug bites, however, two of my fellow trip members had a plethora of bug bites all over their body..
Quoting geezer (Reply 2): Congratulations on your achievement, and welcome back to the forum !
Hey Charley, thanks for the very detailed and kind response!
Quoting geezer (Reply 2): not too many critters to worry about in Maine, however there are black bear and moose, and both of these can be quite "hazardous" under certain circumstances
On the second to the last day of our hiking portion, a moose actually "ran" into our campsite at 2AM. A nice man who was also camping next to us warned one of my trip leaders that some animal was walking around the camp, he initially thought it was a bear but it turned out to be an adult moose who was eating grass right next to my tent.
Quoting DeltaMD90 (Reply 3): Congrats. Good to see people of my generation out and about instead of locked up all day
Thanks! I definitely fell in love with hiking, and I really want to go on another hiking trip in the future. Too bad I will bee too old for the same Wilderness Trip Program/Company that I went on called Chewonki. I love that place, they treat you as family! I might try Outward Bound soon.
Quoting blink182 (Reply 4): Glad to know you liked Maine! Were you along the coast at all? Did your leaders buy you a lobster roll or whoopie pie?
The base camp for Chewonki is in Wiscasset, Maine which is right along the coast. We spent 2 nights there where performed our swim tests and basic canoeing runs.
As for the lobster roll, I did have one on our van ride going back to base...it was delicious! I forgot the name of the place it came from, and I have no idea what part of Maine we were at!
Quoting blink182 (Reply 4): but I find NY equally incredible in different ways.
Yep, and I'm really glad that I'm back home!
Quoting Aesma (Reply 5): So, you were offered a summer boy scout camp, basically ?
It's actually a co-ed trip, but two of the girls who signed up for the trip dropped out and moved to another trip that goes canoeing for 3-weeks. Technically, we're called "Trippers" and the boys/girls who stays at base camp (the younger ones)are called the "Campers" They offer a wide range of trips from white-water kayaking, sea kayaking, hiking, canoeing, all in 3-weeks for teenagers 13+. I chose my trip specifically so I could do two things in one trip.
Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 6): I can understand how exahsting it is though. You don't have a water tap for drinking water so you have to paddle out and get it yourself.
We had to use these buckets to get water from the rivers/lakes, and then we used pumps to filter the water from any harmful substances. We had two pumps and the "water crew" does this job every afternoon when we reach our campsite. We also had iodine handy.
Yep! I actually enjoyed being the cook crew, it was my favorite job. We had a menu that we had to follow, and a cookbook as our guide. We had the luxury of getting some fresh veggies and meat during the canoeing section as it wasn't that weight restricted compared to hiking.
rutley21 From United States of America, joined Apr 2009, 175 posts, RR: 33 Reply 8, posted (10 months 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 1993 times:
That's awesome. I love hiking. About two years ago I hiked a good portion of the Appalachian trail. I hiked 85 miles of it in Virginia, Quite an experience to say the least. I also hiked 50 miles in Kentucky. Both of those trips were spread out over 5 or so days.
If you're not willing to give up everything, You've already lost.
Arrow From Canada, joined Jun 2002, 2582 posts, RR: 2 Reply 9, posted (9 months 3 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 1515 times:
Congratulations on the hike, and it sounds like you've been introduced to the pleasures of wilderness excursions. Don't stop doing it -- it will give you a lifetime of pleasure and keep you pretty fit and healthy. My wife and I have been doing this for nearly 40 years now (most of it in Western Canada -- Maine's "mountains" are pretty, but a little tame; next time you do it go west and try some 10,000 footers).
We have a goal of completing a 400-km. section of he great divide trail north from the Montana border -- we've done about half of it so far (started 5 years ago). Maybe by the time we're in our nineties ...
Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.