On November 15 & 16, three ICO volunteers (Ben, Rachael, and Matt) and two group leaders from St Peter's (Alex and Sonia) took ten kids ages 15-18 up to Pinkham Notch in New Hampshire for a weekend of hiking. We stopped at the White Mountain Visitor's Center in Lincoln for some weather and trail condition tips and checked out the National Forest map to get our bearings before taking the scenic Kancamagus Highway to the eastern part of the Whites. We stopped at the Hancock overlook for lunch before continuing on to Pinkham Notch. It was cold outside!
When we arrived at AMC’s Joe Dodge Lodge (which at least part of has been standing for over 100 years), we dropped the bags off in our rooms and gathered in the Woodchuck Room to discuss the plan for the remainder of the day. As the daylight faded we set off, flashlights and compasses in hand, for a short hike up the Old Jackson Road trail. Everyone was excited to be out and the snow on the trail made for an exciting and challenging warm up. We turned around as the last of the light was fading, and made our way back by flashlight to warm up before dinner at the Lodge.
After breakfast on Sunday morning, everyone geared up with plenty of layers, hats, gloves and hiking boots. We met in Woodchuck and held an opening circle to set the plan for the day, and then headed up Tuckerman Ravine trail. The weather was challengingly cold (even snowing for a little while), but two hours later everyone made it to the base of the ravine to take in the awesome views of the headwall of the glacial cirque looming above us. We crammed into the entryway of the Caretaker's cabin for a quick lunch protected from the wind and snow and then headed back down, excited for the warm room that was waiting for us. This was the first time at least one of the participants had seen snow as she had moved from Cape Verde in the last year.
On the trip we learned a bit about Leave No Trace principles, using a map and compass, and planning a hike by being prepared with proper food and attire. The lodge had free hiking boot demos which proved to be crucial on the rocky, icy and snow-covered trail to the Hermit Lake Hut.
In our closing circle we went around and shared our learning experience from the weekend. Everyone was proud of their accomplishment of fighting through the bitter cold (in the 20s!) and excited to come back again to the mountains. Then, we packed up and headed home.
Photos of the trip can be found here: http://www.bostonico.org/apps/photos/album?albumid=15780886