I just finished my third summer at Camp Walt Whitman! I’ve got the internet back for a short while until I head to Tennessee.
Camp Walt Whitman does an amazing job getting kids out onto the trails of New Hampshire to experience a variety of places, conditions, sights, and sounds. I am extremely fortunate to be a part of it.
I wanted to use this post to mention some highlights of the summer, truly magical happenings along the trail:
– A fellow Virginia Tech Hokie, known as Crazy Frogg on the trail, was thru-hiking the AT this
season. I happened to run into her in May along the trail in Virginia. I told her to keep an eye out for me in New Hampshire. Just so happened that on the first day of a 5-day backpacking trip where I was leading 14 year olds from Franconia Ridge to Mt. Washington, we ran into Crazy Frogg on Liberty Springs Trail! We then got to summit Mt. Lincoln with her the next day. After that, she hiked on ahead, and I figured I wouldn’t hear from her again until she completed the AT. Instead, she must have taken it easy for a few days after Franconia Ridge, because we ran into her again on top of Mt. Washington on the last day of our trip. It was great to see a familiar face and fellow Hokie in an unexpected place! She was great while hanging out with the campers, and it was fun swapping stories about our trips, and tracking her progress in registration/visitor books at huts, shelters, and trailheads.
Crazy Frogg has a website, which discusses her impetus for hiking the AT and a blog to track her progress along the trail, definitely check it out: www.hikeforcancer.weebly.com
– Camp Walt Whitman runs a trip called the ‘AT Challenge.’ This trip is a ~ 90 mile trip over 5 days. The campers/counselors backpack right out of camp all the way to Mt. Washington. This is a trip that requires early starts, and big mileage. It is truly a challenge. I was not on this trip, but it was running simultaneously with my Franc to Wash 5 day trip (comparatively, my trip was ~ 34 miles). The last night of my trip was at Nauman Tentsite, by Mizpah Hut just south of Mt. Pierce. We knew the AT challenge group would be summitting Mt. Washington on the same day as us, but did not expect to see them until the 5th day. I figured their last night would be spent somewhere near Ethan Pond. However, by that evening, the AT challenge group was at Nauman, a very impressive feat! It was great to see a group of friends after 4 long days! We shared stories, food, and laughter. It was a great way to gear up for the last day of our respective trips. We both had a successful last day, with perfect weather throughout the Southern Presidentials up to Mt. Washington.
– I also ran a 3 day Northern Presidentials trip with a group of 14 year old girls. It wasn’t a typical backpacking trip where we carry a full load each day, but rather 1 day of backpacking up to a base camp (which for us was Crag Camp), a day of dayhiking and return to base camp, and backpacking out of basecamp back to the trailhead. Our first day was wet, and we arrived to Crag Camp with the place to ourselves. It was nice having the place to ourselves, so we hoped it would stay that way. After a while it began to pour. Soon enough, a large group stumbled in, tired and soaking wet. They had come all the way from Osgood tentsite, over Madison and Adams down to Crag Camp in poor weather. However, the group that came in was a group of all boys, and they were from Pine Island Camp in Maine. After the initial awkward tension about sleeping arrangements and interactions between young boys and girls, we shared Crag Camp amicably! It was an absolute blast to hang out with different campers, become friends with their counselors, and compare camps. The interactions and conversations between the campers were hilarious! The second day called for bad weather, but our group went out for our planned dayhike. Weather never ended up being an issue, so we expected that the Pine Island group would have headed out to their next tentsite, past Mt. Washington. However, given the forecast, Pine Island decided to have a ‘zero’ day, and stay at Crag Camp. They were still there upon our return, and we had another night of madness. On the third morning, myself, co-leader, and one of the Pine Island leaders took a sunrise hike up Mt. Adams, it was an inpsiring sight! A good time and great memory, they were a fun group of folks.
– The AMC caretakers were amazing this summer! I have to use this blog to thank them for all their hard work and for taking care of the Camp Walt Whitman groups. They see our groups come into their tentsites day in and day out. They are always looking out for us, and are extremely helpful. They are fun to talk to, and are great with the campers. I received praise from them about the CWW groups, and it made me proud to be a part of such a great crew at CWW. Thanks again to those folks to help run the tentsites and huts, and help maintain the trails in the Whites!
I’m sure there was much more magic along the trail this summer, and upon further reflection, I may add to this post later on. The trail provides gifts, the more time you spend on the trail, the more gifts you receive. I am grateful for the amazing memories the trails have given me this summer. The kids and counselors were amazing this summer, and I hope they realize how much I appreciate their effort, attitudes, and unique personalities that they brought onto the trail alongside me.
Thank you, New Hampshire, and thank you, Camp Walt Whitman. Until next time.