Notes from the Trail: Mount Greylock
Every spring, our 7th grade class heads to Mount Greylock State Reservation for a two-day adventure of hiking and whitewater rafting.
Outdoor Adventure & Education Director Eliza Statile shares her notes from the trail:
On Thursday, April 21, four buses drove off the IMS Upper Campus, their passengers filled with both excitement and a bit of nervous energy for what the days ahead would bring. Toward the end of the drive, they divided into two groups — one headed towards Mount Greylock State Reservation, one headed for the Deerfield River.
At the Mount Greylock State Reservation, students engaged in programming with Department of Conservation and Recreation members, as well as guides at the Mount Greylock Visitor Center. Students learned about Mount Greylock, the tallest peak in Massachusetts, and studied the topographical map of the peaks in the area and the stretch of the Appalachian trail that runs through Mount Greylock State Reservation. Then, students hiked at the base of the mountain and took in the beautiful views while eating lunch and enjoying each other’s company.
Meanwhile, the other half of the 7th grade class spent the day at Zoar Outdoor Adventure Resort in Charlemont, MA. They arrived at site, put on wet suits, and headed out on a rafting adventure in the chilly waters of the Deerfield River.
Later in the day, both groups arrived at camp. They learned the ins and outs of tent set up and how best to navigate these small spaces with their classmates. Then, they prepared a dinner of pasta with two different sauces, garlic bread, and (of course!) s’mores for dessert by the campfire. The campfire was a wonderful gathering space for sharing stories and reflecting on meaningful moments of the day. Here, a number of students were awarded “banana of the day” for their service, leadership, and positive presence throughout the trip. There was plenty of laughter and song before tucking in for the night.
The next morning, students awoke to the sounds of birds chirping. They prepared breakfast, packed up camp, and headed out for their day of adventure — the hiking group heading to the river, and the rafting group heading to the trail.
I love these adventures with the kids. Seeing them play games and sing around the campfire, witnessing the more shy students come out of their shell, and noticing the deep connections that are made between classmates, and with nature. For all of us, this complete change of setting — away from buildings and away from screens — is a powerful and lasting experience.
– Eliza Statile