IMS alumnus took a short break from his Appalachian Trail journey to visit his old stomping grounds.
–by Mark A. Devey

Two weeks ago, Drew Glines, a graduate from the class of ’96, emailed me and asked if he could stop by for a brief respite. Drew was nearly two thousand miles into completing his eight-month hike of the Appalachian Trail, and he really wanted to see the school again and share his story with students and faculty. He started his adventure in Georgia and was just a few weeks away from completing his goal. We agreed to meet at the head of a trail in Cornwall, and when I arrived just after sunset, I found a face I recognized covered in a full beard. Upbeat, talkative, and filled with adventure stories, Drew shared a meal and details of his journey with me at the Wandering Moose Café.

I had met Drew two summers ago at the “I Love the 90s” reunion at IMS. He and his classmates had returned to their old stomping ground, stayed overnight in their old dormitories, competed in Maroon vs. Gray competitions, and had their own abbreviated Mountain Day. Drew proudly noted that he is a member of the gray team.

Originally from Florida, Drew remembers choosing IMS over Rumsey because he was drawn to the mountain. It was clear he knew the trails and woods below the ponds well and had fond memories of hiking and just spending time in the peaceful outdoors. As Drew spoke about how Indian Mountain impacted his life, I was reminded of the way our outdoor education program sparks interest in so many of our students. The time they spend on the ropes course, in the mountains, and sailing at the end of their ninth grade year lays a foundation for further adventures.

Drew spoke about taking a year off of work and pushing himself to achieve one of his lifetime goals—hiking the Appalachian Trail–and about the mental and physical challenges of his journey. Though it can be risky, Drew frequently walks at night. When I met him he had his headlamp on, reminding me a bit of a coal miner. To avoid injuries, he has developed a walking technique that allows his ankles to be a bit flexible. When Drew does get injured he tries to walk it off, not allowing pain to take control. When I asked Drew about eating on the AT he replied, “I cannot possibly consume enough calories each day. When I stop in a town, the first thing I order is dessert and then I try to eat as much as I can.” (By the way, Drew did not order dessert first at the Wandering Moose. If he had, I would have joined him.)

Drew spent an evening with my family at Becket House, did his laundry, showered, caught up on emails, and slept in a bed for the night. Did the comfortable home stay make it difficult for him to get back on the trail? Not a bit. The next day when I invited him to stay longer, Drew responded, “Frankly, I can’t wait to get back on the road. I am in a good rhythm, I love the people I meet, and I can’t wait to complete my journey.” I was surprised by his answer; his eyes beamed all day while interacting with IMS students and faculty. He was filled with joy, but he also had a goal to reach. After sampling the chili at the IMS Fall Festival, Drew loaded up his backpack, and I drove him back to the spot in Cornwall where I had picked him up.

It was dark by the time we unloaded the vehicle. With headlamp firmly on his head, Drew set off on the trail. By Thanksgiving he will have completed his journey. It was an honor to share in his experience. I had not been Drew’s headmaster, but it didn’t matter. We are a part of a larger entity–a supportive community that values people, encourages risk-taking, and loves the outdoors. We are a part of Indian Mountain School. I was delighted to see Drew again and know it will not be the last time.