Well, I just got back from the 2013 senior boys hike. This was the fourth year Archmere Academy has organized this trip to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. We had a great time. And by “we,” I mean four teachers (Mr. Jordan, Mr. Cocco, Mr. Levine, and I) and 34 senior boys. Over three days, we hiked just short of twenty miles on three different hikes, the final two proving to be far more difficult than the first uphill amble–and the last one, the most enjoyable. On Tuesday we climbed the highly anticipated Old Rag, the last 30-45 minutes of which is an invigorating (and I use that term loosely) scramble through very challenging natural rock formations.
At two different points on this third hike–on a flat rock at about 2500 feet and at the summit at about 3500 feet–we stopped to admire the views and eat a lot of peanut butter sandwiches. Everyone enjoyed the hike thoroughly…but nature’s water slides were a big hit, too, on Day 2, during the White Oak/Cedar Run hike.
Mr. Cocco calculated that we burned thousands and thousands of calories during Monday and Tuesday’s hikes, but I’m not so sure; I’m not seeing it yet. All I know is that this annual exhaustion is well worth it, considering how terrific the boys were the entire trip. And, oh my, if you want to know the minds of high school boys, simply sit behind the wheel of a moving vehicle filled with them because, clearly, you will become, to them, invisible and deaf. Fascinating and hilarious stuff. (Note to parents: please let your boys know that Taco Bell does not have “the best meat ever.”) And all the information I gleaned was expressed–thank goodness–with the candid purity of amazing and decent kids. I always feel privileged to be around our students.
We ate, too: Mr. Jordan and Mr. Cocco grilled burgers and dogs the first night; I ordered out for DELICIOUS chicken and fries from the Big Meadows camp store/restaurant on the second night; on the last night we ate in the main lodge’s basement eatery–burgers and chicken wings and dessert. The boys played a lot of cards, Mr. Levine challenged them with a playing card riddle I swiftly walked away from, campfires roared, and there was always a football in the air. With tents spread over five sites, sleeping arrangements were commodious, and the overnight temperatures were perfectly chilling. Everything went exceedingly well.
I wanted to add pix here, but the images are too big, and I forget how to re-size them, but check in again soon. Thanks most of all to the parents for trusting their fine boys with us. This excursion is a summer highlight.