Today was a challenging day! We hiked 11.7 miles over rugged trail with our longest climb of the trip up Haystack Mountain. To make it even tougher the water source at Hazen Shelter was dry so we were short of water for the second half of the day. But everyone stayed positive and accomplished our goal for the day. It was very rewarding.
My role when we hike is the ‘sweeper’ which means that I am always in back and if anyone slows down due to fatigue or because they’re just not felling good, I stick with them. I really like this role and feel like I must have been a shepherd in a previous life.
During the first part of the day one of the students just didn’t have her normal zip and we fell far behind the rest of the group. I didn’t want to say anything to hurt her feelings or discourage her so I talked to her about how I think about ‘hiking with a purpose’, keeping my forward momentum going, and thinking about three or four step combinations when you come to obstacles such as rocks, roots and mud holes. She really responded and was immediately hiking at a very good pace. Later in the day she moved up in the pack and finished well ahead of us in the back. At camp she thanked me for helping her. Of course it made me feel good that I was able to give her good advice and that she was able to put it to use so quickly.
We had another campfire tonight and as usual Whiskers asked everyone to share what was the most beautiful part of the day and what was the most challenging part of the day. The students openly shared some very insightful thoughts. They are a pretty impressive group and today they did what is probably the hardest physical activity that they have ever done.
Tomorrow we have a relatively easy 5.4 mile hike to a highway where two parents will pick us up and take us to a B&B for hikers. We’ll take showers, do laundry, eat a big meal and I’ll be sure to eat a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Oh yeah, we get to sleep in beds – that will be a treat.
Here’s a photo of Whiskers and the boys at their tent site.