Winter camping trip brings LaSalle boys back to nature
Montana native and currently a Lasallian Volunteer, was one of the trained and experienced staff that accompanied the youths on the trip. Alex kept a journal detailing his impressions of how the boys approached different situations and reacted to the many challenges such an excursion can, and did, present. What follows is his personal account of the trip.
"A lot of preparation goes into a winter camping excursion, and students Rob, Jason, Jordan, Eli, and Mike did a great job of being present and positive about the process. It took us about an hour the night before and another 45 minutes the morning of to get all our gear packed and get on
We set off mid-morning and drove to the Hogtown trail-head on the east side of Lake George, northeast of Pilot's Knob. There was less snow and ice than we expected the first day, and our four mile hike into Fishbrook Pond, around the back side of Sleeping Beauty Mountain, went smoothly. We ate a short lunch at Dacy Clearing, about one mile in, then climbed up and over the southwest ridge of Sleeping Beauty and past Bumps Pond to Fishbrook, finally arriving there at about 3:30 in the afternoon. There are two ADK lean-tos on opposite shores of the pond, and from our vantage point at the first the territory around the second looked more suitable for tents. The walk across the frozen pond was a first for the boys, and put a couple out of their comfort zones, but they showed their incredible sense of adventure and trust in the staff by following us across.
The late afternoon weather was pretty chilly, dipping below freezing and spitting bits of rain and snow as we set up camp, so our second order of business once the tents were up was getting a sizeable pile of dry wood and a hearty fire to cook our dinner on. Cooking and eating dinner took until well after dark, and with the temperatures hovering around freezing, a long day behind us, and a long day ahead, bed was a welcome sight for the
The next morning started beautifully. The clouds cleared and the sun came
We ate a quick snack and paused for a photo opportunity while taking in the
made the van about 1:45. After a quick lunch we hit the road back to
LaSalle, returning safely to campus about 3:30. We spent until dinner
getting unpacked and debriefing the trip. The boys felt positively about the
experience, rating it a 7 or 8 on a scale of 1-10, and had plenty of compliments
for their team members. As part of debriefing, I also asked kids to describe
an obstacle they overcame to be successful, and this trip offered plenty.
Boys talked about the ice, the length of the hike, the weight of the packs,
the weather, and a few other things, all the while identifying their achievement
of the summit as worth the effort."