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An intrepid group of five DV high school students tackled the Adirondack High Peaks this fall as part of the school's Adventure-Based Learning Experience curriculum (ABLE). They set up their base-camp at Marcy Dam, hiked a total of 30 miles comprised of four area hikes including Mount Marcy the highest point in NY state during their 6-day trip. Three of the adventurers shared memories of their experiences, and all agreed that it was a trip they will never forget.
Malia Henry '21, Meghan McFillin '21 and Charlotte Ziccari '21 were excited to talk about their adventures in the Adirondacks. Charlotte, who goes by Char, was the veteran camper and hiker of the group, having spent 10-days on an Outward Bound trip out west. Both Meghan and Malia had never been camping before.
All three students agreed that the trip was emotionally and physically challenging. Char said that "there were a lot of emotions on this trip." Meghan added, that "everyone definitely hit their breaking point, but we all helped and supported each other through those ups and downs."
Char, Malia and Meghan all agreed that the highlight of the trip was climbing the rocks and boulders at Avalanche Pass. "I felt like Tarzan climbing those rocks!" Meghan excitedly shared. "It definitely pushed me outside my comfort zone, but once we were there and doing it, you just had to climb the rocks. There was no way around it, and we did it, and felt great about ourselves once we got to the top."
Being pushed out of their comfort zones was a common theme for the students on this trip, and also one of the most valuable take-aways for each. Char reported,"On a daily basis, you went from 'I can't, I don't believe in myself' to 'I did it, and I feel great,'" and the others agreed.
Pushing themselves to try something new that was physically demanding and that they didn't think they could do, and accomplishing those tasks as a group with the support of each other is exactly the experience that the ABLE program is designed to create. It's in these moments that students discover new depths of confidence and abilities, and form life-long memories with their fellow adventurers.
Other unexpected benefits of the trip that the girls shared included taking time out from social media (no phones are allowed on DV trips), not having to look in a mirror for 5 days, and the amazing food cooked mostly by their chaperone Dana (including apple granola cobbler they enjoyed for breakfast one day using apples the girls had swatted down with sticks from a local apple tree).
"It was cold, especially going to sleep and waking up, and I was glad to get home, but once I was home, I kind of missed being outside," added Malia.
The other DV students who went on this ABLE Hiking trip were Katie Leddy '20, and Charlotte Mumma '21.