On October 5, a team of fourteen residents and staff journeyed to Baxter State Park for a three-day camping and hiking excursion. On the first day, the crew drove to the Roaring Brook Trailhead to test their grit on South Turner, a 3,100-foot mountain planted in the shadow of Mt. Katahdin. The guys quickly ascended the mountain, and stood in awe at the top. With miles of wilderness, mountaintops, and foliage all around, the group held a meeting at the summit and shared on what they were working on, and what they hoped to take with them from the trip.
When the guys arrived at their campsite, they unpacked, and a group began building a fire, while others assisted with the cooking. After satiating themselves in preparation for the following day, the group held another meeting, this time around the fire.
The team awoke at 5:30am the following morning. With headlamps providing the only light, the guys assembled their gear and set off again to the Roaring Brook Trailhead. What proceeded this time was a 12-hour hike to the summit of Mt. Katahdin. Mt. Katahdin is the tallest mountain in the state of Maine at 5,269 feet, and the most prominent mountain in the Eastern United States. Our ambitious crew chose the most difficult route to the top and back; the cathedral trail, a seemingly vertical 2-mile ascension to the summit. Then, in the face of snow and rain, the group traveled across the Knife’s Edge, a beautiful, unique, and dangerous one mile ridgeline which requires patience, mindfulness, and courage to conquer. The crew made it back to the Roaring Brook Campsite at 7pm, cooked dinner, and held another meeting in which they reflected on the trip and spoke about what they would take back from the experience.
During our harrowing climb up Mt. Katahdin, some of our group members thought that they couldn’t make it up. As we traveled along the Knife’s Edge, others experienced a nearly paralyzing fear of heights. Some admitted to feeling bad for holding up the group on the way down. Through each of these uncomfortable experiences, our group stuck together, helped those that were struggling, and those that were struggling learned to ask for help from their peers. It is through challenging experiences such as this one that our newer guys learn to rely on others to guide them, while our more senior residents discover their ability to help their fellows as leaders. In our final meeting of the trip, each of our crew members expressed gratitude for the experience, especially, for the opportunity to get to know some of the guys they do not typically spend time with.