After weeks of preparation, including nordic skiing, snowshoeing, and a few lessons in layering, Maine Coast Semester 60 is off on their wilderness trips! Coordinated by Johnson Whippie, Chewonki’s Outdoor Classroom Field Coordinator, semester students left campus in five groups on Tuesday morning, each bristling with a mix of excitement, anticipation and nerves. Semester 60 represents a wide-range of wilderness skills, from absolute beginners to experienced backpackers. Each trip group will spend five days exploring some of the most beautiful places in New England from different base-camps deep in the Maine (or New Hampshire!) woods.
The first group, lead by seasoned guide and Chewonki vice president Greg Shute and Maine Coast Semester fellow Holly Hoffman, headed to Haskell Hut in the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. Located on the east branch of the Penobscot River, Haskell Hut is ideally positioned for exploring the state’s recently designated monument, which contains almost 90,000 acres of rugged forest.
The next three groups headed to the Maine Huts and Trails system located near the Bigelow Preserve and Flagstaff Lake. These Chewonki partners maintain a broad trail system year round, including several dorm-style huts for backpackers. One group, led by science faculty Becca Abuza, history faculty Phill Kratzman and boys camp assistant director Henry Heyburn, will stay in Grand Falls Hut; a second group led by science fellow Eric McIntyre, team development coordinator Shelly Gibson and science faculty Pete Sniffin, will stay in Flagstaff Hut; and a third group led by senior outdoor educator Oliva Lukacic and science faculty James Kary will stay in Poplar Hut.
The fifth group headed west to New Hampshire, where they will base camp in the Zealand Falls Hut while exploring the White Mountains National Forest. This group is led by Johnson as well as Spanish faculty Chris Percy and semester fellow Drew Higgins.
In preparation for their trips, students participated in afternoon and weekend workshops that helped them get comfortable on cross country skis and snowshoes while pulling sleds loaded with equipment. Students also learned basic navigation, wilderness self-care, how to spot hazards, and the principles of Leave No Trace.
We wish everyone in Semester 60 a great adventure this week!
A few photos of Maine Coast Semester 60 learning to ski and snowshoe:
More photos of wilderness trips prep can be found on our Flickr site!