On the weekend of June 10th-11th, The CT Youth Excellence Project joined Outside Perspectives to backpack up and over Mt. Everett on the Appalachian Trail in Southern Massachusetts. This was the first backpacking experience for the group and it was in preparation for their upcoming excursion with Outside Perspectives to the Bigelow Mountains in Maine.
The group met at the trail head of Race Brook Falls Trail and immediately started their hike. For some, this first mile was very difficult as they adjusted to the weight of their packs and the steep uphill climb. However, the group persevered by working together and made it to a beautiful 100-ft waterfall known as Race Brook Falls. The water was clear, cold and refreshing as the boys took off their shoes to cool off from the hike. We refilled our water bottles and continued pushing upwards, passing Race Brook campsite and turning onto the Appalachian Trail.
The next section of the hike was the most challenging, as participants scaled the steep south side of Mt. Everett. The climb included scrambling up rock so steep wooden steps had been bolted in place for foot holds. As we emerged from the scrubby, small trees and made it to the top, the crew celebrated their success. The amazing viewpoint looked east across the Housatonic Valley.
We didn’t stay too long as the black flies were out with a vengeance, so the crew soon made its way down the trail to Guilder Pond, away from the bugs.
By the pond, under the setting sun, the group took the opportunity to dip on the cool water and relax after a hard day. The area known as Mount Everett State Reservation has some beautiful examples of old-growth forest that is rare in this part of the United States. These rare trees can be found around Guilder Pond, which adds to its unique beauty. The group then headed down the trail to Glen Brook Campsite where we made some burritos and built a campfire. That night, the almost full Strawberry Moon rose above the camp-site (a pink or red tinted moon in June).
At 4am the next morning a few brave individuals hiked back up Mt. Everett to watch the sunrise over the valley. This is an exceptionally beautiful experience, only available to those willing to rise to the challenge of a very early day. They woke before the birds and listened to them start their morning song as they hiked and even spotted a porcupine on the trail. The sunrise did not disappoint as it was a beautifully clear morning.
The intrepid morning hikers made it back down to camp in time to wake their crew mates and start cooking breakfast. The group hiked out of camp and down the Elbow Trail that ends at The Berkshire School. The crew returned a mere 24-hours after departure, all-in-all a wonderful journey and just the beginning of The Youth Excellence Project’s exciting adventures with Outside Perspectives. Outside Perspectives instructors Nicky and Shannon felt privileged to meet and spend time with such a special group and look forward to spending more time with them up in Maine.