Four Trails Update 7/12/2018

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Shaw Village had a speedy conclusion to their canoeing trip. On their final morning, they began the day at 4:30 am and had their fastest day out of camp (with a shocking lack of complaining considering the hour). After some open water and river paddling, the group ran the rapids near Mollidgewock State Park, and almost made it all the way through without a capsize. The quickly resolved boat flip occurred at the final stretch of rapid and in the process all loose contents of the canoe were miraculously contained by the wall of the canoe while it was pulled to the nearby river bank. To commemorate the event, a bystander who witnessed the proceedings enthusiastically offered her swim lesson instructor business card to our resident dive master and one half of the Shaw leadership pair, Cooper Davis.

Nesuntabunt has had a busy past few days returning from their hike trip on the 9th in time for a private dinner, taking on the dangling duo the night of the 10th and shaking down for their bike trip on the 11th. Upon the aforementioned dangling duo, the campers of this village exhibited impressive flexibility and willingness to support each other so they each may climb at least a bit higher than they thought they might while they were on the ground. On their shakedown, while accompanied by the one and only Neal Smeltzer, the group played a bicycle adapted version of red light green light in an empty parking lot and took full advantage of the adjacent playground (especially the swings) during lunch. They will head out for their biking trip to Booth Bay on the 12th!

As of this writing, Madison Village finds themselves camping upon the shores of Lake Umbagog. On the morning of the 12th, the group will set out to cross the lake and deliver themselves to a takeout, where they in turn will be delivered to the very same rapids run by Shaw village the morning of the 11th. After running this stretch of quick water the group will return to Merrowvista and begin preparations for their hiking trip.

Flag Village is approaching the home stretch of a customized hiking trip through the Mahoosucs. On the night of the 11th they stayed at Full Goose shelter, having summited goose eye east and west, enjoyed the views attendant thereto, and are in high spirits before they return to camp on the 12th.

Chocorua village, or as they call themselves “Chocoru-what?!” rested easy in the Canaan Valley on the night of the 11th, having just returned from their booth bay biking adventure and staring in the face of preparations for their Saddleback range hiking trip. Their hiking shakedown is set for the middle of the 12th and they will ride away in one of our stylish vans the next day towards their final trek.

Little Haystack took a blistering start to their bike trip on the 11th. After being dropped off to start their day towards Tamworth campground, they made swift time and were in camp and petting ponies by 5pm (much to the praise and delight of those checking in on their progress!).  On the 12th, they will bike towards Lake Ivanhoe campground, which has a recently completed water playground and sand beach, which ought to serve nicely as a place to celebrate a birthday.

Voyageur campers have been up to a smattering of activities on their jaunt. This mishmash includes, but is not limited to: mud sliding, eating burritos, inspecting the purported age of food on the edge of the fry pan, seeking discarded gems in several locations of the famous Frenchie’s, quenched their thirst from the world’s largest milkshake and recovered from various ventures thanks to the generosity of local firehouse staff.

And finally, we had the pleasure of checking in with the Odyssey groups when we resupplied their food a few days ago. Here are updates from the groups themselves:


Odyssey Women:

When Kris Light first asked for a blog post from our odyssey trip, I was thrilled by the endless possibilities. We could rewrite a song to catch everyone up on all we’ve done so far (a talent that this group excels at). We could write a poem or haiku, get quotes from each member of this mobile family, or even attempt to draw a picture of one of the numerous memorable moments we’ve shared on these few days that have felt like years. With all the time we’ve had, I was thinking of writing about just that: time. The things discussed, the lessons learned, the experiences lived are all a possibility when time is on your side. Even that though, doesn’t feel quite right in capturing this group of awe inspiring and ridiculously goofy young women. So how do you share the power and possibility when it comes to spending two weeks with 11 strong individuals, walking, with everything we need on our backs? I’m not sure it can be fully conveyed through a blog post, written on a scrap of paper, after hiking 7 miles with sleep hovering in the distance. What I can say is that for us, it starts and ends with love.

The love we have for ourselves, in being able to push our bodies past what we thought was previously capable. The love we have for this space and the beauty it provides and asks to only be loved in return. And finally, the love we have for each other. This feeling that is magically created in such a short amount of time is the basis for all we’ve achieved so far. Not just physical achievements, but also the ability to create a space where everyone can be exactly who they are. The ability to be peeing from laughing so hard one second to having an open and honest conversation about values and what it means to be a truly inclusive society in another.

This group loves fully, unconditionally and without inhibition. And with that, I am exceptionally grateful for the days to come and to fully see what happens when love comes first.


-Kelcie Meyer


Odyssey Men:

The story so far: The first day was long and difficult, and the first two days were quite hot. Everyday people in this group have wanted to improve and they have, they have. The first couple nights the group was averaging a campsite arrival of 8pm. Most recently, all camp setting activities have been completed in the daylight, including a high score of arriving to camp at 12:30 pm on the 6th. All the group members have pushed through the rain, heat and terrain. The leaders feel that the next looming challenge may be consecutive days with consistent rain (an occurrence absent from their experience thus far).