Ellie Brown & Alex Duane:
Leaving the farm fields and rolling hills surrounding the St. Lawrence campus, our small group of seven began the drive through the Adirondacks, taking us to the start of our backpacking expedition at the Adirondack Loj. Packs were loaded, legs were clean and spirits were high. With eight days ahead of us, we traversed into the High Peaks through the mud and rain. Sun became a rare and precious commodity, which, when it appeared, brought us ecstatic joy. Our feet carried us up the steep, ‘spruce-y' wall behind Wallface Ponds, though the boulders of Indian Pass, up Panther, Seward, and Donaldson peaks, over streams and through swamps. With each step, we left behind the conveniences and clutter of modern life and the dramas of summer. In place of these things, we learned to cook delicacies such as blackberry crisp over a Whisper Lite stove, create our own entertainment and enjoy each other's company through it all. By the time we got to the Lumberjack Inn for breakfast on the last day, we were dirty and smelly, but mentally prepared for the next transition into life at Arcadia.
Kelly Mudeking & Mathias Nevins:
After a 40 mile traverse across the Adirondack Park, topping several peaks-including Mt Marcy, the highest-our most physically demanding day offered relentless rain, knee-deep mud, and a barely visible trail. However, after eight days in the woods, the campstove dinners and rainy nights snuggled together in ADK Park Lean-To's offered our most memorable moments. We found that travelling in a smaller group allowed us to open up and learn more about each other, which better prepared us for our time at Arcadia.
While both groups experienced different expeditions, we all shared the same excitement and apprehensiveness while paddling across Lake Massawepie to Arcadia, our new home. Within the first few days, we grew accustomed to caring for the basic needs of the community, such as the sauna, the Clivus Multrum (our composting toilet) and the beautiful, new timber-frame kitchen. We have all been taking advantage of the opportunities the land around us has to offer. As Kelly and Cam try their luck with rod and reel, Alex and Andrew enjoy mountain biking upon the varied terrain surrounding Massawepie. Silas, Ashley, and Sam took quickly to woodworking and Jon and Leah have continued with their morning running rituals. As for the rest of the group, Molly, Ellie, and Mathias are laying out the framework for a small scale cold-frame to provide fresh vegetables throughout the semester.