Backcountry Trips: Skiing, Falling, Fun

For weeks, I had heard countless stories about Chewonki’s infamous backcountry trips from alumni, teachers, and outdoor leaders within my first few weeks at MCS. I thought that would make me feel more prepared when going into the trip, but my group made sure that the trip was as unpredictable as it could possibly be. 

Each morning, I woke up to the sound of the Minions Universal Fanfare blasting from Carly’s speaker through the walls of our room. I may have slept through the first three rounds of it playing, but by round four I was up and singing along. I quickly got up and started making bagels for breakfast with Thomas and Kiran, and we said our goodbyes to the wonderful Stratton Brook Hut and made our way to the skis. It was the big day with 7 miles worth of skiing to Poplar Hut (our next “vacation” destination) with steep downhills for the first 3 miles. We were all excited for what was ahead of us. I took a sled with some of our belongings in it and started heading down the mountain in hopes of not falling for a little while until my body had warmed up from skiing. At the bottom of the first downhill, however, I fell straight into the snow bank which, from our snowfall just two nights earlier, was way deeper than the snow I had learned how to get up in a week before.

After just a few minutes and a whopping 0.1 miles, I came across a steep, windy hill. I had noticed the sled’s tendency to tip to one side and asked everyone behind me if it seemed like anything was wrong with the bags. After everyone reassured me, I french fried it straight down the hill, and as I whipped around the corner, a bag flew into the air, my sled flipped over on its back, yanking me into yet another snowbank, and slid over me so I was pressed between the snow and the sled. I tried to convince my trip leader that I was okay, a task that proved difficult while there were tears streaming down my face. The process of standing again was slowed by my hysterical laughter and tears along with a sled being completely on top of me, but I eventually found my way back to the world and stood on my skis again with my sled guiltily sitting behind me.  

After falling many more times from my clumsiness, steep hills, and warped sled, I realized that I actually enjoyed falling “epicly” (as Aiden would say) much more than staying up on my skis. That night at Poplar Hut, I told everyone that my rose (highlight) of the day was my friends and I falling so many times. The day was tiring and left us feeling sore, but the accomplishment and sense of pride it gave me made it all worth it. Along with the 7 miles of skiing, it was also 8 hours of singing songs with Maddie, taking chex from Aiden’s gorp, talking to Carly and Phoebe, hearing fun facts from Kiran, pizza-ing with Thomas, laughing and falling with Ella, and hearing entertaining stories from Lily. We ended our time together by stargazing outside the hut, listening to Ella’s wide variety of music, and talking right up until check in. There was much excitement around going home and seeing my other friends again, but I was also looking forward to growing my new relationships that had just begun on my backcountry trip. And who knows, maybe we’ll all go camping together again in the spring when there is grass on the ground instead of three feet of snow. 

Danica Ginsberg, Cary Academy, Cary, NC 

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