CRCS Backpackers Club

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Mr. Cappelletti and Mr. Barron, with the help of CRCS, are able to take a group of students hiking into the mountains. The CRCS Backpackers club began about ten years ago when Mr. Cappelletti found a love of the outdoors and wanted to share that with students. After a brief period, he decided on taking students to the Adirondack Mountains, one of the hiking staples for anyone looking for a challenge.

Preparations for the trip starts with packing a bag for the hike. First, one is required to bring in about a basketball sized amount of food to be put in a bear barrel. This food must be three meals a day for three days and any snacks if they get hungry along the way. Next comes the gear to make camping as enjoyable as possible. Below is a list of the bare essentials for the hike. Other suggestions for what to bring include a rain coat and a bed roll for comfort. Anything else you want to bring is on you to carry in and out of the woods.

On the day the group leaves, it is a six-hour drive to The Adirondacks. Once there, they get ready for the long journey ahead. The instant he left the car, Jack Benham noticed how “you’re completely disconnected.” As the hike goes on, the packs feel like they’re getting heavier the longer the walk. This lasts until camp is made either in a tent or in a wooden bungalow. Afterwards, it’s time to ditch the packs and set out to climb a mountain that very same day. Mr. Barron states that the activity itself is “a very strenuous one that has huge rewards, many people talk about what it’s like to climb a mountain but until you have done it you have no idea.” Then after summiting, the hikers crawl back to camp, make dinner, then pass out from fatigue. On the second day, it is a quick breakfast and go. The Backpackers start by heading off into the woods again to make another peak. Soon, it becomes apparent that the group is only half way up the mountain, plus there is still a long way to go to reach the top. Mr. Barron says that the worst part is that “you are tired, you are hungry and you know you aren’t done yet.” It is not until everyone reaches the top that the feeling of accomplishment sets in. Mr. Cappelletti calls it the “payoff” so to speak. “It’s hard, it may be rainy, even cold but the feeling you get on top of the mountain cannot be described.” Shortly after it is time for dinner, followed by sleep, and in the morning the group repacks everything that was brought and start the long trek back to the cars.

The ideas the students take away from this trip will last them a lifetime, and our chaperones are glad they are able to give students this experience. In Jack’s case he learned how to live out of a backpack for three days, without this trip he would not have had this experience. I myself have learned how to plan ahead and be careful of how much food I ate as we hiked. Mr. Barron and Mr. Cappelletti both enjoy how hiking teaches young adults hard work, determination, and perseverance. Mr. Cappelletti says that any mountain teaches that “No one can climb it for them, they have to do it themselves.”

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