Overview: Find your Way Back is one of the key experiences in the Mountain School outdoor program. In small groups, students get into a van, blindfold themselves, and are driven somewhere about 30 minutes away from campus. They are dropped off with a map, compass, backpack and water. Their task is to figure out where they are based on their surroundings, and find their way back to campus by orienteering.
The project: I asked some students to share with me about their experiences during FYWB. These are their adventures, in their own words…
We had a really far place. It was a lot of walking through really muddy mud – a good half mile probably. Liz’s foot went full into the mud at one point. We walked about two and a half miles, and then we had to hike Patterson Mountain. We didn’t see any land marks to show we were really on track once we past the bog. We were wondering, are we going the right direction? Then we got a little way down Patterson Mountain, we saw Garden Hill. We started SCREAMING and ran a good half mile to school. We saw the neighbors with llamas. They came out and said hi to us. We got back half way through lunch. OK – so we cheated a little – we looked at the map on the way to our drop off spot, but we were happy we did. We had a bunch of candy – sour patch kids and Swedish fish. We ate and walked and talked and looked at the compass. Every now and then someone would say, are we off course? But it ended up working out. Ohh – and we had one bar of cell phone service on Patterson! I tried to call my mom, but the signal was too weak. (Sigh). My advice? Wear good shoes and bring a lot of water. And trust the compass.
– Jacob R. from VA, F’13