Mountain Day 2017 marked the 41st consecutive year that we have taken to the hills. Forty-plus years is a pretty impressive run. Count the miles: If each student hikes, say, eight miles, that means that our school collectively walks a distance equal to a trip from Lake Placid to Florida. Do this forty-one times, and we've walked the Earth's Equator – almost 25,000 miles – twice! That's a lot of steps, a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, a lot of "How much farther?".
This year's treks included a wide spectrum of challenges, from the state's highest peak, Mount Marcy, to Mount Van Hoevenberg, smaller but still quite a hike and quite a view, especially during peak foliage. Then there was the Trap Dike, a rock climb and a slide that required students to be roped for the more challenging sections. And new to our menu was Mr. Eaton's first non-motorized, carbon-free trip. This team started right at the front door, walking to the school beach, and canoeing to Whiteface at the far end of Lake Placid.
We didn't invent Mountain Day. We rediscovered it. Decades prior to this forty-year run, Northwood students were taking a day out of class to seek a different kind of learning up in the high places. And learning it is. Attend any Alumni Reunion and you'll hear references to this life-changing day. You might not hear much about calculus or statistics, AP History or soccer practice, but you will get a lot of stories about how hard it was, how amazing the view was, and especially how hikers got to know and appreciate each other simply by getting out into a new environment and facing a common challenge.