Every year the 7th grade students at Union 32 Middle School in Montpelier hike a local mountain. In October 2019, they hiked Hunger Mountain from the Middlesex side up through land that SLT is working with the Trust for Public Land to protect through the Hunger Mountain Headwaters Project. Here is one of their stories about the day that was written by Mycala Edson, nominated for publication with the Stowe Land Trust, and shared by teacher, Mary Bove.
By Mycala Edson, 7th grader, U-32 Middle School
“I think we climbed the wrong thing…”
“The path is right there.”
“Yeah, but that’s the path up here, and we just climbed up a little random bunch of rocks.”
“Oh.” My classmates and I climb up the wooden staircase built into the side of the mountain. I turn around and take a picture.
“Aren’t we supposed to see either someone in front of or behind us?”
“We see each other.”
“Good enough.” We continue to hike and come upon a stream crossing the trail. We cluster by it. John hops across. And the rest of us follow. Soon we hear voices.
“I think we’re close to the next elevation.”
“I don’t hear any voices.”
“So?” We soon reach the next elevation, and our teachers greet us. We start unwinding our tape measure. John walks along with the tape measure and hits four trees. All of them are dead.
“Does that mean we don’t have to measure anything except the temperature?”
I turn to find the rest of the group chatting. I walk over.
“I dare you to show him that video!” one of them says, laughing. The other two smile devilishly. They dash off.
“No, wait! I was joking!” Susan runs after them, laughing. I stand there, confused.
A crisp breeze hits my face. “I’m. So. Tired.” “There’s more?!”
“Are we almost there?” I listen to the complaints of the people in front of and behind me. I’m utterly exhausted, but I continue on. This better be worth it…
I finally reach the rocks where another group of students are.
The view is spectacular. “Woah… This is cool!”
I notice that Ben has gone to a higher spot. I follow and find the rest of the group. Most have already pulled out their lunch. I pull out mine and go sit down with friends. I’ve found my place with our teacher in the front.
I’m eager to get off the mountain. The rocks are hard to get down, but I hear a group of boys fooling around behind me. My teacher uses a fallen down tree to inch down a small slope. I watch him, then grab the tree to do the same. WOOSH! My feet slide out from under me, and my hand slips from the grasp of the tree.
“Mmmm!” My teacher hurries over and helps me up. “Where does it hurt?”
I space out and start to think about that morning. I had rushed around, packing a sweater, extra socks, water, and my science stuff. I grabbed as many snacks as I’d eat. At the school, in the cafeteria, getting breakfast, I made hot chocolate. My, that hot chocolate was a delight on my tongue. I saw my friend who’s in my TA, and told him to tell my teacher that I was here. I started down to the Science room and found a bunch of people. I sipped at my cocoa, and my teacher said I should probably finish it before we got there. I agreed.
We file out of the school, and I say, “We are escaping! Muahahaha!” A friend shakes her head, laughing. We all squeeze onto the bus, and my friend and I sit together. I decide to work on my YouTube video. My friend also pulls out her phone, along with a couple of others.
The bus has arrived on the mountain! I stretch my legs. John tells me that I am carrying the bag up. We decide on switching at each elevation. I pull out a fruit rope. It tastes like berries.
We are finally off the mountain. The bus is late though. I dig through my snack and share graham crackers with some friends. Then we see the bus. Finally!
As soon as we get on I stuff in my earbuds. I am glad we are on the way back. I sigh. I stare out the window, spacing out.
We have finally made it back to school. I rush to the bathroom. I’ve been waiting for so long, because when we were at the mountain, my friend wouldn’t be my lookout. She said, “We’re almost down.” I think she just didn’t want to do it. She just wanted to hang out with her friends.
I don’t mind taking the late bus, but I’d rather not. I show my friend the bus, and we climb on. She doesn't sit with me. I decided to see if she knows to get off at the right stop. She does. When we get to the fire station, I say, “We should walk home.” She calls her dad, and we walk home. We first walk across a bridge. A lady pulls into her driveway next to the bridge. She opens the door, and her fat dog jumps out. He runs toward us, over a cat and bites my friend. The woman calls the dog, and we start to walk away.
“Hey!” I turn around. It’s the woman. “Did he bite you?”
My friend nods. “He ran over and bit my leg.”
“I’m sorry, we normally have him on a leash.”
“It’s fine.” We continue to walk.
HONK HONK! Someone is honking their horn. The car rolls down their window. It’s my dad!
“Are you guys walking home?” He asks.
“Do you want a ride?”
“Yes!” He pulls over, and we get in. I thank him. When we get to the house, he lets us out.
I think my favorite part of today was getting to enjoy the beautiful day and being surprised with good weather. We had been told to wear warm clothing. I’m glad most of us didn’t listen. I’m glad we got to enjoy this fun hike and see the beautiful view at the top.