Every fall since 1995, Hamilton’s Outing Club (HOC) sends groups of students to the Adirondack Mountains where they attempt to summit each of the 46 high peaks in one weekend. This year, there were 25 trips and five overnight backpacking trips. Student participants included 40 HOC leaders, 20 shadow leaders (as part of HOC leader training), and 51 hikers for a grand total of 111. This year, Hamilton students summited 39 of the 46 peaks. Communications/Marketing Office student writer Catherine Vogt ’24 tells about her first 46 peaks experience below.

To begin our 46 Peaks adventure, I left campus with 12 fellow students at 4:30 a.m. on Oct. 1 for our drive to the Adirondacks. My trip, led by Ellie Whelan ’22.5 and Claire Harpel ’23, sought to summit two Adirondack peaks: Street Mountain (4,150’) and Nye Mountain (3,888’).

We arrived at the Adirondack Loj, located in North Elba, around 8:30 a.m., and set off on the trail at 9. The trail began relatively flat with a beautiful landscape of trees and mushroom-covered logs, which eventually led us to a river. The river was about 20’ wide, and we had to navigate rocks and rapids to cross it. After the 13 of us crossed the river (with a few wet hiking boots), the trail got steeper.

The Street/Nye trail is known to be particularly muddy and with the Adirondacks being inundated with rain earlier that week, the trail lived up to our expectations. Using branches to support our steps, we trudged through the muddy trail right along a rocky stream, heading closer to our summit.

We took a few breaks for water and sat down for lunch, but we were on a mission. For nearly four hours, we hiked uphill through a scenic trail full of a variety of different mosses, trees, and bushes. We ran into a few other hikers with their dogs and stopped for a visit.

Finally, at 1:30 p.m., we summited Street Mountain and were rewarded with a breathtaking view of the Adirondack landscape. We were lucky to have great weather, and the sky was as clear as could be, allowing us to see for miles out. After taking in the sights, we hiked another 30 minutes to summit Nye Mountain. The summit of Nye didn’t have a view like Street Mountain did, but it was just as rewarding making it to the top.

Heading down the mountain was a lot easier than hiking up, but it was just as beautiful. The trees around us were transitioning to autumn with red, orange, and yellow leaves floating around us. Once we made it to the bottom of the trail, crossed the river again, and continued on the flat part of the trail, we made it back to the Adirondack Loj at 6 p.m. Then we got back on the road to campus, stopping at McDonald’s for an off-campus treat.

By the end of the day, we had hiked a total of 15 miles for nine hours! While I am a bit sore from our adventure, it could not have been more rewarding to get out into nature and get to know my fellow hikers.

Expand Your Perspectives

Whether exploring the Adirondacks or taking a class outside your comfort zone, learning takes place when students encounter new ideas, are exposed to new experiences and opportunities, and interact with people who have different perspectives.

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