For 6 summers, I led wilderness trips in New England for teenagers, primarily boys. This particular photo is during a 3-week hike of a portion of the Maine and NH Appalachian Trail.
This was a group that I guided for the full length of the Long Trail in VT.
The trails were often remote and the scenery couldn't be beat.
A good trip leader knows how to motivate tired participants - in this case, a bag of whoopie pies attached to a stick on the back of my pack helped get them all up Killington.
I always brought a backpacker's guitar strapped to the side of my pack. This provided entertainment and a connection to something familiar for kids who became homesick and wanted to be done.
I always found time to work in some mini lessons on wild edibles.
Oh how the kids loved resupply day! Usually one a week or so, resupply day meant letters from home and usually some candy and other treats from parents concerned that their kids were starving to death in the wilderness. It also meant some fresh meat and produce rather than dehydrated food.
The landscapes were usually very...green. And very beautiful.
The moments when we stumbled upon wildlife were always special. Except the time we stumbled on a bear eating our snacks and eager to come back for the main course.
Apart from backpacking, I also got to lead extended canoe and kayak trips. This is along a series of lakes in northern Maine after poling up (yes, upstream!) the length of the Allagash River. The overall trip was 7 weeks in length.
I focused on opportunities to teach participants the skills that I used as a trip leader. Here I am teaching map and compass navigation, which I then allowed participants to try when finding our next night's campsite.
When not out on extended trips, I taught nature lessons and facilitated teambuilding challenges for middle school groups. Here I'm teaching about the facial discs that help owls to hear so well.
The intertidal zone
Being on the ocean provided great opportunities for both land and ocean instruction.
Students hauled their own belongings along with group gear up to a mile out to campsites, which we lived at for the week. Cooking dinner for 14 people over a fire was a routine endeavor.
"The gulch" was a particular favorite challenge for students, pulling themselves across a seacoast inlet while dangling from a cable.
At the end of the week, we'd clean up and get ready to do it again the following week with a different school group.