Ice Climbing

By Calvin Grover ’22

To me, ice climbing has always been an “extreme” sport. Relegated to bucket lists, pipe dreams and watching youtube videos, it always seemed like something I would enjoy, but not something I would be able to do for awhile, without extensive research and preparation. This assumption was turned on its head when Mr. Tholen announced in a school meeting that there would be an ice climbing trip coming up on a weekend. I immediately turned to my friend Jacob and told him; “Oh yeah. We’re gonna do that.” Luckily, he was just as enthusiastic as I was, because we both share a passion for trying new things, and especially filming ourselves trying those new things. His face lit up, and his response was immediate; “It’s going to be an epic video.” 

A week and a half later, we stood in deep snow, with crampons strapped to our feet and sharp ice tools in our hands, in front of a looming ice slab. Jacob and I looked foolish, two buffoons with GoPro cameras gorilla taped to our helmets. We felt cool as we repeatedly completed the beginner climb, only stopping for lunch or to let someone else have a turn. Ice chips flew as we dug into the slanted face with sharpened steel, as our hands and toes went numb. Over the course of the day, we improved significantly, each climb making us more precise when we swung the ice tools, or kicked in our crampon front points. Our group was of a large range of climbing backgrounds, from experienced mountaineers to beginners who didn’t wear snowpants. We all had fun climbing, even though we were not able to progress onto any of the vertical challenging faces that surrounded us, because it was a crowded spot. I think we all went home tired, pushing ourselves in a sport that most of us, myself included, have never had the opportunity to try. For those of us who wanted to try more difficult stuff, there has been discussions of another, more advanced trip, likely next year!

“Maine: The Way Life Should Be”

By Bayleigh Patenaude ’20

Birds chirping, sun shining, and a cool, crisp breeze gently blowing through my room. No hustle and bustle of cars to be heard. No rumble of a train running through town. 

This is my life, every day, morning and night, growing up in rural Maine.

For my entire 17 years of life, I have lived in a small town called Casco.

 Nearby are the towns of Naples, Bridgton, and Sebago, and much alike to Casco, they are small but full of life. Living here, everyone knows everyone and everything about everyone. There are no secrets to be kept. The kids here come from families who have been in this area for at least 4 generations, and the families have some of the most amazing stories to tell.

Living here is quite different than living in a city. First off, the biggest city that is actually close to me is Portland, which is still about an hour away. In comparison to New York or Boston, it’s decently smaller. Uber, Lyft, and even subway systems aren’t really a thing here. If you want to go somewhere you either call your friends or drive yourself. 

Second, we really don’t have major sports teams in our area. Don’t get me wrong though, there are some of the most passionate Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins, and Celtics fans up through here, but we don’t quite have the easy access of being able to walk to The Garden or Fenway whenever there’s a game.

Despite the differences, there are so many wonderful experiences that I wouldn’t trade the world for, that I’ve had because of the area I live in. I live in one of the most beautiful places in Maine, with lakes surrounding the area all over. There are large, popular lakes, like Sebago and Long Lake that have some of the most beautiful views you could ever see. There are also quiet gems like Pleasant Pond, right in the middle of my town, that are perfect for taking the kayak or canoe out for a relaxing paddle.

Not only do we have the gorgeous lakes surrounding us, but we also have small, but still mighty mountains in the area to hike. 

Bayleigh P. and Ainsley K. enjoying the serene calmness after a challenging hike

There is a particular mountain called Rattlesnake Mountain near me, which is a challenging hike, but extremely fun. There’s also There is no better feeling than hiking a mountain, and enjoying the view from the peak. 

Though it is cool to hear about “big city life” and hear about the developments and furthering of technology and everything in cities, I still much rather prefer my quiet, small Maine town life. I wouldn’t trade the world for experiences I’ve had and memories I’ve made in the town I live in, and I very much agree with the statement “Maine: the way life should be!” I love this beautiful state, and everything it comes with. As the sign says as you’re entering Maine on the highway, “Welcome Home”, and welcome to my home.