The tripping program is an integral part of the Newfound & Owatonna camp experience. New England is blessed with an abundance of incredible spots from hiking Mt. Katahdin in Baxter State Park, to ocean kayaking on the Maine Island trail, to rock climbing at Cathedral Ledge, to canoeing down the Allagash River. With years of experience and miles of trails and rivers behind them, we asked our trippers what their favorite trips have been and here are their responses.
If you’ve ever been on vacation, you know that feeling you get when returning home. Whether it was a day trip to the beach, or a month-long backpack around SE Asia...it’s the simple comforts of home that you appreciate. Like your bed, or your favorite cup in the kitchen, or your beloved furry friend. Newfound trips were like this for me. It was challenging and exciting to be hiking mountains and sleeping in the woods, but I always returned to Camp after a trip with a renewed love and gratitude. For all the places I’ve seen and things I’ve experienced...there really is no place like my Newfound home.
The trips program is an avenue for new experiences and growth. Starting Sunday afternoon, each camper receives a packing list and a bag to put all of their belongings in. Once they brought their gear to the grove, we would go through it with them. “Do you really need four shirts for a two day trip? Or two books in case you finish the first one?” How many extra things are we carrying around each day that we may not actually need? Can we cast off any of those unnecessary burdens? And make more space in our (spiritual) backpacks?
Out on the trail or on the water, I enjoyed watching campers and counselors navigate the unknown. Trips create the opportunity for an empowering experience: an opportunity to learn about leadership, self-sufficiency, teamwork, and not being afraid of a new experience.
The trips program at Camp is about the journey, not the destination. Those unplanned moments like finding wild blueberry bushes on the trail, paddling
up to a lobster boat with $20 to come away with eight lobsters, cooling off at a watering hole at the end of a sweaty hike, or the hundreds of other
moments that are often overlooked, including sunsets, laughs, challenges, and the friendships that grow from them.
– Kenzie Jones
As a camper, I always thought of the CIT trip as THE trip of trips, something I would look forward to for years, then never forget. Day 1 of 5 sealed that fate. We had already backpacked our way up and across two peaks, and as we were coming up on the third, the tree tops gave way to a sky erupting in orange and red — Day 1 gave us a sunset on the summit. Me, my Newfound sisters, a mountain top view, AND a sunset? What more could I ask for? In that moment I told myself, “I will always remember this moment,” and here I am 7 years later with that memory still as vivid as its sunset!
– Katie Bumatay
I led a wonderful trip to Moosehead Lake, the largest lake in the state of Maine. In the middle of the lake, there is a small mountain called Mt. Kineo. The first day we paddled around the lake to the first campsite where the girls swam and enjoyed a beautiful sunset. On the second day, we canoed to our second campsite at the base of Mt. Kineo, hiked to the top, and were surprised with a 360 view of the entire region, beautiful and awe-inspiring. On the third day, we paddled back, bracing against strong wind. Despite the winds, the girls paddled hard and made it back to the vans, proud of their effort. This trip was especially memorable because we were able to hike up a mountain and canoe in the same day.
– Tori Cheatham
One of my favorite hikes is a section of the Appalachian Trail that includes the Mahoosuc Notch. I like to start with Old Speck which is a steep uphill hike, but at the top there is a tower that gives a spectacular view of the whole Grafton Notch area. After the summit, it’s a short hike down to the Speck Pond Campsite, which sits on a small pond. The eastern edge of the pond spills over into a little stream and creates an infinity pool effect looking out into the wilderness; it’s a great place to relax after the day of hiking.
The next day starts with a steep downhill along rock slabs, and once at the bottom you enter the Mahoosuc Notch. The trail through the narrow floor of this valley goes over huge boulders and through caves that the rocks formed. The large rocks and limited direct sunlight keeps it so cold that we find patches of snow even in July often resulting in a snowball or two flying through the air! Just as scrambling over and through the boulders starts to get hard, the notch opens up and the trail heads uphill through the dense pine forest to Falling Mill Mountain. The trail goes from one summit to the next along ridgelines all the way to the Maine-New Hampshire border. It is a day of spectacular views of pristine wilderness.
-Stephan Von Malapert
I took the Oceans division on an epic backpacking trip on the Zealand Bond loop, in the Pemigewasset Wilderness. I wanted to lead that trip for a long time — I remember being challenged by that hike as a camper, and I wanted to relive that experience and try it again as a counselor. It rained on the first day and the miles were long and steep, but the views were incredible and the group bonded over it all. They really rose to the challenge with grit and grace. In the months since, my mind has wandered back to those days in the White Mountains. The trip felt like we entered into our own world, where the sight of alpine trees and moss were nourishing to the soul and there were no cell phones to distract us.
– Ana Liuzzi