An “Up North” Wolverine Weekend Adventure

A longstanding tradition at Bridgton is the Outing Club, which has provided decades of Academy students the opportunity to experience all that the outdoors of Maine has to offer. While today’s Outing Club is a less formal group than it was fifty years ago, there are many times throughout each year when current Wolverines are offered outdoor adventures of all types.

This past weekend, six students braved the cold and wilds of northern Maine in a weekend adventure not soon to be forgotten. Mr. Will Hay ’14, who oversees the Wolverine Program, took Alex Wolff (Chestnut Hill, MA), Chris Maio (Wenham, MA), Harper McPhee (Plantsville, CT), Jimmy Butler (Treasure Island, FL), Nick Doucot (Rowley, MA), and Wyeth Crowley (Dover, NH) to his family’s remote rustic cabin near Portage, over five hours from the comforts of North Bridgton. The cabin is without running water, electricity, or plumbing, and cellular service is not available in the area. Students and staff had to access the camp via snowmobile, trekking over five miles into the Maine woods. Mr. Jude Lindberg, who is one of our English teachers, and Registered Maine Guide and retired Academy faculty member, Mr. Ray Stauble, were also part of the expedition. For Mr. Lindberg, this was the first time he had experienced the outdoors of Maine in this way. While he had many meaningful things to say in retrospect, these few words speak volumes: “I feel a sense of trust in myself I didn’t previously have, a newfound confidence that I can’t yet fully explain, and a deep desire to spend my time being more connected to the people and the natural world around me.”

While the weekend was certainly about having fun, many parts of it were also a learning experience. Learning how to start a fire, ice fishing to provide food, and looking for a natural spring as a water source were just a few of the things on the list. Wearing the proper cold-weather clothing was also something the group learned about as they prepared for the trip, and Jimmy Butler offered up his humorous viewpoint, “I felt like a juggernaut or an arctic explorer on a mission!” Nick Doucot reflects on what he gained from this opportunity, “It was a different vacation than what I expected, but the camaraderie that was part of the whole weekend made it worth it. We learned to work together and also how to work things out if we were really going to have a good time…I didn’t even think about my phone during the weekend because I had so many other things to enjoy and keep me busy.”

The students kept a journal so they could later look back on how the weekend impacted them and what lessons were learned, and Wyatt shares this, “While in the cabin, I found myself wanting to pick up my phone for the first few hours, but my mind began to become more creative, thinking of ways to adapt. From card games to hide and seek, the time flew by. Outside was cold and using the outhouse was less than ideal, but it brought me a deeper appreciation for the things I take for granted.”

Mr. Hay was incredibly excited about the opportunity to share a place he loves so much with this year’s Wolverines. Although this is the first such trip he’s been on with Bridgton students, he hopes to make it an annual tradition: “I could not have asked for a better group to begin the tradition with.”