The junior class descended upon Bear Notch on Thursday as they prepared for their three-day solo adventure. Approaching the halfway point of Out Back, the groups have been graced with great weather, bar a few inches of snow. The trend looks to continue as the forecast predicts above freezing temperatures for the remainder of the trip.
Basecamp hums with nervous excitement as students hike down from their satellite camps. As they stare down at the tarp, Wilson lid and food that will sustain them for the next three days, listening to Out Back Director Eric Thatcher’s pre-solo speech, many marveled at the journey they had and conversed in tones of wonder and inconceivability. This was the moment they had quietly been waiting for since they stepped on the Holderness campus. It was about to become reality. All have had friends or siblings or parents tell them stories about their solo experience, but the recognition that it was their turn to embark on the almost fifty-year tradition brought with it an atmosphere of anxious anticipation. It is their time. It is their solo.
Students will reunite with their groups on Monday and begin the final leg of their trek through the White Mountains. The basecamp crew will clean out the site, signifying the close of another successful solo, leaving nothing but snowshoe tracks behind for the forty-ninth year!
Albert Bierstadt, the German-American painter renowned for his landscapes of the American West, came to the White Mountains to capture its simple yet overwhelming beauty. What came to life through nearly a decade’s worth of work was The Emerald Pool, a massive oil-on-canvas monument to the natural majesty of a hidden swimming hole along the Peabody River in the Pinkham Notch. Recounting The Emerald Pool, Bierstadt said, “I never had so difficult a picture to paint, as this White Mountain subject the Emerald Pool; my artist friends think it my best picture and so do I.”
At Holderness we deliberately build community through the people we bring in and programs we support. Today I want to share one story about people who showed us what it means to be a mission-centered community and talk about one unique program that is hitting a milestone.
Kicking off its 141st year, Holderness School welcomed new students to campus on September 5th. Under blue skies and surrounded by the cheers of joyful Senior Leaders, 114 new students eagerly joined the Holderness School community. The day was filled with smiles as new students and families unpacked their cars and turned dorm rooms into a home away from home.