Students explore the wilderness through love of hiking


Morgan Williams

Students share stories about their hiking trips.

Lucy Scherer, Staff Writer

Red Knights traveled all over the world this summer for some incredibly intriguing and once-in-a-lifetime trips. On the first day back to school, much of the conversation seemed to be focused around nature trips, and hiking in particular. Hiking is one of the best exercises a person can get with the added benefit of breathtaking views around them. From Colorado to South Africa, Benilde-St. Margaret’s students went hiking all over the world during Summer.

Two popular hiking spots that seemed to be heavily visited this summer were Colorado and Montana. Junior Paige Greely, a frequent Colorado visitor, went to Westcliffe, Colorado this summer with a group of friends. One of the best benefits of hiking within this state is that the trails are very convenient and easy to get to. Greely enjoys maintained trails because they make it so much easier for her friends and her to get up and go hiking. One of the most unforgettable experiences she had while hiking in Colorado was going on the sunrise hike. Taking only about two hours of her time, Greely’s least favorite part was actually waiting for the sun to rise, as the trail name implies, but she really liked the hike itself, especially on the way down since it was the easiest part. “My most memorable moment was when my friend fell down a hill into a river; it was very funny,” Greely said.

My favorite part of the hike was standing at the top of the peak on a huge rock and being able to see a 360 degree view of the entire city, which was incredible.

— Madison Semler

On a family and friends vacation, Senior Annika Mueller traveled to Banff National Park in Canada, where the hiking gets a little more intense. On the rail Via Ferrata on Mount Norquay, Mueller and the rest of her family were actually roped into the mountain as the hike involved scaling large sides of the mountain and crawling over many tough, rocky parts. It brought many challenges like crossing a frighteningly wobbly bridge. “I tripped and almost fell off the mountain. My whole life flashed before my eyes but my brother Gavin caught me and saved me,” Mueller said. Overall, Mueller said that the view at the top of the mountain made her terrifying experience worthwhile, and when being asked if she would do it again, Mueller replied, “hell yeah.”

Farther south of Colorado and Canada, Senior Cole Solomon went on an actual expedition in New Mexico. With 5 of his Boy Scout troop members and two adults, Solomon hiked 50 miles on the 811-7G-2 expedition in Philmont Scout Ranch, New Mexico. Solomon’s group got lucky because although the forecast predicted rain, the weather turned out to be almost perfect for hiking. The only downside was that the temperature decreased rapidly when the sun went down at night. “My most memorable moment was [when] we didn’t plan [our] route really well, so [we] had to go 26 hours without a fresh supply of water which left about three liters per person,” Solomon said. Despite water shortages for part of the trip, Cole would still do the expedition again.

Traveling even farther south, senior Evan Eliason went hiking to Machu Picchu in Cusco, Peru. Eliason went on the hike with a group of students through the organization Rustic Pathways. The hike was on the historic Inca Trail and took about six days. The hike presented some challenges; Eliason and his group had to walk on “sketchy” roads that were just a few feet across. The views he encountered included a lot of intense greenery and cool rocks. “My favorite part was when we got to Machu Picchu and I saw the ruins I had always pictured,” Eliason said.

Hopping over the Atlantic Ocean, Madison Semler was in Cape Town, South Africa on vacation with her family. Semler hiked up to Lions Head Peak. “It is directly in the city and gives a beautiful backdrop of the city of Cape Town and the ocean,” Semler said. It took three hours to climb up to the peak and one hour to get down. She luckily had a nice sunny day, the best type of weather in South Africa. “My favorite part of the hike was standing at the top of the peak on a huge rock and being able to see a 360 degree view of the entire city, which was incredible. My least favorite park would be dodging between boulders on the way up. There was no specific path once you got closer to the top and had to find the best way up a set of rocks without falling,” Semler said. When asking if she would do it again Semler replied, “If you asked me during the uphill part I would say no, but if you asked me at the top I would say yes because it is so incredible, [just] strenuous to get to.”

Students traveled all over the world this summer and got amazing opportunities to experience nature. The common trend of students’ experiences was getting to the top. The reward received from all the climbing is the amazing views that only hard work earns a hiker. Take it from these students: every trip is well worth the endeavor, no matter how far.