WMS is coming ’round the mountain!

Watertown Middle School eighth-graders climb Mount Monadnock

Molly Day, Watertown Splash staff

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Every year in September, the eighth-graders at the Watertown Middle School take a hike. Up Mount Monadnock that is.

This year it is a little late, for the original date, Sept. 30, was a rainy day. But when it happened, on Thursday, Oct. 14, it was a great day for climbing the most climbed mountain in North America.

Of course, the reaction among students to hike up a mountain was mixed. Some thought it was an annoying field trip, others were more enthusiastic. But all were at least a bit excited to see the view, even if it was to get out of school for the day.

It all started with a gathering of the entire eighth grade in the cafeteria, to get ready and to get on the buses. A hectic event, somehow everyone got on and they took off, to the mountain between Jaffrey and Dublin in southern New Hampshire.

The buses were crowded, but the ride to the mountain seemed pretty smooth. One bus (#3), was actually a coach bus, with individual (much more comfortable) seats, and a white exterior while the others were simple school buses. Bus #5 got lost a tiny bit, it got to the mountain later than others, but unscathed.

Finally, everyone was up the mountain, climbing over rocks and for the first part, steps. Almost everyone took the suggested route, up the white dot trail, and down the white cross trail. But many underestimated the challenge of the mountain. By only a half-mile, maybe even less, people started to lose steam. Everyone trudged on, though, wanting to see what the fuss of the mountain was about, and wanting to reach the summit.

It was truly a great day to climb a mountain. The temperature wasn’t too hot, actually a bit cold, but everyone took off the various sweaters and hoodies they had dragged along, only fearing they would be cold upon the mountain. Instead, most were hot, for climbing up and around dozens of rock walls was tiring, and good exercise.

It was cloudy, but that proved to be a good thing later on. The climbers started to become spread apart as time went on. The first students to the top, according to WMS assistant principal Jason Del Porto, were Marques Richardson, Ulises Zamora, and Vartan Halvajian. The first girls up to the summit were Allie Doggett and Rachel Campbell. After that, many of the eighth-graders followed, and saw that famous Mount Monadnock view.

The clouds passed by close to them, and the little sunlight produced a sort of heavenly glow about some places of the horizon. The changing colors of the trees were beautiful, and many students and teachers chose to eat their lunch surrounded by it.

Everyone was sad to leave, but a bit relieved as well. It was very cold up there! There were a few people that did not make it up to the summit but made it very close, some even only 10 minutes to the top. When it became noon, everyone had to turn around. Many went up the white dot trail (the harder of the two trails the students were permitted to go up), but there were a few who chose the white cross.

Everyone, or almost everyone took the white cross down though. They knew the white dot, with its steep slopes and a few almost vertical rock walls, would be much too hard to go down. Finally, everyone got down the mountain. The last bus back to Watertown departed, full of weary travelers, legs shaking from fatigue, and students still breathing heavily.

The buses got back to Watertown at 4:30 p.m., and everyone went home, and probably took a nice, long, cleansing shower and a nap.

–Nov. 10, 2010–

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WMS is coming ’round the mountain!