Semester I Special: Jesse Metzger explores outdoors through hiking


Junior Jesse Metzger hikes on the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland.

The Newtonite

Junior Jesse Metzger hikes on the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland.
[media-credit id=14 align=”alignleft” width=”300″] Junior Jesse Metzger hikes on the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland.
by Gloria Li and Perrin Stein
“It is a combination of the challenge, the scenery, the mountains, the simplicity of everyday life and the people I get to spend time with that have made the experiences amazing,” junior Jesse Metzger said regarding hiking, his favorite pastime.
Metzger said that the outdoors have been a large part of his life, especially because his family has traveled to New Hampshire for as long as he can remember. While in New Hampshire, he said he often hikes.
He furthers his love of the outdoors and gains outdoor skills through this school’s hiking club and through Camp Kabeyun, which is located in Alton Bay, N.H, he said.
As an officer of the hiking club with juniors Kerry Brock and Eliana Gevelber, Metzger helps plan the trips to mountains in the area, such as the Blue Hills. Recently, for an overnight trip to Lonesome Lake, Metzger and the other officers spent significant time planning the trip by communicating with club members, coordinating transportation and finding certified faculty to chaperone, among other logistical tasks.
Brock said that Metzger taught her “how to be chill and take a step back and enjoy the world,” she said.
Both she and Metzger said they enjoy the view of the outdoors that hiking gives them. Brock said, “The exhilaration when you reach a peak and can look around for miles and see how high you’ve gone is what’s most appealing about this activity,” Brock said. Metzger agreed with Brock, and said that his experiences at Camp Kabeyun give him this unique perspective on the outdoors.
This past summer, Metzger was a counselor in training at Camp Kabeyun, which he has been attending since he was eight years old. For his job, Metzger led younger kids on hiking trips.
During previous summers, Metzger was a camper at Camp Kabeyun, where he went on trips with other campers. The trips varied in length from one to six days. “During my years as an older camper, my friends and I would go on longer, more difficult trips, but this past summer I was often back on easier trips with younger campers,” he said.
“The trips can be very challenging, but they’re usually incredibly rewarding and a ton of fun, often because of the other incredible people on the trip.”
Metzger’s most memorable hiking experience happened when he was a part of the Bear Program at Camp Kabeyun. He climbed Mount Katahdin, the tallest mountain in Maine, with a small group of peers. This peak marks the end of a 10-day hike through the final 115 miles of the Appalachian Trail, which includes the “100-Mile Wilderness,” the most remote part of the 2,200 mile-long trail.
After summiting Katahdin, Metzger said he remembers reflecting that, “Kabeyun taught me to be cautious and respect the mountains and the peak, with its amazing views and exposed rocky ridges. Summiting was the perfect end to the trip.”
Metzger said another memorable experience with Camp Kabeyun was a canoe trip on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, a 92-mile long corridor of lakes and ponds in Maine.
Through his experiences at Camp Kabeyun, Metzger said he gained much knowledge. For example, he said he finally understands that food tastes exponentially better after a long day of hiking. In addition, he said he found out how to remove SPAM from its can, “which previously seemed a daunting, impossible task,” he joked.
On a more practical note, Metzger said he learned how to perform basic tasks such as lighting a camping stove, setting up a tent, purifying water, navigating with a compass and hanging a bear bag.
Although Metzger said he values his experiences at Camp Kabeyun, he decided that this summer, he will either do volunteer trail work or attend a kayaking school in Ottawa, Canada. “It was a very tough call,” he said.
To explore the outdoors even further, Metzger plans to spend second semester at the High Mountain Institute in Colorado, which  is a school that integrates aspects of the outdoors into its academic curriculum. In addition, students go on three 10 to 14-day backpacking trips throughout the semester.
One of these trips is a telemark skiing trip in which the students build snow caves. “I am really excited for these trips and this opportunity,” Metzger said.