WHHS takes on Red River Gorge


Photo courtesy of: Harry Brandicourt

Backpacker Jack Knellinger, ‘21, sets down his bag in order to better explore the cliffs of Red River Gorge. Many students took part in climbing the rocky terrain that they encountered on the trip, often tossing aside their gloves to get a better grip, despite the cold.

Recently, the WHHS Backpacking Club, led by club adviser Alexandra Mondini and club president Isaac Ludke, went on a trip to Red River Gorge.

Backpacking club is meant for students with a passion for nature and adventure to experience backpacking together, during the various trips planned all throughout the year.

Backpacking is a low-cost form of independent travel, and it has become popular over the years. The venture involves people carrying everything that they would need on the trip, such as a water purifier, sleeping bag, hammock and matches, in a backpack as they go through the wilderness, experiencing the “real destination” instead of one marked by tourist attractions.

The trekkers enjoyed themselves as they explored Red River Gorge. Henry Hattemer, ‘21, said that his favorite part of the trip was “the scenery and the climbing opportunities.” The idea involving spending the entirety of a trip outdoors, focusing on nature itself opened members of the club’s eyes to what is around them.

“Red River Gorge is a simply beautiful place. On this past trip, we spent a few minutes at Gray’s Arch, which is this massive rock archway that towers over the forest. It is next to a very tall cliff, and the whole thing was amazing,” Owen Hipskind, ‘21, said.

By taking in nature as a whole through this type of travel, a person may end up learning a lot about themselves and their fellow travellers during their journey. Hipskind said that while he already had strong bonds with his fellow club members, “the trip only strengthened them.”

Despite the breathtaking scenery and bonding potential, there are also pitfalls that come with taking on this type of travel during the fall season. The temperature was below freezing, so the importance of necessary supplies was key and is a major deterrent to students who may have otherwise been interested in the trip. Hipskind said that “most of us on the trip slept in hammocks, and sleeping bags and ground pads did not do much to deter the cold.”

Hiking has good physical effects for exercise, and being around a group of close friends while you do it makes it wildly fun.”

— Owen Hipskind, ‘21

However, in order to maintain good health, getting some sort of physical activity is essential, especially since society as a whole is getting more sedentary.

Many people recommend that getting exercise is more fun and worthwhile when you don’t do it alone, and it is no different when it comes to the Backpacking Club. “Hiking has good physical effects for exercise, and being around a group of close friends while you do it makes it wildly fun,” Hipskind said.

Due to this, the benefits of backpacking can greatly outweigh the negative aspects. In fact, Hattemer said that his least favorite part was “the brevity of the trip.” Despite the costs and low temperature, the trekkers wished they could have spent more time in the wilderness.

From amazing scenery to closer bonds, the Red River Gorge trip was an overall success, and there are many trips like these the club has planned in the future. If you want to learn more about the WHHS Backpacking Club itself, you can go to room 2704 for more information.