Willimantic, Conn. - Ten Eastern Connecticut State University students from the Eastern Outdoors Club and their advisors recently traveled to the White Mountains in New Hampshire to climb Mt. Washington, New England's highest peak. All 12 hikers successfully made the 4.2 mile climb, 6,266 feet above sea level.
As they worked their way up the Tuckerman Ravine trail towards the summit, the group spotted a moose. "For most of the climbers, we had never encountered a moose before," said Michael Hislop, a senior from East Lyme and president of the Eastern Outdoors Club. "Not more than 30 minutes into the climb, a female moose was eating along the trail. The moose calmly and quietly made its way down the trail in our direction. After about 20 minutes of waiting, one at a time, each hiker moved slowly and quietly past the moose, who did not seem bothered in the slightest. Our views at the summit were limited by clouds and rain, but this moose sighting more than made up for it."
"The whole experience was a life-changing event for all the students," said Norma Vivar-Orum, sustainable energy assistant and one of the advisors for the group. "The bonds formed between the students involved were cemented for all time. They will never forget it. None of us will."
Future excursions for the Eastern Outdoors Club include hosting local hikes to Mashamoquet State Park and Valley Falls; attending the Connecticut Rock Gym; a camping trip to Pachaug State Forest; and a visit to Adirondack Extreme, an outdoor obstacle course/canopy tour.
Outdoors Club members who participated in the climb included Hislop, Hannah Ojard of Vernon Rockville, Natalie Ortega of Stamford, Nick Denegre of Centerbrook, Dan Smith of Manchester, Jennifer Smith of East Hartford, Katelyn Vaughan of Hamden, Colleen Bonessi of Cheshire, Jisu Lim of Namyangju, Gyeonggido South Korea, and Lauren Kostak of North Canton along with the club's two advisors, Vivar-Orum and Fred Loxsom, Eastern's endowed chair in sustainable energy studies.