FHC students take on the rocky terrains of Maine


Aching muscles screaming to be relieved. Sweaty and weary, yet smiles still manage to form. An overwhelming feeling of accomplishment as a beautiful view serves as instant gratification. These are the moments that junior Kara Bolger got to experience this past July hiking in Maine.

Kara and several other FHC students embarked on Thornapple Covenant Church’s annual trip. This year the church traveled to Maine for five days, where they had the opportunity to choose to bike or hike. Having had tried it for the first time on the church’s previous trip, Kara lunged at the opportunity to hike again.

“It’s so hard to hike up mountains,” Kara said. “That’s something that everyone on the trip struggled with, [but] if you put your mind to something, you can accomplish it. When there are more people with you, everyone’s encouraging everyone, and you just feel so loved. You know you can accomplish whatever you’re trying to accomplish.”

During the first four days, the gang took on Mount Battie, Mount Megunticook, Great Pond Mountain, Beehive Trail, and Cadillac Mountain. For Kara, Beehive- a particularly steep hike- proved to be the most memorable.

“I am terrified of heights,” Kara said. “So as we were going up [Beehive], I was like crying– I was so scared. There was an option where you could just go around it instead of going straight up it, but everyone was like, “No, you got to do it, you got to do it.a�� So I was like, “Okay, I’ll do it.a�� And I was just so scared. And so everyone was just encouraging me and helping me get up it, and that just made me feel so good. Even though I was so scared, I just knew that they would make sure that nothing would happen to me and that I would get up the mountain.”

Beehive was also a favorite for junior Katie Johnson, another student who went on the trip.

“It was [a hike] where you were very close to the edge the whole time but it gave me a rush of adrenaline, and I loved it,” Katie said.

Even those who chose to bike, like junior Sami Fox, came along for Beehive. However, they spent the majority of the trip tackling the rugged trails atop their bikes.

“We biked anywhere from 50-100 miles each day,” Sami said. “It was super difficult and hilly, but being apart of the group made it so much fun. We stopped often to get ice cream, tour lighthouses, or even just look at the beautiful rocky coast.”

For Sami, Cadillac Mountain was most memorable.

“My favorite bike was when we climbed Cadillac Mountain,” Sami said. “It is the tallest mountain on the eastern seaboard, and when we got to the top, it was a beautiful view. We ate lunch at the top looking over many smaller mountains and valleys.”

Kara has fond memories of her experience with Cadillac as well.

“You can choose to drive up it or you can hike it,” Kara said. “… I just really thought it was cool because [at the top] you could obviously tell that we hiked it because we were so sweaty and so tired. And then there [were] just people that drove up it. It was just such a great accomplishment to make it to the top.”

But one of the most remarkable aspects of the trip was the friendships that were created.

“Definitely by the end of the trip I made bonds that I didn’t expect I would make,” Katie said.

Friendships within individual groups were especially strong.

“Everyone who went on the trip was amazing,” Sami said. “Everyone was ready to have a great time and put themselves out there which made it a super great atmosphere. My bike group became super close through both the strenuous biking and the time we spent in our small groups.”

Beyond the friendships that developed, students themselves grew immensely as individuals.

“When you’re away from everything, you have time to think about yourself and realize things,” Kara said. “Something fun we did on the trip was writing down encouragement cards for people. Something I honestly didn’t realize until after I was reading those cards is that I’m really a determined person. If I have a goal, I’m going to go after it. And I didn’t really realize that until this trip.”