DEC. 6, 2018
In the middle of the holidays I sometimes get caught up in trying to find the “perfect” gifts for my children, while at the same time realizing that I don’t really want to give them “stuff.” What I really want to give are experiences and opportunities for growth. I want to give them a chance to step away from the pressure of school and the world so that they can reconnect with what’s important to them, find joy and be inspired. For the last several years that perfect gift has been the opportunity to participate in a Hante Adventure.
I recently read an article that sighted a study from psychologists Ruth Ann Atchley and David Strayer who found that “creative problem solving can be drastically improved by both disconnecting from technology and reconnecting with nature.” Participants in this study disconnected from technology and headed out on a 4 day backpacking trip. When asked to perform creative thinking and complex problem solving tasks, the participants ability to do so improved by 50%. These findings are not at all shocking, nor or those of many other researchers who study the effects of time in nature on the brain, including Gregory Bratman, a graduate student at the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources at Stanford University. Bratman also found that study volunteers who went on brief, “disconnected” walks through the lush grounds of Stanford were more attentive and happier after their walks than their counterparts who walked through busy streets.
There’s no doubt that time in nature, removed from distractions and technology is good for our emotional health and can reduce anxiety and boost well-being. We see it in our campers and Hante Adventure participants each summer as they head to the mountains for 1 – 3 weeks to connect with nature, friends and to themselves. I see it in the joy on the faces in and the hearts of campers and staff as they return from a day hike at Black Balsam Knob or from 3 days with their X-craft class. I feel it when I talk with teens about their 3-week “Hero’s Journey” on Hante; they are all at once inspired and filled with peace.
So, this year as you think about what would make the perfect holiday and birthday gift for a special teen in your life, consider signing them up for a for a Hante Adventure.
By Paige Lester-Niles
NOV. 17, 2017
Here at Eagle’s Nest, we are dedicated to creating a space that feels like home. Year after year our campers return and our students reunite to find their place in the Nest community once again. Giving Tuesday is a chance to experience even a piece of that feeling once again.
We love the sense of community that #GivingTuesday has created, not only within Eagle’s Nest but around the world as well. With Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the general frantic feeling of holiday shopping, it’s easy to lose sight of what is truly important during the Holiday Season. Giving Tuesday is the opportunity to join together with your neighbors near and far and give back to the communities and organizations that mean something to you.
But what if you could prolong that feeling? What if every month you could be reminded of your home on Hart Road?
On November 28th you have the opportunity to join another community and become a Fire Keeper. By turning your once-a-year donation into a monthly, recurring gift, you will reunite with your fellow Nesters who are deeply invested in and committed to the mission of Eagle’s Nest to provide experiential education in the natural world.
A fire takes a lot of work to build, from the smallest tinder and kindling to logs, oxygen, and heat, each part is important to keep the fire alive. It also takes regular tending to keep the fire going. By making a monthly gift to the Annual Fund you can ensure the fire never dies and provide opportunities for future generations to grow in this community we create each day.
“The fire is the main comfort of the camp, whether in summer or winter, and is about as ample at one season as at another. It is as well for cheerfulness as for warmth and dryness.”
– Henry David Thoreau
Be the spark that ignites the flame. Make your recurring gift today and start the movement.
#GivingTuesday #ForeverOurNest #IgniteTheFlame
For more information on the benefits of joining the Fire Keepers contact Michelle Miller in the ENF Development Office (email@example.com) or follow us on social media (@EaglesNestFoundation) during #GivingTuesday on November 28th for updates and stories from donors like YOU!
MAY. 3, 2017
Stretching 1175 miles across the state of North Carolina, the Mountains to Sea Trail (MST) is as unique as the landscape it traverses. From its western-most point in Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the eastern terminus on the Outer Banks, the MST crosses four national parks, three national forests, and two wilderness areas. Driven by a large network of volunteers, the trail has been a work in progress since 1977. As of 2016, nearly 700 miles of footpath are complete. The rest of the trail is temporarily made up of backroads and community bike paths and greenways.
If you call North Carolina home, the MST isn’t far from where you live. Here are some highlights and favorite hikes across the state.
1. Clingman’s Dome
The MST’s western terminus stands at 6,643 feet and is the highest peak in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
2. Mt. Mitchell
A short spur trail off the MST takes hikers to the summit of 6,684 ft. Mt. Mitchell, the tallest mountain east of the Rockies.
3. Linville Gorge
Often referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the East”, Linville Gorge is a rugged wilderness area known for spectacular rock climbing and hiking.
4. Stone Mountain
Hike to the top of a massive 600 foot granite rock face and enjoy views of a 200 foot waterfall.
5. Hanging Rock
Known for its sheer cliffs and rocky summits, Hanging Rock State Park is a favorite for local climbers.
6. Watershed Lakes
The MST connects six different footpaths around three lakes near Greensboro: Lake Higgins, Lake Brandt, and Lake Townsend.
7. Falls Lake
More than 50 miles of the MST winds around farmlands, through hardwood forests, and along the shores of Falls Lake just outside of Raleigh.
8. The Neusiok Trail
The MST follows the Neusiok Trail for more than 20 miles through Croatan National Forest, which is known for Loblolly Pines and swamplands.
9. Cape Hatteras National Seashore
This section of the MST is almost completely a beach walk that covers 113 miles across Cape Hatteras National Seashore. As an added bonus, hikers can climb to the top of the Cape Hatteras lighthouse between April and October.
10. Jockey’s Ridge
This 140 foot sand dune (tallest in the Eastern US) is the eastern terminus of the MST.
To plan your own adventure on the Mountains to Sea Trail, check out an interactive map of the entire trail here.
Liz Snyder, Assistant Camp Director
APR. 21, 2017
A key piece of equipment for any outdoor enthusiast is the rain jacket. Every Hante Participant will need one. The right jacket will last you much longer than any one Hante and will be handy in your everyday life too. So let’s take a look at picking the right one for you.
First off, you should always make sure the jacket is labeled as “waterproof” and not “water-resistant”. Resistant fabrics will end up saturating with moisture in anything more than fog. Waterproof jackets may include numbers like 10K (10,000) or 25K (25,000). This number refers to the millimeters of water required to seep through 1 square inch of fabric. The higher the number, the more pressure the fabric can withstand, i.e. the more waterproof it is. 10,000 is the lowest recommended for moderate to heavy rain. Currently the industry leader in waterproof technology is Gore-Tex. Jackets with Gore-Tex Fabrics are always a good choice, but tend to be pricier since you are paying for a premium brand. That said, most jacket manufacturers have their own technology at a lower price point. For example: Patagonia makes waterproof items with Gore-Tex Fabrics but you will find other jackets with their “H2NO” fabrics at a lower cost.
Next you will want to look at the breathability of the jacket. A waterproof jacket won’t keep you dry if it traps in all of your body heat and turns your torso in to a sauna. Along with the waterproof rating you may also see a breathability rating. These ratings tend to vary more widely across the industry. Read the tag of the jacket to see how the company measures breathability. For summer treks you will want a jacket that is more breathable to allow heat and evaporation in the jacket to “breathe out” of the fabric. Gore-Tex generally has above average breathability. Vent and “pit-zips” help with breathability. These options tend to be available on technical shells where the wearer exerts high energy and needs to “dump” heat from the jacket. If you’re backpacking in the wet summer months, these features are great! Remember to make sure that the zipper on your jacket are either waterproof (they have rubber sides and might be harder to zip) or have a fabric covering to prevent moisture from seeping through the zippers.
Finally, you’ll want too look at fit, weight and insulation. Summer travels will want to look for a lightweight waterproof “shell”. These tend to weigh less, pack down small and have little to no insulation to prevent heat buildup and keep you cool when it’s hot. Shells should be a bit loose to allow airflow. You can also put warmer layers under a loose shell in the cooler months. When you try on jackets, raise your arms over your head to test coverage. A pro-tip for climbers/backpackers: look for pockets that are placed higher on the torso to allow you to keep your hands warm and in your pockets while wearing a backpack waist strap, or while you’re waiting in line to climb.
To wrap up, there are many, many jackets out there and finding the right one can be tough, but the right rain jacket can work for so much more than just rainy days. Most rain jackets are generally windproof and will help cut the chill on windy days while simultaneously offering protection from wetter elements. Jackets can also work to keep warmth in when layered underneath as the temperatures drop. My recommendation is to find a shell with a high waterproof rating, pit-zips, and a slightly loose or athletic fit. This will be very versatile. You may also consider purchasing rain pants. Keep in mind that in the heat of the summer rain pants tend to be very steamy. Look for brands with lifetime guarantees. They will be more costly upfront but in the long run they will last longer and should be able to be replaced if necessary.
P.S. Don’t forget to read the washing/care instructions. Many waterproof fabrics are now fine for the washer and dryer. Following those directions along with the use of approved cleaners and “re-waterproofers” like NikWax products, will keep your jacket fresh and dry for many years to come.
Marlin Sill, Hante Director
APR. 20, 2017
Hante Appalachian Trail Trek circa 1980…
Hante Instructor Greg Kucera, Eagle Scout, prepares to lead his first Hante and is faced with the arsenal of whole foods recipes that Helen Waite has adapted for fine trail culinary experiences. Nowhere in sight was something he was familiar with to eat. What was a young man from Minnesota to do but call his mom Marti Kucera for her famous “Cow Dabs” recipe – known to get you down the trail several more miles.
Looking for a fun treat to take out on the trail this spring? Try these!
2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa
1 stick butter
1/3 cup evaporated milk
3 cups oatmeal
1 cup peanut butter
(add raisins, coconut, etc. as desired)
In a saucepan, boil sugar, cocoa, butter and milk for 2 minutes. Add oatmeal, peanut butter and any other personal choice ingredients. Plop spoonfulls onto waxed paper to cool and set (yes, they will look like cow pies). Plan at least a 5 mile hike and get out and enjoy!
Noni Waite-Kucera, Executive Director
MAR. 31, 2017
Hante Adventures is thrilled to announce that our 2018 season will be out of this world. Literally. Next year, we’re adding new meaning to our mantra “Step Out and Learn” with Hante Moon. During Session II, a group of 8 adventurous teenagers and 2 instructors will blast off into Outer Space for what will truly be a once in a lifetime experience.
Hante Director, Marlin Sill, is especially excited about this opportunity. “In an effort to reach new heights, we’ve decided to go farther than any other adventure program has gone before. This will be one small step for the Hante program, and one large step for travel programs world and galaxy-wide,” he said on Friday.
Marlin is working closely with the founders of SpaceX to arrange travel to and from Outer Space. While this adventure is still in the planning phase, participants can count on long lunar walks, crater exploration, Earth gazing, and a day swapping stories with the Man in the Moon himself.
Considering the history of the program, it’s no wonder Hante Adventures will now offer intergalactic travel. Hante began back in 1973, when a group of teenagers embarked on a journey on the Appalachian Trail. Led by Helen Waite, they trekked over 100 miles through the Great Smoky Mountains, including a climb up the highest point on the AT, Clingman’s Dome. Since that adventure 44 years ago, Hante has traveled to six continents; an expedition to the moon is the logical next step.
More details, including registration information and a preliminary itinerary can be found here.
Liz Snyder, Assistant Camp Director