A beautiful truth about outdoor adventure is that it can provide just as much fulfillment, teach deeply meaningful lessons, and inspire a unique brand of joy regardless of where you choose to place yourself, and for how long. Speaking from my own experience, I’ve known equal levels of new perspective and rejuvenation upon returning from Hantes abroad, months-long thru-hikes, and brief weekend jaunts in the Southern Appalachians. Although, that’s not to say I didn’t return from a thru-hike to find it strange to sleep in a bed, perpetually hungry, and truly looking like Treebeard…
I write that to preface this exploration of Hante Trails because it’s equally important to consider the nature of the adventure on which you or your loved one will choose to embark, and to recognize that all of the options will foster and ignite exponential growth in their life. Hante Adventures is historically known for its journeys for teenagers that push skill, leadership, and community development in a three-week timespan. Eagle’s Nest, recognizing the power of these opportunities but also the level of commitment required for such a journey, has chosen to offer a two-week option at the beginning of the summer to make Hante Adventures more accessible. Whether it fits better with summer plans, or makes for a more natural step in your relationship with the outdoors, Hante Trails also cultivates the same character development as its longer cousins.
So what can you expect from Trails?
Well…a lot! In terms of the itinerary, this adventure will focus on the fundamentals of backcountry travel and living. Participants will learn and practice the entirety of the trip-planning process: route selection, how to plan evacuation points, gear needs, weather considerations, menu planning, food packout, and (most importantly) fun ways they can bring magic into their experience. All of these topics will be covered at home base in the Sun Lodge and in real time on a two-day introductory trek in Pisgah Forest. All the while, you’ll inch toward mastery of these skills—a critical step toward confidence and self-empowerment in the outdoors that undeniably translates to all aspects of life.
The next phase of the journey will see participants working with a local trail conservancy to give back to the land that unwaveringly serves as our classroom. By working with leaders in the trail community, you’ll begin to understand the effort that goes into providing these experiences to others and the careful considerations that go into this work in order to preserve as much of the classroom’s natural state as possible. Woven throughout will be a lesson in viewing our interactions with the land through a lens of sustainability.
Now, that’s only the first five days, and a whole lot of learning. They say direct application is the best way to solidify new skills, so that’s exactly what participants will do next. You’ll work with your group to design your own six-day trek, taking into consideration all of the ideas you’ve learned thus far. During the trek, you’ll also have the opportunity to learn and practice leadership skills, taking a turn as Leader of the Day to lead and facilitate the group’s day in the backcountry. This curriculum is a hallmark of Hante Adventures, as your instructors are trained to support your growth and facilitate group feedback sessions so that you can learn constructively from your peers. When all is said and done, you will exit the forest with newfound capabilities and a newly tapped sense of self-efficacy that will bolster your daily living as you return home. I’ve seen it time and time again.
So, consider taking two weeks to join us on Hante Trails. I guarantee it will be a wild adventure to kick off a summer full of more.
Andrew is the Outdoor Programs Manager and Hante Coordinator for the Eagle’s Nest Foundation. Questions, comments, stories, and stoke can be shared with him at firstname.lastname@example.org.