Hante Adventures challenge teens to grow as leaders and reach a deeper understanding of themselves within a supportive group. Check back regularly for our latest posts about Hante news, skill building, reflections and adventures. Subscribe to our blog’s RSS feed and get our news sent directly to you as we post it.

MAY. 17, 2019

Gearing up for Hante

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Summer is approaching and that means Hante Adventures are just around the corner! You have received some paperwork from the amazing Molly, and in that paperwork you can find a packing list. Eagle’s Nest has worked hard over the years to develop a list that includes all of the essentials that you will need on your trip, so be sure to pack everything on it. If you need some help finding a particular item or would like some advice on different brands out there, don’t hesitate to reach out to hante@enf.org. I am happy to answer questions and offer advice!

Favorite Gear Spotlights (**Offered in the camp store):

  1. **Crazy Creek Chair: This is a must have around a campfire.
  2. Cats Meow sleeping bag: Along with having a cat-tastic name, this sleeping bag has a synthetic fill that is designed to keep you warm if it gets wet.
  3. **Nalgene Water Bottle: Water and sunscreen… and more water. Nalgenes are a classic wilderness staple. You’ll want two 1-liter water bottles.
  4. Headlamp:  When the day is done and the sun has set… and nature calls in the middle of the night, you’ll want this headlamp to guide you.

Where to find the deals? Gear costs can add up quick. Luckily there are a few places out there to find a good deal.

  1. Friends and family!
  2. A used gear shop. You may have to do some research, but most towns have a used outdoor gear shop with great deals.
  3. Steep and Cheap
  4. REI Outlet
  5. Sierra Trading Post

Along with your gear, you’ll want to start mentally and physically preparing yourself. There will be some rigorous, yet delightfully fun, days. Here are a few things to help you prepare:

  1. Break in your boots! With the exception of Hante Boundary Waters, all of our Hantes will be doing a good bit of walking in hiking boots. It’s great to go ahead and break in those boots to avoid blisters.
  2. Do a little research. Head to the Hante Adventures webpage and look at an itinerary of your trip. Check out the places you’re going and the activities you’ll be doing to help mentally prepare yourself.
  3. Get yer ya-ya’s out. This is a double-whammy task. Feeling a little nervous? There’s nothing better than getting outside and playing to make yourself feel better. Going for a hike, playing a game of stick ball, petting/walking your dog, and running and screaming are all acceptable activities. They will help with your nerves and give you a little exercise to physically prepare for your trip.
  4. Move. Similar to #3. Be sure to get some good exercise in before your trip. This will help with some of those hiking days!

See Y’all Soon!

By Mims Montgomery

APR. 21, 2017

Gear Selection Part 2: Right as Rain (Jacket)

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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 

MAR. 31, 2017

Hante Goes Above and Beyond in 2018

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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

DEC. 22, 2016

Take Only Pictures, Leave Only Footprints

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And do we have the pictures!  This past year Melissa Engimann, our Foundation Assistant, has been on a massive archiving project spanning decade’s worth of Hante and camp slides and prints.   She has painstakingly been going through each image and logging and filing it into long term storage.  For Hante alone there are over 35 years of material, representing dozens and dozens of Hantes. From each box, memories from around the globe have emerged dropping us all back in time.

Are you a past Hante Adventurer?   If so, dig out your photos and share them with us!  We have a new Hante Instagram account (hanteadventures)  which is a great place to gather those up and share amongst those of hundreds of other trekkers, paddlers and climbers.  I guarantee you will get a good trip down memory lane!  And, it will be fun project for the long nights we are having here at the Winter Solstice.

Canyon de Chelly in Arizona

Canyon de Chelly in Arizona

Never been on a Hante but are curious about it?  You can check out all the old school backpacks, see incredible places and lots of happy people – what could be better?

While you’re off in the digital world check our new Camp Instagram handle too!  You can now find us at eaglesnestcampnc.

Hope to see your pictures soon!

Noni Waite-Kucera, Executive Director

DEC. 8, 2014

One Trail Mind

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Andrew Nelson, Eagles Nest Counselor & Hante Leader

What do you get when you cross a Romantic dream with a logistical nightmare?

Easy. An AT thru-hike. This is something Benton MacKaye must have understood very well when he originally conceived the notion of a trail that runs from Georgia to Maine in 1921. Initially completed in 1936 (it was later extended in Maine and is occasionally rerouted for various reasons), the Appalachian Trail has since become a setting for thousands and thousands of endeavors made by people who hike for probably just as many reasons. There’s a lot of literature out there about the Romantically spiritual journeys experienced by some. Others hike for personal and meaningful causes. And still others simply exalt the physical challenge of traveling 2,181 miles by foot while carrying all a person needs to survive in a backpack.

My wonderful mother is likely the source of my desire to undertake a thru-hike of the AT, though I don’t remember specifically. The idea was originally planted sometime in high school when she said a thing or two about it being a dream of hers. I guess you could say I’m scouting out the real estate for when she gets her chance. Nonetheless, she planted the seed, but there are still questions that I ask myself (and will until I just get out there, most likely) of “Why?” and ”Why now?”

In regard to the former, I could say that I just want to, because that’s true. I discovered an intense love of being outside through my relationship with Eagle’s Nest and I’d like to take my outdoor experience to a milestone level. As for the latter, well, I did just graduate from college without much confidence in what exactly I’d like to do with my psychology degree, and graduation helped push me into a mentality of independence in terms of how I choose to spend my time here. But still, with all this momentum coming out of school that could go straight into a beneficial sector of the work force, there was still a feeling of imbalance in deciding to indulge in a dream of mine without connecting it to something larger.
That’s where this blogpost comes in. Some of my most emotionally rewarding experiences have occurred while working as a counselor and instructor at Eagle’s Nest. Specifically, watching the 12 participants of Hanté Rocks and Rivers 2014 learn and grow in their individual outdoor skills as well as members of a small community, over the course of a mere 3 weeks, left me hooked. The opportunity to do that again in an entirely new and fresh setting, and in a way that is relevant to my personal endeavor, is too good to pass up.

To put it concisely, I plan to fluidly implement Hanté AT Trek 2015 into my thru-hike, coming together with these young trekkers to take on a section of about 100 miles of the trail through Virginia (sidenote: credit for the idea actually goes to my Rocks and Rivers co-leader Julia Fuster as we talked about future Hanté ideas). In thinking about the various nuances of trail life I hope to have picked up by Hanté’s start, my hope is that I can use my experience to effectively integrate the trail’s lessons into the Hanté participants’ processes of getting comfortable outside and embracing the challenges of something new. So this message is really to all you future Hanté alums.

Come join me on what will be my greatest adventure yet, and let’s really make something unforgettable out of it.

Andrew Nelson, Eagles Nest Counselor & Hante Leader

JUL. 25, 2014

John Muir Trail Trek Update

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Marlin Sill

Here we are. Almost two weeks into Hante! What have our western travelers been up to? Here a quick update.

After Landing in San Francisco International Airport, the group drove north over the Golden Gate Bridge and camped in Marin Headlands State Park. For two days the group used the park as base camp, and spent their time Hiking to Muir Beach and Along Golden Gate National Sea Shore. Their third day was spend making the long haul to Southern Yosemite where the crew met their Climbing Guides. They then spent two days crushing some of Yosemite’s finest granite walls, while enjoying breath-taking scenery and acclimatizing to the altitude.

All this was great fun and brought the group close, but now they are in it. Since Friday, the group has been backpacking on the John Muir Trail. They started at Cold Water Campground just outside of Mammoth Lakes and spent their first day hiking to Duck Pass. From Duck Pass they have been moving south past Virginia and Squaw Lakes, Around Lake Edison, Over Bear Pass, and to the shores of Marie Lake. Tomorrow they will be arriving at The Muir Trail Ranch, where many great things await them. Just over three weeks ago we shipped approximately 110 pound of dried, cured and otherwise “non-perishable” foods to Muir Trail Ranch, all in preparation for the group’s arrival tomorrow. These buckets of food also include letters from staff and Session 2 Campers, sweet treats, and a dash of magic (you’ll just have to ask ‘em about it when they get home). From Camp these Buckets (5 total) shipped USPS Priority Mail to Lakeshore CA, where they were picked up and packed onto a Ferry for ride across Florence Lake. From the Eastern shore, the buckets were then strapped to mules and horse-packed 5 miles to the ranch, where they have been waiting in bear-proof housing while the group has hiked to catch up with them.

So what’s next for our conquering Heroes? They will spend their Saturday camping near the ranch and relaxing in natural hot springs by the riverside, while airing their clothes and sleeping bags in the crisp mountain air. They’ll take some “me-time” to write in journals or send letters home, and have some good quality cleaning and repacking time in preparation for the second half of their Trek. Where will it take them from here? Following the JMT south from Muir Trail Ranch the crew will hike through McClure Meadow, past glacial lakes to the Le Conte Ranger Station where they will hop off the JMT and swing north through Bishop Pass to South Lake just outside of Bishop California.

They’ve done some many amazing things and there is still so much magic, excitement and adventure left.