The entire Hamburg High School sophomore class hiked to the Pinnacle on Oct. 28 to experience the physical challenges of nature like the character from “Into The Wild” they read in English class.
“The hike allows the students to experience some of the challenges Chris McCandless would have faced as he set out on his journey,” said Nicole Trubilla, an English teacher at Hamburg Area High School. “Sometimes students are very critical of McCandless’ mistakes, but hiking the Pinnacle allows them to see that if our simple hike of 8 miles on a nice day in October with 175 people around us is challenging, McCandless must have faced much more daunting tasks while trying to survive in uninhabited areas of Alaska on his own.”
Trubilla and the other 10th grade English teacher, Mary Texter, organized the hike for the second year. Trubilla explained that students who are in 10th grade English read “Into the Wild,” which is a true story about a man who left home, hiked across the USA, and attempted to settle in the Alaskan tundra, and was later found dead.
“In order for students to really get a feel for that call to nature, connect to the concept of being this wanderer, and understand the true physical challenge of an endeavor like the one the main character faces, we decided to have the students hike to the Pinnacle as a class,” she said.
They plan to make the hike an annual activity for all 10th grade students.
“Our hope is that students walk away with a better appreciation for the wonders of nature that are right in their backyards. So many people live in Hamburg, but have never hiked to the Pinnacle, which is a shame, because it’s beautiful,” said Trubilla. “We also want them to see that they can accomplish anything they set out to accomplish - hiking approximately 4 miles, 1,000 feet up and then turning around and hiking 4 miles back is a physical feat for some of these students who sometimes struggle to run the mile in gym class every week.”
Hamburg High School Principal Christopher Spohn posted on Twitter, “Outstanding English teachers integrate literature and the jewel of our community.”
This year 175 students and chaperones participated, hiking from the parking lot near the Hamburg Reservoir to the Pinnacle and then back again. A few students shared what they thought about the experience.
Amy Florian said, “I thought it was pretty cool. It was really rocky, but as long as you have good shoes you won’t trip as many times as I did!”
Colby Delong said his favorite part was“getting to the top because I’ve never been there before and it was so beautiful. I took the best picture of my life there!”
Destiny Gonzalez said, “Being on the hike was a great way to reconnect with friends that I don’t see very often or don’t have classes with.”
The students used Twitter while hiking, posting tweets and photos at #hamburghike.
Lexii posted, “I’m pretty sure this was the best worst thing to ever happen to me.”
Slump Bull posted, “Why go to therapy when you can enjoy nature.”
Another student, gingerbread gab @gabbykrick posted, “Such a fun day.”