Crawford Humphreys ’18
In the early hours of a cold Saturday morning, the fourth form class ate a quick breakfast before loading their luggage and leaving for Wilderness Adventures set in the Virginian mountains. The tradition of the Fourth Form Expedition has been at Woodberry for years and plenty of stories can be heard throughout the school before the next generation of fourth formers get their chance. This group-bonding experience serves as a way for fourth formers to truly bond with their classmates and kids they would not truly get to know otherwise.
Upon arrival at Wilderness Adventures in southwest Virginia, we were split into small groups in which we would remain for the rest of the trip. In fact, the trip was specifically designed so there would be little interaction between the groups, ultimately allowing us to truly bond with each other.
The first activity for our group was the ropes course. There were numerous activities to attempt, such as a tightrope and a wobbly pathway to walk across. Team building played a key part in these activities, and everyone was there to cheer each other on. After the ropes course, we got our first dose of camp food, set up camp, and went to bed, worn out but eagerly awaiting day two.
An early wakeup began the next day, so that we could prepare breakfast and pack up camp. “I was ready to endure the deepest depths of hell,” said new boy fourth former Will McGonigal. But the first activity of the day, rock climbing, changed his tune. We threw a frisbee while waiting and got to climb up and repel ourselves down the wall by slowly and incrementally letting go of a rope. After that, we went on the zip line, where kids flew down a mountain at speeds of up to 40 mph surrounded by the beautiful Virginia wilderness. Our group went caving after a quick lunch in a very secluded cave on private property. There was plenty of tough terrain and every boy had to make sure the people behind them stayed safe. After caving, we were driven to our evening campsite at Dragon’s Tooth, where we began our hike to the camp for the night. At camp, designated boys helped prepare the food by heating hot water while others hung the food in a “bear bag” to protect it from creatures of the night or searched for firewood.
On the third and final, full day, the first activity was hiking on Dragon’s Tooth Mountain. It was a steep incline with plenty of twists and turns. Our reward appeared after scaling rocks all the way to the top: a breath-taking view of the Shenandoah Valley and a true sense of accomplishment. “The view was worth the grueling hike,” said Sam Baker ‘18. After climbing down from Dragon’s Tooth and retrieving our backpacks, we boarded a bus and were taken back to Wilderness Adventures. From there, everyone partnered up, grabbed canoes, and embarked on a calm and relaxing ride down the class-2 rapids. For many, it was the highlight of their trip to be out on the water. As always, we concluded our day by setting up our campsite and eating our last bits of ‘delicious’ food. We left early the next day and returned to Woodberry.
Overall, what some other boys and I took away from this trip was an appreciation of what we have at Woodberry. Whether it’s running water, a nice place to sleep, or just a warm meal, Woodberry offers many things we take for granted and that new appreciation was the true take-away from this trip. I hope that next year’s fourth formers share the same experience and sense of accomplishment that we did.