By Charles Innes ’22
It’s 7:30 AM Saturday, September 28th. Fourth Formers find their seats on the buses, and reality hits them. Four days in the woods, no showers, no air conditioning, and no phones.
Two weekends ago, Woodberry’s Fourth Formers took part in a right of passage at Wilderness Adventures in Western Virginia. After a 3-hour bus ride, the boys piled out into base camp, where they not only met their guides for the next four days of camping and backpacking but also received all their equipment. Having heard some tales of horror and others of adventure from upperclassmen, the Class of 2022 arrived with mixed expectations about the 4th Form Expedition. However, most groups began the trip with a fun activity such as canoeing, caving, ziplining, or completing a ropes course. Later that night, boys were pleasantly surprised at dinner when they enjoyed their first Mountain House Meal. The Mountain House meals were freeze-dried dinners such as Pasta Primavera, Chicken-Dumplings, or Mexican Chicken and Rice. But, sophomores in all groups missed their warm, comfortable beds that night as they slept with nothing but a tent, sleeping pad, and sleeping bag between them and the rocky ground.
Throughout the next three days, the groups all completed various activities in the outdoors, such as rock climbing, hiking, or team-building exercises, such as the Dangling Duo, where two boys climbed a series of logs together while their other teammates supported them and helped raise them to the top. Unfortunately, late Monday afternoon a large thunderstorm appeared above a few groups.
Not only were all of the fourth formers’ packs and tents soaked, but some groups also had to maintain the grueling active lightning position for over thirty minutes, which was similar to a squat. After waking up on Tuesday morning and completing their final group activity, boys were ecstatic to return to Base Camp, where they waited for one of the best lunches they have ever had to be served, and for the buses to take them back to Woodberry.
One 4th former, Carter Dupuy, shared his thoughts about the expedition. “I enjoyed bonding with some peers in my group that I normally don’t interact with, and I feel it brought us closer together as a grade.”
The Fourth Form Expedition is a right of passage all sophomores must endure. However, as students go through the experience together, the bonds and connections between classmates are strengthened, bringing the sophomore class even closer together.