The Exp Summer Daily

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The Experimentory Blog

Our year-round blog describes our program, values, and plans for next year.

The Exp Summer Daily

Our summer news consists of daily updates while we're in session -- giving a window into past years.

Transition Weekend: Down the Deerfield

Jul 26, 2018 3:16:16 PM

Today's twin posts look at the transition between Session 1 and Session 2. First, let's hear from Ian about the Four Week students' whitewater rafting adventure on the Saturday after one group of two week students had left and next had not yet come. 


After some teary goodbyes with the Session 1 students on Friday, we who remained were ready for an adventure to take our minds off our recently departed friends. We all woke up bright and early Saturday morning and piled on to the buses for a day off campus at the Berkshire East Mountain Resort for a day of whitewater rafting.

Ian's boat riding the rapids!

The boat that I joined included Jordan, Nicole, Daisy, Brandon, Andre, Kyler, and, of course, our guide Max. Some of us on my boat had experience kayaking and canoeing, but rafting was new to everyone. After a thorough safety meeting in the Main Lodge we grabbed our paddles, life-vests, and helmets and set off to our drop-off point. We put in the boats a few miles up along our very own Deerfield River. After another safety talk on the riverbank and a lesson on the different strokes and commands that would get us down the river, we were on our way to the rapids. 

It’s hard to capture the entirety of the trip in a single post, but it was a unique experience. As someone who has been on canoeing trips before, I never would have expected that we could have so much control over such bulky rafts or that there are so many ways to traverse whitewater. 

For example, Max taught us was that if we paddled hard to rest on the front of a rock, the water flowing around us on either side can keep the boat securely in place. After that, we reached an area where the river created a narrow chute of rapids. Max had one side of the boat paddle forward while the other paddled backwards, and then had us switch directions, spinning back and forth. We also learned to slide between rocks, spin to avoid rocks, and move to the back of the boat to perform a “wheelie.” These are practical techniques used by more experienced rafters.

The rapids were undoubtedly fun, but there were a variety of other experiences on the trip as well. Max pointed out the wildlife on calmer portions of the river, including beavers, mallards, and cedar wax-wings snatching for bugs in the water. We met other people on the river: competitive canoers, kayakers, and other rafters. And on lazier portions of the river we had a great time swimming, diving off the raft, having water, and trading riddles.

By the end of the day we were all exhausted and ready to head back to campus. It was a long but fun day. We looked forward to a warm dinner at the dining hall and our beds that night.

-- Ian, Program Proctor


The Exp Summer Daily provides news and updates while we are in session in July and August. The rest of the year, check out the Experimentory Blog for posts feature our students, teachers, classes, values, goals, and plans for the coming year.