On a trip sponsored by John L. Townsend III ’73 over the summer, 13 students spent three weeks in the wilderness of Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho. Townsend, who started rock climbing as an adult and has summited most of the major peaks in the West, initiated the trip several years ago to give EHS students a chance to challenge themselves and learn about outdoorsmanship. The trip, called the Diamond Acre Expedition after Townsend’s Diamond Acre Ranch in Yellowstone National Park, included hiking and camping in Montana and Wyoming; whitewater rafting on the Salmon River in Idaho; and climbing the Grand Teton in Wyoming.
The students, who were selected on the basis of an application and a faculty recommendation, say the expedition revealed strengths they didn’t know they had and brought them together in a way that would not be possible anywhere else. The students on this summer’s trip included Stuart Agnew ’12, Kelly Chandler ’12, Harrison Clement ’12, Somer Glubiak ’13, Eleni Hadjis ’12, Caroline Hagood ’12, Abby Halm ’13, Sam Henriques ’12, Evan Leonard ’13, Willie MacDade ’12, Eric McDonald ’13, Lillian Smith ’12, and Riley Wilson ’12.
“The trip out west was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience, with many unforgettable memories including climbing the Grand Teton, backpacking in the wilderness of Montana, and whitewater rafting down the Salmon River in Idaho,” described Clement. “We were all so fortunate to experience this unique opportunity that EHS and Mr. Townsend offered us. Our group became so close and will always remember our incredible experiences on the Diamond Acre trip.”
The journey began in Jackson Hole, Wyo., and continued on to the trailhead of the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness in Montana, for four days of backpacking. The group whitewater rafted the Salmon River for the next three days, then traveled back Yellowstone National Park, in Wyoming, to prepare for a backpacking excursion through the Beartooth Wilderness. After a day exploring Yellowstone, they backpacked throughout the Beartooth in south central Montana. They then returned to Jackson Hole and attended a two-day rock climbing school with the Exum Mountain Guides in Grand Teton National Park. Once ready, the group climbed to the saddle of the Grand Teton and attempted to climb the summit. At the conclusion of the climbing adventure, the group enjoyed an end of summer banquet before departed from Jackson Hole to return home.
“Imagine that you were living a happy life with only three senses,” explained Glubiak. “Then something happened and these senses were doubled. That is what it was like to experience the Diamond Acre trip. Rafting the Salmon River, sleeping out under the stars, playing beach volleyball, pushing your legs just one step further under a heavy backpack, all those things set the stage. Then, faced with the climax of the trip, you summit the Grand Teton. That was truly the prize at the end of the tunnel. Every sense you never knew existed comes alive and your life shines like never before.”
For more information about the Anaconda Pintler Wilderness, Beartooth Wilderness, and the other areas the group traveled, please click here