Hiking Concord is a P.E. offering open to all Concord Academy students, regardless of their hiking experience. This group meets two days a week for an hour to go on a hike in the Concord area. Some may think it is merely a simple way to fulfill athletic credit requirements, but many feel that it is so much more than that. We spoke with Hiking Concord’s “Honorary Captains” Camille Hick ’22 and Quinn Harnden ’22, to learn more about what makes Hiking Concord so special.
Camille and Quinn agree that many choose Hiking Concord simply to get athletic credit. “I think a lot of people do it for easy credit. You just go on a walk; you don’t have to be athletic or anything. You can just walk and talk with your friends” Quinn said. However, both captains believe that the benefits of Hiking Concord go far beyond its simplicity. “I feel like the reason we like it so much is because there is so much more to it, for example, grocking.”
Grocking is a word that may be new to many, but Camille and Quinn were sure to explain its significance. “Grocking is from a fantastical novel and Christa Champion introduced it to us. It’s when one becomes immersed with nature, technically one becomes one with nature,” Camille shared. “How we start off our classes is we just walk alone and we observe our surroundings. We become one with our surroundings,” Quinn further explained. “It’s a way to practice mindfulness. It’s a walk to appreciate nature a little bit more.”
Hiking Concord is also a great way to form new connections within the CA community. “It’s a really fun way to bond with new people,” Quinn said. “Since I do sports my other two seasons it’s a completely new group of people. It’s a lot of underclassmen and it’s kind of fun to get to know them, especially because sometimes we are randomly paired with people and they might be a little nervous to talk to upperclassmen. But I think it’s helpful for them to know a familiar face.”
Despite the varying types of people within the group, Camille shared that “I feel like we’ve created a community. Yesterday we made shirts. It was a time!” These t-shirts have their classic phrase “Walking, Grocking, Thinking and Talking” on them, which Quinn and Camille feel perfectly encapsulates the Hiking Concord experience. “You’re walking a lot, but you’re also doing some deeper thinking, and you can also socialize. It’s a little bit of everything,” said Quinn.
When asked about her favorite aspect of Hiking Concord, Camille shared that “I would say my favorite thing about Hiking Concord is the energy. Everyone comes into it with a lot of enthusiasm everyday. Even if it’s just around the corner or Walden Pond.” Quinn echoed that sentiment, saying “I have two favorite parts. The first is the adventure. When we went to Walden Pond I slipped and fell so many times, but that made it fun; it’s a little risky sometimes. There are so many fun incidents that make great stories. More importantly, the connections are my favorite part. It’s so nice to have Camille, someone I’m close with on it, but it’s also so fun to connect with Cory and Christa, the adults who lead it, and underclassmen.”
Camille and Quinn would definitely recommend Hiking Concord to anyone who does not have a spring sport. Sure, it will help you to fulfill your athletic credit, but it will also allow you form new connections within this positive community. You will get the chance to meet students from different grades, connect with faculty and staff members, get some good exercise, and learn more about yourself and your surroundings. No matter what you’re looking for in an athletic offering, Hiking Concord has something for everyone!