Reminiscent of the days of the SKS Mountaineers, Storm King Athletics offered a new extracurricular sport this semester called ‘Fall Outdoor Adventure.’ Led by Coach Tim Gillett, an avid hiker and outdoorsman who doubles as Storm King’s History & Social Sciences Department Chair, the Cougars were given the opportunity to explore the rugged natural beauty of the Hudson Valley while learning outdoor survival skills and earning points toward Storm King JV and Varsity Letters.

The Outdoor Adventure team met every day after school for ‘practices’ that consisted of shorter outings and hikes on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays and longer outings on Wednesdays and weekends. The students earned ’survival points’ for completing certain events. Some events, such as overnight camping in the Catskills, were worth more points. At the end of the fall season, each student’s status was determined as ‘Captain,’ Varsity,’ or ‘JV’ depending on the number of points they accrued. All Stars and Future Captains reached 60 points, Varsity teammates earned 50 points and JV hikers earned 40 points.

Twenty-three students signed up for the sport that took them to nearly 30 hiking and camping destinations including Popolopen Torne, Breakneak Ridge, Anthony’s Nose, the Catskills’ Slide Mountain, Lake Minnewaska, Mineral Springs, and many others. The students also enjoyed days of mountain biking, trail clearing, and indoor rock climbing.

Here is what some of the students had to say about their experience:

Hon. Captain & High Points Winner Elizabeth D. ’22

“I felt a lot of friendliness and encouragement from both coaches and students; people who climbed faster were always patiently waiting for those behind them. Going to practices has given me a sense of achievement. When we reached the summit of a mountain or finished maintaining a trail, I felt like I had accomplished something new, which was very satisfying.

My favorite location was the Catskill Mountains because we had an overnight camping trip there. It was my first time camping, and I learned so much from this experience, such as starting a campfire and building a tent. Coaches Mr. Gillett, Mrs. Centeno, and Ms. Carrano did a great job taking care of us. I will definitely remember this trip for a long time. Outdoor Adventure taught me the power of encouragement. I never knew that a simple, kind word could give one so much positive energy when they feel down.”

Varsity Adventurer Annie C. ’24

“Outdoor Adventure gave us all a chance to challenge ourselves while exploring the wonders of the natural world.  Surrounding the Storm King School campus are miles of scenic wilderness covered with trails of varying difficulty, which we were able to use to our advantage in this club.  Every day brought a new adventure, from climbing up mountains to biking to maintaining the trails we used.

The teachers also organized special activities such as our Halloween Scarecrow and Scary Story contest, or the afternoon we spent at a rock climbing gym.  We even went on a field trip to The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor and New Windsor Cantonment, where we learned about recipients of the award, various medical treatments and equipment, and the difference between a musket and a rifle, as well as many interesting facts. We would often split into smaller groups to perform specific activities, giving us an opportunity to work with and talk to different people.  I made some amazing friends in this club I may have never even met otherwise.”

All Star and Future Captain Daniel Z. ’25:

“My favorite hike was the trip we went on to Popolopen Torne. It was a really challenging hike that had a few places with a huge slope which we could only climb up with a rope. On the Moonwalk trail, we could see the skyline of New York City from the top of Bear Mountain, and I regret forgetting to bring my binoculars.

By participating in this after-school club, I had a deeper understanding of the concept of enjoying a process rather than just the end result. When we went on hikes, even though the view from the summit is fantastic, I learned that the process of hiking up the mountain is more important and also more enjoyable.”

Seven C. ’25, Alex G. ’24, and Reagan W. ’25 loved their experience so much, they created this slide show to “say goodbye” to all of the beautiful locations they visited throughout the Hudson Valley this fall! See you next year, Outdoor Adventurers!