reporting by Laura Wentzel and Lani probst

Outdoor activities such as rock climbing to four-wheeling allows students to connect with family, friends, and nature

All things outdoors

Thomas brown, 10

“Fixing four-wheelers is something that my dad and I like doing together” 

“Big Red is a 2016 Kodiak 700 EPS. I was making the Instagram page for it and I just came up with the name Big Red and then it kind of stuck. Next thing I knew it blew up on Instagram. I go to Tall Pines, an ATV park in Andover, N.Y. every single weekend. I spend all week fixing Big Red so that I can go out and break it at Tall Pines, bring it back and fix it again. It's usually wheel bearings and tie rods and ball joints. I rebuilt the motor this winter, rolled it a couple times, bent handlebars, steering stems, blown up radiators. Basically anything that can break, I've broken it.” 


Need for Speed Sophomore Thomas Brown rides his four-wheeler on the trails atTall Pines ATV Park.


Sophia Polzella, 9

“Being outside with friends gives me a sense of calmness.”

“My favorite camping activity is having a campfire and making s'mores, or playing Uno. I remember one night when we were camping with friends, we were heading back to our camper and we looked up and could see all the stars in the Milky Way. I enjoy kayaking because I like being on the water, especially in a boat. Last year we went to a place called Crooked Creek. It has a long river and we went on a several mile kayak ride, which

was very fun.”

Water Time Relaxing with friends on the river is an activity freshman Sophia Polzella enjoys.

Katie hale, 12

“I really like the connections that you can make with other people and with nature when you do things outside.” 

“I got into trail running at the beginning of the pandemic, which I mostly do on the Finger Lakes Trail. I’ve also started on the Adirondacks High Peak 46. I did some pretty serious winter hiking and I’ve completed about 15 of the peaks. Next year I’m going to be in an Expeditionary Studies program at SUNY Plattsburgh, which is really close to a lot of the High Peak trailheads. I plan to focus on backcountry skiing and after college, I would like to go out west and be a guide and eventually retire to a job like a park ranger. I also like to rock climb; I started learning in a gym in Ithaca and since then I’ve been on a climbing trip in Maine and have climbed a bit in Pa. as well. Horseback riding and biking are other ways I spend time outdoors. I’ve biked around four of the Finger Lakes and I go mountain biking at the Erwin Nature Preserve.”

Way Up There Senior Katie Hale hikes to the top of snowy Esther Mountain in the Adirondacks


taylor farrell, 9

“It’s nice to get away from technology and just live in the moment.” 

“I do three seasons of cross-country and track, so I’m outside a lot running. In the summer I love going to my family’s house on Lamoka Lake. It’s only 20 minutes away from home, but it feels completely different when I’m there. My family also goes tent camping at least once every summer. We usually go to state parks instead of big campgrounds because they are much more peaceful, natural, and secluded. One of my favorite things to do is sit around the campfire and talk and read. My family also enjoys hiking together; we like going to Taughannock Falls and Buttermilk Falls and are always trying to find new hiking trails around the Finger Lakes. Most hikes we do are through the woods, but the hard work of hiking is worth it when you come upon a waterfall, a secluded spot, or a scenic view. I also love biking to Peaches and Cream or to Market Street for lunch with my friends.” 

Unplugged At Nicks Lake State Park in Old Forge, N.Y. freshman Taylor Farrell reads a book by her campsite fire pit.

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