Concord teachers start summer break with the Pemi Loop

  • Rundlett Middle School teachers Kristen Curren, Sarah Nute and Alison Gaudette hiked the Pemigewasset Loop on July 28 and 29, 2022. Kristen Curren—Courtesy

  • Rundlett Middle School teachers Kristen Curren, Alison Gaudette and Sarah Nute hiked the Pemigewasset Loop on Tuesday and Wednesday. Kristen Curren / Courtesy

  • Rundlett Middle School teachers Kristen Curren, Sarah Nute and Alison Gaudette hike the Pemigewasset Loop on July 28 and 29, 2022. Kristen Curren—Courtesy

  • Rundlett Middle School teacher Kristen Curren jumps for joy while hiking the Pemigewasset Loop on July 28 and 29, 2022. Kristen Curren—Courtesy

  • Rundlett Middle School teachers Kristen Curren, Sarah Nute and Alison Gaudette hiked the Pemigewasset Loop on July 28 and 29, 2022. Kristen Curren—Courtesy

  • Rundlett Middle School teachers Kristen Curren, Sarah Nute and Alison Gaudette hiked the Pemigewasset Loop on July 28 and 29, 2022. Kristen Curren—Courtesy

Monitor staff
Published: 7/1/2022 2:52:24 PM
Modified: 7/1/2022 2:49:50 PM

Three Rundlett Middle School teachers marked the start of their summer vacation by hiking 32 miles in two days this week, a trip that’s well on its way to becoming a tradition.

Sixth-grade math teacher Kristen Curren, sixth-grade language arts teacher Sarah Nute and health teacher Alison Gaudette hiked the Pemigewasset Loop in the White Mountains, following a ridgeline trail through eight of the state’s 4,000-foot peaks, including Mount Liberty, Mount Lincoln and Mount Lafayette. They did the route in two days, staying overnight at the Galehead AMC hut.

“It was nice to be out there together and to be spending time in nature but away from the classroom and regrouping for the next school year,” Nute said Thursday.

The teachers left Concord at 4 a.m. on Tuesday, accompanied by two of their husbands and one friend. They started hiking at 6 a.m. and hit their first summit, Mount Flume, by 9:30 a.m. The real sweating began when they got to Mount Lafayette at 1:30 p.m. and realized they were an hour behind their goal, which was to reach the AMC hut in time for a 6 p.m. dinner. Not having an alternative dinner option, Curren said they “sprinted” the rest of the way, and the four of them who arrived on time were able to save food for the rest.

Tuesday night’s sleep was elusive for Curren in the communal hut, due to what she described as a “snorchestra,” but the teachers were up and ready for the second day of hiking by 8:30 a.m. the next morning.

In many ways the hike marked the end of a different trek: the 2021-2022 school year, which the teachers said started off tough with COVID-19 masking and distancing protocols, but ended up feeling much easier by the spring, especially compared to the year before.

“The year before was probably the hardest teaching year I’ve ever had because we just kept shifting the mode in which we were teaching,” Curren said. “So this year felt more normal especially toward the end of the year when things started getting lifted. I had this ‘aha’ moment of ‘oh my gosh, I could teach again.’ I could be a good teacher again.”

Nute said she had to skip some of the conversation-practicing and social-awareness building parts of her language arts curriculum this year that she typically covers in the fall, because the masks and the distancing made exercises in noticing conversational moods almost impossible.

“The past couple years have impacted the kids and they’re still recovering from it, and we as teachers are still recovering from it too,” Nute said. “I’m looking forward to next year being a more normal start to the school year and helping the next group of kids start to build the social-emotional pieces they might have missed in the last years of school.”

It wasn’t the first time the teachers have kicked off summer vacation with an ambitious hike. Last year, Curren and Nute did the Presidential Traverse in one day, a 23-mile hike that covers all 10 peaks in the presidential range, including Mt. Adams, Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Washington.

“I asked her if she wanted to, and she was like, ‘yeah, I’m for it,’ and then she was a way better hiker than I even anticipated, so that was really nice,” Curren said. “It’s really nice to work in a community where I enjoy the people I work with.”

The group is already talking about where to go for next year’s hike – so far Curren’s ideas include Mount Katahdin, the Belknap Range and maybe even another overnight stay in a hut...maybe this time with earplugs.


Eileen O

Eileen O'Grady is a Report for America corps member covering education for the Concord Monitor since spring 2020. O’Grady is the former managing editor of Scope magazine at Northeastern University in Boston, where she reported on social justice issues, community activism, local politics and the COVID-19 pandemic. She is a native Vermonter and worked as a reporter covering local politics for the Shelburne News and the Citizen. Her work has also appeared in The Boston Globe, U.S. News & World Report, The Bay State Banner, and VTDigger. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northeastern University and a bachelor’s degree in politics and French from Mount Holyoke College, where she served as news editor for the Mount Holyoke News from 2017-2018.



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