By Matthew Saari

Drivers along County Route 12 on Tuesday afternoon probably saw the most unusual sight: More than a dozen young men and women pedaling their bicycles, each fully laden with backpacks and food supplies.
No, they’re not post-apocalyptic survivors; they’re students, hailing from as far west as Los Angeles and as far south as Virginia and North Carolina and from right here in the Northeast including Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, embarking upon a rugged expedition that happened to take them through scenic, historic Whitehall.
The journey is a part of a semester program offered by Kroka Expeditions of Marlow, New Hampshire. The 13 students and two instructors seen pedaling along Route 12 are partaking in the winter semester.
The semester began in January at their base camp in Marlow, where the students prepared themselves for the rigorous four-month journey ahead of them.
Once prepared the students set out for northern Quebec, where they stayed until March, experiencing all the discomfort yet majesty the northern Canadian wilderness has to offer.
From there they began their trek southward along Vermont rivers until they entered Lake Champlain. They paddled the entire length of the lake, 100 kilometers, before arriving in Whitehall.
The overview of the program can be found on Kroka’s website; what cannot be found, however, is the students’ thoughts on the people and community of Whitehall.
After spending two weeks paddling down the big lake, the comforts of Whitehall proved to be welcome indeed.
The group showered in the Skenesborough Pavilion where the shower, although cold, was described as most welcome.
Basic comforts aside, the group found the people and officials of Whitehall most accommodating and pleasant in their interactions.
“The café Historic Grounds was very nice to us,” said one of the adventurers.
After their long-awaited showers, the group provisioned itself for the next leg of their journey. For this, no locations other than Putorti’s Market and Stewart’s Shop would suffice.
Once provisioned, the adventurers took in the rich history of the town, visiting the USS Ticonderoga and Veterans Memorial on Skenesborough Drive.
As pleasant as they found Whitehall to be, the students and instructors are still many miles from home, and so they said good-bye and took to the road again.
With naught but the clothes on their back and the provisions they can carry, the journey will take these intrepid adventurers through Raceville and into Vermont via Pawlet. From there they will continue on through southern Vermont until they come full circle to Marlow, New Hampshire, where they embarked from so many months ago.
Interested parties can follow the group’s adventures at http://krokawintersemester2017.blogspot.com.

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