Starting The Year Off Right

What better way to commence the beginning of a new year here at Miri Piri Academy than by climbing a mountain? A three-day hike through the western Himalayas would definitely start the year off with a strong and united group spirit! After the arrival of students from all different parts of the world, we all got on buses and drove to a beautiful hill station called Dalhausie in Himachal Pradesh, which is a state in India. Dalhausie is situated at 8,000 ft. and surrounded by beautiful mountain forests. On the first day, we excitedly began our journey by walking 4 KM on the mountain road, then climbing 3 KM up to the top of a mountain. “It was super nice. The scenery passing by was breathtaking and the air was so fresh. When we were climbing up the hill in the dirt, I was scared. There was a point where I tripped crossing a natural spring, but when I made it across I felt amazing! My friends kept me going and I did it. I felt like I was on top of the world! I loved it.” –Nav Jiwan Kaur, 11th grade, Miami, FL.


That night we returned to the same hotel to catch up on some sleep, ready for the challenging second day. In the morning, we packed overnight backpacks and got on a bus to drive to Kalatop National Forest Sanctuary. At 9100 ft. we took a leisurely walk for 3 KM to get to Kalatop Rest House. Once there, we played an exciting game of Capture the Flag for about an hour. Afterwards we made our way back to the bus stop for lunch.

This was only our warm up because after lunch was when the party started! From there we walked 14 KM from Kalatop to our hotel in Kajjiar, making it in only 4 ½ hours. Saihaj Singh, 7th grade, from Australia said, “The views were definitely very nice! I could have kept taking pictures continuously the whole day. It was very challenging, though. If you thought about how long you had left to go, it was hard. If you forgot about it and focused on other things it was fun. I was amazed that I could have walked so far in one day! And at the end, some of us were able to ride horses and that was also fun.”


Day number two was a huge challenge, so for the last day we decided to do something a little more fun. First we walked about 2 KM to a mountain near the hotel and climbed to the top of it. Then we came back down to the road and went up the adjacent mountain, going off trail and exploring Indian villages a little more intimately. We were able to climb through cornfields and trails, and finally to the very top of it to relax with the farmers and their cows. “It was a lot of fun to fight that much to get to the top. At the end I was so tired and I sat down. But my friends cheered me on and I ran the rest of the way. It definitely made me project how I wanted to be this year at MPA, and made me realize it’s a privilege to be here and to challenge myself to that extent.” Hargobind Singh, 11th grade, Millis MA.


Overall, it was an amazing challenge, which shaped the beginning of the school year here at MPA. It was a real inspiration to see the whole group keep each other going, and to conquer each and every mountain side by side. As Sir Edmund Hillary said, “It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” Now the intention is set for the year: There is no mountain we can’t climb.