Antônio Jorge Medeiros Batista Silva
Are Outdoors Activities for Everyone?
Dartmouth's location offers students incredible opportunities to go outdoors and enjoy its beautiful, bucolic environment. But, to be honest, for some of us, this is something new. Personally, I have never been an outdoorsy type of guy. For the month and a half I have been here for, however, I have fallen in love with the Upper Valley's natural landscape!
During my first-year trip, I had a very pleasing experience with the region. Trips are one of the first Dartmouth traditions freshmen are exposed to — we get to engage with the outdoors while making new friends. And I could not have been luckier with mine! We went exploring the museums around the area, and it allowed me to familiarise myself with the region.
Although I'm not big on hikes and trails, I have been finding that I truly enjoy it. Especially for not being so comfortable in the woods, I was quite afraid of signing up for my first hike, but it ended up being the highlight of my week!
Outdoors activities at Dartmouth are mostly student-led, being centered around the Dartmouth Outing Club (or just DOC). The club was originally founded in 1909, and ever since has allowed thousands of students to enjoy the scenic environment that surrounds the college. In 2016, a subgroup called POCO (People of Color Outdoors) was established in the DOC, focusing on the experience of students coming from racial and ethnic minorities. When I first heard about it, I was instantly interested. The idea of being surrounded by people of different backgrounds when going outdoors made me much more comfortable with the idea of trying out hikes, camping, and other activities.
Lucky enough, DOC/POCO's activities are also heavily subsidized, so everyone gets a chance to participate, no matter their financial abilities.
Last Friday I went on my first POCO Sunrike — an early hike to catch the sunrise from the top of the mountain. This time, we explored Gile, an incredible mountain in Vermont. The drive there took us less than 15 minutes, and the hike itself was less than three miles — a good choice for starters! We left at around 5:30 am and were back on campus by 8 am, right on time for classes. I had time to have breakfast with my friends and review for my Arabic midterm exam that started at 9 am.
The view from the top of Gile was incredible, but what really made it for me was the foliage. If I am being honest, I think it will take a bit until I'm fully used to the idea of seasons. Coming from Southeastern Brazil, I had 365 days of summer. Now, I can't wait to see what Hanover looks like when it snows!
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Each winter, a celebration of the Upper Valley's beauty is hosted on Dartmouth's campus: Winter Carnival! In honor of its 114th year in existence, I wanted to document its kick-off and the variety of activities students can participate in during it!