Sunset Snowshoeing
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Slacklining in front of Dartmouth hall
Chill afternoons in the water
Me being a toprope toughguy
Moosilauke night hike

Summer in Hanover has been filled with a wonderful number of spontaneous surprises. So far, each day has had its own instantaneous excursions, everything from friends calling to swim in the river to brief trips off exploring in the woods. Most work is scaled back for the summer—some students even only take two classes as compared to the normal three—and the majority of campus clubs draw much less of a commitment. As a result, everyone spends extra time simply doing whatever they enjoy, and as a result of the summer temperatures and New Hampshire’s scenic backdrop, oftentimes that means just hanging out outside.

Here are a couple of my favorite sophomore summer activities to do outside, including everything from woodland adventures to relaxing around campus:

Slacking by the Slackline

Music, friends, and falling off of taut balance-bands. Bring out the speakers—or maybe friends with guitars if it’s a lucky day—and practice tricks on the lawn in front of Dartmouth Hall. In my experience, that usually entails a lot of falling off onto the grass, but it’s sure to draw in a lot of curious passerby and is a great way to make new friends. When not pulling off feats of flawless balance, it’s also a great excuse to just go sit out on the grass and enjoy campus, especially hanging around with friends. Bring a hammock, a picnic blanket, and some snacks, and it’ll be a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.

Relaxing in the River

Paddleboards, kayaks, canoes, or even just floating around in the river, Dartmouth’s docks on the Connecticut are one of the best places on campus to spend time with friends. It’s perfect for swimming and sunbathing (and rental water-faring vessels come cheap). Personally, I usually find myself getting pushed off a paddleboard, but some of my best memories from the summer so far been in the river, and it’s perhaps the best place to watch the sunset. There’s also a hammock next to the Ledyard clubhouse; it’s prime real-estate, but those who snag it get one of the most relaxing spots on campus. Plus, there’s plenty of other streams and swimming holes to explore nearby, and so there’s always an exciting new spot to cool down.

Climbing Cliffs

Rock climbing certainly requires a little bit of advance knowledge, but luckily for beginners, the Mountaineering Club runs plenty of beginner trips each weekend over the summer. Only an hour away, Rumney, New Hampshire has some of the best climbing in the country, and if that’s too far, there’s plenty to do at the nearby Riverside Crag. In my own case, these places are where I spend most of my weekends, sometimes helping to lead college-sponsored trips and other times just with friends. With a little more practice, the entire White Mountains National Forest quickly turns into a goldmine of cliffs to scale, and so it’s a wonderful place to try something new.

Wandering in the Whites

Speaking of the mountains, if climbing’s a bit too intense —or otherwise if hiking is just a more personally preferable activity–Cabin and Trail leads plenty of summer hikes. One of the most renowned is the Fourth of July Moosilauke Fireworks Hike, which is when they lead a number of groups up the mountain, a section of the forest managed by the College, starting from our very own Ravine Lodge. On top, everybody eats snacks and watches fireworks from the surrounding towns. Plus, there’s plenty of cabin overnights, sunrise hikes, and even a UFO excursion, so there’s plenty of options to explore.

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