First-Year Trips is a special Dartmouth experience that close to 90% of incoming freshmen choose to participate in. It is not a secret that Dartmouth is an outdoorsy campus, and Trips is a great introduction to all the wonderful green spaces that surround campus.
Trips is a four-day experience that happens during orientation week for freshmen. Every trip has two leaders, who are volunteer Dartmouth students leading around 8 first-years through the woods.
There are many different types of trips freshmen can choose from, and I chose to lead "Hiking Moderate", which meant we hiked around 7 miles a day and camped at night.
To prepare for Trips, the DOC has several training sessions for leaders to ensure we know how to embark on adventures and support an inclusive environment.
On day one, we had last minute Trips training sessions like how to cook mac-n-cheese in a Trangia pot. In the afternoon, my co-leader and I met our "trippees"- the 26s on our trip. We all gathered for a safety talk and got to know each other before leaving the next day.
On day two, we left campus for a starting point on the Appalachian Trail 20 minutes away. Our trip got to know each other while covering beautiful New Hampshire ground. We eventually got to our shelter for the night, which was right off the AT. We ended the day with s'mores over a fire.
We woke up early on day three with the sunrise, which was lovely as we had a great summit view. Day three had another 7 miles of hiking, which we took in small increments with nice breaks in between. We really bonded with each other as we scaled a steep incline; my co-leader and I shared lessons learned and stories from our freshman year. We ended the day in a similar shelter.
For day four, we hiked 3 miles to the Dartmouth Ski Lodge, where we met around 15 other groups and were welcomed by Ski Croo, a group of Dartmouth students volunteering for Trips at the Skiway. At the lodge, we socialized with other groups and shared stories from each different trip. Dinner of warm lasagna was delicious, especially after eating camp food for two days!
After spending the night at the base of the skiway, we loaded into buses and headed back to Dartmouth. Though Trips ended, our trip group has remained close with reunion dinners and other social events. Trip group C14, welcome to Dartmouth!