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View from Cabin!

If there's one thing about Dartmouth that you can't deny, it's our love for the outdoors. The beauty of New Hampshire is hard not to obsess over. Nature is a big part of campus life, and new students are quickly immersed in it. First-Year Trips are an unforgettable outdoor experience for many Dartmouth students. Trips are an optional student-led pre-orientation program. Every Dartmouth upperclassman I know recommends going on trips. After reading about my experience, you'll understand why.  

Coming from a DC suburb, I wasn't used to navigating many outdoor activities. But trust me when I say I was excited to start at Dartmouth. Like, really excited. I even spent my last couple of hot girl walks breaking in my new hiking boots before move-in day. Thankfully, my naïvety wasn't an outlier. Many students didn't have much experience with the outdoors prior to coming to Dartmouth. Don't feel intimidated when signing up for Trips! There are so many options, and several of them are completely beginner-friendly. 

First day of Trips!
First day of Trips!

You can go whitewater kayaking, mountain biking, or even fly fishing. The list goes on. Within each trip, there are separated by physical intensity (Less Strenuous, Moderately Strenuous, and Most Strenuous). I ended up playing it fairly safe with Moderately Strenuous Hiking. It was supposedly 5-10 miles a day, but the furthest we went in one day was about 4 miles.

So, what was my trip like? I could go on and on about how lucky I got with my trip group. But in reality, I have heard nothing but great things about my friend's trips. Each group is fairly small, so everyone gets pretty close by the end of it. I was with 8 other first-years (tripees), and 2 trip leaders. Emma is a '25 (sophomore), and Kyle is a '22+1 (Senior who is staying for another year). 

Emma and Kyle were both amazing trip leaders. They did well with navigating the hiking route, and also gave great advice. Trips are a great way to learn more about Dartmouth before orientation. They gave us honest and genuine answers, and let us ask any questions. It was nice to have their perspectives on Dartmouth. 

Views from the cabin!
Views from the cabin!

My other tripees all came from various walks of life. We got along really well though. It's crazy to think that we went from complete strangers to sleeping inches away from each other under a tarp over the span of just four days. We bonded quicker than I had anticipated. (Ask me later about the "billy goat" we met.) 

The view from the summit of Mount Cardigan
The view from the summit of Mount Cardigan

Oh, and we did some hiking too. The views were beautiful along Mount Cardigan. It made the slippery rocks and muddy shoes all worth it. We did get lucky though, as we stumbled across a lodge with a real bathroom. Otherwise, we fully embraced the no-shower look. 

dartmouth skiway
Last day of trips; In front of Sklodj (Dartmouth Skiway)

The trip, all in all, was very grounding. I truly felt connected to the nature of the Upper Valley, and even more so to my trip group. We still have trip dinners and our group chat (that has yet to be named), but I miss the innocence of those four days before orientation. For now, I'll retell my experience to any and every incoming '27 and beyond.

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