snow Dartmouth
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canoeing el

Now that the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and the pollen seems to be everywhere, spring really is in full bloom. With only a week left in my first year, I decided to take advantage of the warmer weather, despite the fact that finals are on the horizon. After class on Friday, my friends and I headed over to the Connecticut River, where there are docks for people to sit or lie on. Although it was a cloudy day, the temperatures were still at the high eighties, which encouraged some of my friends to jump in. On the other hand, I, as a person who does not particularly like being cold and/or wet, opted out. Nonetheless, I spent a decent hour of my afternoon sitting on the dock and talking to my friends, feeling the stress from the week leave my mind.

The next day, my community house North Park organized a canoeing event. They rented out canoes from the Ledyard Canoe Club from 2-4 pm, allowing us to canoe for free with other members of North Park and friends from other houses that we could bring. For the second time that weekend, I made the trip to the river, excited for my first experience canoeing on the Connecticut. My roommate and I shared a canoe, and with some help and a push off the dock, we were off. It was probably comical how much we struggled with directing ourselves in the beginning, making turns when we wanted to go straight. But eventually, we got the hang of it. After a while of canoeing down the river by ourselves, we met up with our friends’ canoe in the middle of the river, and for a moment we just sat there, with our paddles still and our boats swaying together. It was only then that I took in everything around me and felt an immense sense of gratitude: noticing the cascade of trees, clear sky above me, and the company of these wonderful friends I had made.

docks canoe
Although I participated in a North Park community event, students can also rent canoes from the Ledyard Canoe Club on their own or with a group of friends.

On the way back to main campus, one of my friends commented that since we go to Dartmouth, we might as well take advantage of the nature around us. Even though none of us are super involved in nature excursions at Dartmouth, an occasional hike or canoeing trip does wonders for our appreciation of nature and our happiness. I remember reading recently in The Dartmouth that Mindy Kaling went into the river almost every single day of sophomore summer. While I’m not sure I would be able to achieve that, I sure can try, or at least take inspiration from her.