Snow-capped mountains
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the treeline against the blue sky at Mount Cube

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Ugh, what a cliché. I've got a better saying: A trip a week makes for a good streak. Much better, isn't it? My trip streak is absolutely perfect–every week I've been on at least one trip. You don't believe me? Well…

During Week 1, I went on three trips: Fungi Friday, a trip to the Organic Farm, and a trip to the Ravine Lodge to do trail work. You can read about these three here.

On the weekend of my Week 2, I took a two-day Wilderness First Aid course (I'm now WFA certified, yay!). You can argue that the WFA course was not really a trip because we didn't leave campus, but here's the thing: I had to wear my hiking boots and a climbing helmet, and I had to lie in a sleeping bag. I'm gonna count it as a trip.

Not convinced yet? Well… The non-trip-y part of WFA was lectures. They started at around 8:30 AM on both days and went on for a few hours, but after that, we went outside, practicing how to respond to all sorts of scary scenarios in the wilderness. At one point, the twenty of us students sat on the steps before the buildings, putting on quite a show for whoever passed us. Some of us were splinting the broken legs or ankles of our partners; others were splinting broken arms and wrists. Some were bandaging open wounds, while others were doing full body checks on their patients to see whether they wouldn't find a fake bone sticking out from underneath a shirt's sleeve. We also had to carry each other in body bags up the stairs, then down the stairs, from the grass, onto the concrete, back to the grass–"Careful not to move their head! They might have a spine injury!" It was fun, what can I tell you. It was also somewhat scary for the passing students who had friends among us and thought that their friends were actually hurt… (We also had fake blood.)

The view from mount cube - a bluish sky and green mountains.
The view from Mount Cube
a bright orange eastern newt in Kalina's hands
I'm holding an orange fury: Toothless the eastern newt

On Saturday of my Week 3, I went on a trip to Mount Cube. The Mount Cube hike was officially a Cabin and Trail trip, but our two leaders, Levi and Ian, turned into a great Flora and Fauna adventure. Ian taught me how to tell apart red maple trees from sugar maple trees, while Levi told us about the first (evolutionary speaking) plant that could grow upright–the club moss. We also saw a bunch of Eastern red-spotted newts, and since we're already riding on the Flora and Fauna vibe–did you know that these bright orange cuties are actually babies and will turn brown once they grow old? Interesting, right? And another fun fact: they're toxic if you lick them. So don't lick them. Don't say I didn't warn you!

club moss
Club moss!
Kalina and her fellow trippees posing by an old-growth tree
My fellow trippees and I beside an old-growth tree

And we have now reached Week 4. While all the other trips I've been on had a crew of at least five people, there were just three of us on Cabin Work and Pancakes–Isaac, Sydney, and I. The more the merrier, goes another cliché, but you should've noticed by now that I don't like clichés… The phrase that fits much better our Cabin Work trips is: Three can take down a tree! Okay, I know this sounds very violent, but bear with me.

Isaac, Sydney, and I left Hanover that Saturday when it was already dark. We drove north to the Great Bear Cabin, and by the time we arrived, it had started drizzling again, which made our stay in the Great Bear Cabin even more cozier. Isaac lit the fire; we talked for an hour or two, and then we went to bed. Sometimes I still can't quite wrap my mind around the fact that one night I can sleep in my bed in my dorm, and then the following night, I'll be in a small cabin in the middle of the woods, with a barred owl hooting in the darkness outside. (A note on the barred owl: this night was my first time to hear a barred owl. As lovely as the owl is, it woke me up with my heart beating madly because it sounded like a barking dog!)

the inside of the Great Bear cabin
The Great Bear Cabin


Sydney is bent over the pan, making pancakes
Sydney's making pancakes

Isaac and Sydney are working on the cabin.
Isaac and Sydney, busy working

The next morning, Isaac and Sydney made pancakes. Is there anything better than pancakes on a weekend morning in a cozy cabin in the woods? Nope. That's the best life can give you! (Okay, maybe there are a few things that can beat this, but they are very few!) And do you know what comes after the pancakes? If you said, "Messing around and not doing cabin work," then you'd be almost right. ALMOST. We did get to do A BIT of cabin work–there has to be an explanation, after all, to the phrase: "Three can cut down a tree."

Well, here it is: We cut down a tree. Isaac cut it, to be precise. Sydney and I only watched. Then he cut it into smaller pieces, and we peeled the bark off. Now the Great Bear Cabin has a brand new log for its porch.

a path of leaves leads to the great bear cabin
Goodbye, Great Bear Cabin. I'll be back.

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