A seagull at the beach on the south fork of Long Island
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Canoe on a lake

This past September, I was a First Year Trips (FYT) leader for an Ecology trip. Here is a little about my trips experience both as a leader and a "tripee" (term for first-year students on the trip). Although it is mid winter and trips happen at the end of the summer, I thought I would reminisce on the warm months and hopefully introduce prospective or accepted students to this lovely tradition.

Preparation for FYT, one photo of a variety of mid training snacks and a second photo of me and a friend carrying all of our camping gear

First Year Trips is a program through the Dartmouth Outing Club which a majority of incoming first-year students attend. You go exploring in the woods (in some capacity or another, with varying activities for levels of comfort and experience) for 3-4 days culminating at a lodge with other first-year students. It is a fantastic program and some of my tripees remain close friends!

As a leader for the pre-orientation FYT camping trips, I had to arrive on campus early to do some additional training—most training takes place in the spring term–and gear organization. This was a fun experience getting back on campus early and seeing my friends who were also trip leaders!

My trip was an Ecology based trip, and we were camping at the Hubbard Brook Research Center in New Hampshire and spent 3 days living in a farmhouse in the woods. One day, Matthew Ayres, Professor of Biological Sciences at Dartmouth took us throughout the research center, spoke about his research and we engaged with a graduate student learning all about her ecological research. 

photo of a butterfly on my hiking boot and another photo of our trip group gathered around a table eating a meal

The rest of our trip at the research center consisted of a lot of fun games, ice breakers, and day trips to a nearby lake where we had discovered another Dartmouth group.

Journey to the lake and an additional image of the lake

On our third day we left our campsite to go to Mt. Moosilauke for more bonding with other trip groups. We had the option to do a hike the next morning, known as a sunrike (sunrise hike). This is my second time doing the Moosilauke sunrike and it was foggy both times—see photos as proof. 

Two side by side photos of foggy Mt. Moosilauke

My experience as a first year on FYT was quite different as I was canoeing in Maine and had up to 6 hours of canoeing per day and sleeping under tarps, but I wouldn't change either one of my experiences for the world. I am so grateful for first year trips and the people I've met through trips! 

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