The (First) Trip of a Lifetime
The preparation process for first-year trips with the DOC (Dartmouth Outing Club) begins in the early summer when you fill out the form indicating your interests. There are three main categories for trips: walking/water (e.g. hiking or kayaking), cabin (e.g. nature writing or yoga), and campus-based (e.g. ecology). This is just a tiny sampling of the breadth of the 134 different trips '27's went on.
I was placed into moderate hiking group 44.2. Trippees (new students on trips) are not told ahead of time where they will be going for their trip. Our trip leaders (upperclassmen) knew our itinerary. We arrived at Lowe's path which is one of the access points for Mount Adams in the white mountains.
Also, as a quick note, the White Mountains are in New Hampshire and contain the Presidential Range, and the Green Mountains are in Vermont. This is important since Dartmouth is situated between the two states.
We hiked up with our heavy bags on the first day, and given that it had rained the previous day, it was quite the experience. After around two and a half miles, mostly at a steep incline, we arrived at a cabin. This cabin had a large opening as its 'front door' and two levels of floor in the back half for sleeping space. On trips with my family, I had previously used sleeping bags and mattresses in a tent, so this was my first time using an inflatable pad on wood, and it got cold in the cabin at night (toasty clothing was necessary!). Typically, there are at least a few other trippees who are experiencing new circumstances, too.
The first night we tried our hand at making a lentil and rice dish. Nearly all of the provisions are non-perishable except apples, carrots, onions, and peppers, so it was helpful that a few of us knew how to cook. On our second day, some of us ditched our bags or severely lightened the loads, and we hiked to the 'waterfall' that you can see in some of the pictures. At the waterfall, we spent some time eating lunch, hanging out, and enjoying the sun. On that second night at the cabin, we did a cooking competition with mac and cheese and other items. It was decided that the second group won, their dishes were delicious!
After a second night in the cabin and a hike out in the morning, we were driven to the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge where we stayed until the following afternoon. The other half of first-year trips go to Sklodj (Dartmouth's Ski Way Lodge) At the lodge, there were many festivities and a wonderful dinner, followed by a sunrike (hike to see the sunrise) that left at 3 a.m. I was too sore for the sunrike and remained sore for a couple more days after returning to campus. Between putting iodine in water to purify it and then electrolytes to compensate for all the sweating, and not showering during the trip, most people appreciate modern amenities upon returning to campus. However, there is a part of me that will remember the trip, as it provided me with time in nature and something to focus on other than orientation, picking classes, and leaving my family. There is a shirt and sticker specific to the particular year of trips, and I have seen many worn around campus and perhaps students are reminiscing.
A note on affordability: financial aid made trips more accessible for me as there is normally a $350 fee.
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