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A waterfall spotted during the hike.

My first week back in Hanover came to a pretty epic end when my friends Ari, Meggie, and I decided to sign up for a 6-mile hike offered through the Dartmouth Outing Club (DOC). After a summer spent as a camp counselor in upstate New York, I headed back to Hanover, newly invigorated by summer spent outdoors and—hoping—to continue my outdoorsy streak throughout the school year. So, after hearing about a free hiking trip offered through the Cabin and Trail sub-club of the DOC, we all decided to sign up: excited by the prospect of our early Sunday adventure.

Ari and Meggie hike up Mt. Ascutney.
Ari and Meggie absolutely crushing the hike up Mt. Ascutney!

This morning, Ari, Meggie, and I met up to pack 2 liters of water (each), a rain jacket, and snacks for an afternoon of hiking Mount Ascutney, located around 30 minutes away from campus in Vermont. Since we were going with the DOC, our fully funded trip included free transportation as well as the ever-exciting company of very cool and nature-savvy trip leaders. Making our way up the mountain, we joked and appreciated the views (as well as each other's company) before making a cute little trail lunch consisting of pitas, tortillas, hummus, peanut butter, fancy raspberry jam, goldfish, and some interesting chocolates.

The views at the top of the mountain were breathtaking, and we were impressed that—while more than 30 minutes away from campus—we could still see some of the familiar mountains that surround Hanover. At the summit, we climbed a little tower to get an even better view of the surroundings. Up at the top of the tower, my friends and I decided to have a little photoshoot to celebrate our matriculation—a Dartmouth tradition—which was happening for the Class of 2024 on the same day.

A photo of President Hanlon edited onto someone else's face.
A fun matriculation themed photo we decided to take at the summit.

While we just got through our first week back at school, I'm already excited and surprised by the sheer quantity of things to do. At Dartmouth, the unique, rural surroundings offer students such a cool sense of place, with both unparalleled access to the outdoors as well as a feeling of belongingness within an extremely cute (and fairly metropolitan) small town. Getting to go outside and experience the amazing wilderness of the Upper Valley makes me feel incredibly lucky to have found a college with such an established connection to its location.

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