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sydney wuu mount lafayette

The Dartmouth Outing Club ("the DOC"), the largest and oldest collegiate outing club in the nation, has been one of the highlights of my Sophomore Summer. So far during my Sophomore Summer I have savored the aroma of freshly baked pizzas from the Organic Farm, been in awe by panoramic views from the top of Lafayette Mountain, and splashed into the Connecticut River after a Friday afternoon's worth of paddleboarding yoga. Now halfway through the term, I'm more confident in my ability to thrive in the outdoors and excited to be able to share some photos and reflections from trips I've been on this summer.

Before coming to Dartmouth, I wouldn't consider myself "outdoorsy" at all. My childhood was a blend of Manila skyscrapers and Los Angeles freeways—I never dreamed of summiting Franconia Ridge or making pizza with ingredients freshly harvested from my college's organic farm. Despite my lack of experience with the outdoors, part of my excitement in applying to a close-knit college on the border of New Hampshire and Vermont was its proximity to nature, as I knew for the vast majority of my life I'd be living in a city or suburban environment. I viewed my four years as an undergraduate student as the perfect time to branch out and try new hobbies because I'd never know what hidden gems I'd stumble upon. For me, these have been adventures like paddleboard yoga trips with the Ledyard Canoe Club, trying out warrior and tree pose while balancing on a board in a carefree, peaceful setting on the Connecticut River.

sydney wuu paddleboard yoga
Yoga tree pose on a paddleboard!

sydney wuu franconia ridge
One Saturday I challenged myself with a 10+ mile trek through Franconia Ridge in the White Mountains, one of the most beautiful hiking destinations in New England. I'll never forget feeling the wind rushing through my hair and the accomplishment of soaking in an amazing view when we reached the summit. At the top of Mount Lafayette, out of the blue a former DOC president recognized us as Dartmouth students because of the particular gummy snacks we were eating! That moment spoke to the sheer tight-knit community of the College and our extensive alumni network.

sydney wuu mountain biking
I ride my electric scooter all around campus, but have never mountain biked before. Joining an Introduction to Mountain Biking trip with the Dartmouth Mountain Biking Club (DMBC) was a super cool off-the-beaten path experience. We tried out the Berm Trail in Oak Hill, as well as a skills course where we learned how to build momentum to carry us over bumps and ridges in the dirt. Our instructors were extremely patient and encouraging to us as we built up the confidence to try out new routes.

sydney wuu mount cardigan
I hiked Mount Cardigan, a beginner-friendly 3-mile loop, with the Viva Hardigg Outdoors Club, a sub-club of the DOC focused on gender inclusivity in the outdoors. As we snacked on Annie's organic bunny fruit snacks, we chatted and enjoyed views from underneath the shade of the fire tower. We stopped at a local bakery for pastries and drinks afterwards—a super refreshing treat!

sydney wuu pizza making
This past Friday, I joined Farm Club at a pizza dinner at the Organic Farm. We rolled the dough, added sauces and put our fresh pizzas with veggies harvested from Dartmouth's very own Organic Farm in the wood-fired oven. It was incredibly yummy and even better than Domino's, if I do say so myself.

sydney wuu o farm pizza
Our final creation!

All in all, what I love about the DOC is the sheer diversity of trips offered that make the outdoors more accessible to people with all interests. The Dartmouth Outing Club is an umbrella organization for 23 sub-clubs, including Cabin and Trail, Ledyard Canoe Club, Dartmouth Mountaineering Club, Viva Hardigg Outdoors Club, and Timber Team. I hope my post has helped illustrate some of the ways you can get outside at Dartmouth with student-run trips in the surrounding Upper Valley and beyond!

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