Monday, October 1, 2012

Tandem Biking, Mountain Hiking, and Other Shenanigans (Just an Average Week at SMC!)

Happy October and Happy Monday!

Last week I had to finish a project for my Nature and Outdoor Writing class called Encounters. Basically, we've been working on this project throughout the whole month of September, trying to spend as much time as possible outdoors and documenting what we saw. I spent a great deal of my month walking through the woods taking pictures...sounds awesome, right? It gets better though! We also get to spend a lot of our class time outdoors, and we journal about all of our adventures. Our class this past Thursday was a bike ride! We went to Local Motion, a local business that supports biking in Burlington, and rented bikes (a cost that we were luckily able to get funded by the school). I got to ride a tandem (two-seater) bike with my friend Nate. On the way back, I rode with Professor Sultze--we had some laughs trying to coordinate our pedaling. It was so much fun!

"You'd look sweet upon the seat...of a bicycle built for two!"
It was such a relaxing day, and I still can't believe that I got to go on a bike ride for class. It'll definitely be one of my favorite and most memorable classtimes ever!

Anyway, I started off by telling you about my Encounters project and kind of forgot where I was going with that. Woops! On Friday morning, only a few hours before I was to hand in my project, I was sitting outside on a bench with my friend and we saw a squirrel jump into a trash can. Now, the squirrels here at Saint Mike's are pretty crazy, so there was nothing new about that, but the problem was that there apparently wasn't enough trash in the can so the poor squirrel got stuck all the way at the bottom! It was trapped and couldn't get out.

So sad!
No fear, though. Saint Mike's students to the rescue! A few people crowded around as we took the lid off of the trash can and slowly tipped it on its side. The squirrel had been scared and was hissing at us (who knew they could hiss!), but it scampered away as soon as it was freed. I hope none of the other squirrels jumped in after we left! I decided to give the last page of my Encounters Project to this little squirrel. It certainly was an interesting encounter!

So, as you can see, I had an interesting few days. But it gets better! I was doing a lot of homework over the weekend, so I was happy to take a break. Earlier this month, I had signed up to take a hike with the Wilderness Program. The Saint Mike's Wilderness Program is really cool because it offers you a chance to go explore all of the awesome natural wonders of Vermont in a safe environment with people who share the same interests. Plus, it's pretty cheap! You can even borrow and equipment you might need so that you don't have to buy all of your own.

Each trip has student leaders who have been trained as wilderness instructors. Our group had two awesome leaders, plus four other students in all. I liked having a smaller group...we all got to talk and get to know each other while doing something we loved!

This was my first activity with the Wilderness Program. Every time I signed up for something last year, I unfortunately had to cancel. So, especially after a long week, you can imagine how pumped I was to hike Mt. Hunger!

A beautiful view of a waterfall about halfway up Mt. Hunger.

The hike was a 2.2-mile trail to the top, so 4.4 miles in all. Some areas were pretty steep while others were a more gradual ascent. As we got toward the top, it was much rockier, and we had to climb some parts of it. To be honest, it was quite the workout!

It was also pretty rainy, so it was difficult to see. I imagine that the view from the top would have been awesome, but we lucked out enough with the weather. At the summit, we stopped to eat lunch. It wasn't raining yet and there wasn't much wind. It was cool, but it felt nice after all of that hiking. It only started raining on our way back down, and there was enough tree cover that it wasn't bad at all.

The summit of Mt. Hunger on a foggy day.

Still, I was soaked by the time we got back. It was a bit slippery on the way down, especially in muddy areas. Being the clumsy person that I am, I definitely had to take it slow at some points. The group was really understanding though, and we all helped each other out.

I'm pretty sore today, but I can't wait to do another hike. Vermont is beautiful, and there are so many opportunities out there. I'm so excited to have another experience like this!

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