First-years share their perspectives on WOOLF adventures

We back up Baxter, we disrupt Dodd, and now we have reached The Williams Record. Although the freshman class may look highly refined, just two weeks ago most of us began our Williams careers in the woods.

Like many Williams students before us, we blindly gave over our last days of summer freedom to the zany Williams Outing Club (WOC).

While the hardcore members of our class zealously enrolled in five-day wilderness expeditions, the faint of heart opted for the three-day trips that assured us we wouldn’t starve to death if the food ran out and that an airlift rescue team would have no trouble tracking our short distance.

Before embarking, WOOLFies crowded the Towne Field House, stuffing their overflowing packs with inordinate amounts of food. Each group was challenged to chow down its entire supply of food by trip’s end. Five-day backpackers were further baited to engorge themselves by the reward of a Ben and Jerry’s Vermonster.

WOOLFies drew upon their Williams know-how to come up with innovative food usage as they tried to meet the challenge. In an effort to purge his troop’s remaining oregano seasoning, one leader rolled an oregano joint. Reportedly, the herbal stogie was surprisingly potent, producing a pleasant lightheaded effect. Another group preserved their drinking water by using grape jelly instead to dilute their Tang drink mix.

Throughout the Berkshires, frosh after frosh closed his eyes, pinched his nose, and downed shot after shot of mustard, salt and pepper. Some groups actually resorted to treachery, attempting to slip extra bags of rice into the packs of other groups. Such scheming was apparently widespread.

Several groups reported that their cheese slabs mysteriously multiplied. Fearless leaders set the ultimate example, consuming cheese by the slab and beans by the spoonful. Although most people chose to spare their digestive tracks by returning the freeze-dried hummus mix and the dehydrated beans, there were some valiant souls who finished all of their provisions.

The class of 2004 also kept the nude WOOLF trip tradition alive. A few groups, mostly the die-hard five-dayers, engaged in skinny-dipping with reckless abandon. One of the five-day backpack groups wanted to leave an impression on a group of approaching hikers. Despite the chance that the incoming group was a troop of Girl Scouts, they made the split second decision to expose their lower halves to the elements. Luckily for the streakers, they completely shocked what turned out to be a bunch of fellow frosh.

The backpackers weren’t the only ones having fun, though. Canoers livened up days of paddling with sabotage. The intermediate group, rowing miles under the cover of night, stole the beginners’ boats and anchored them in the middle of the lake. The rock climbing groups had an incredibly posh trip with the orientation walk from their dorm to the field house amounting to the longest distance traveled without the aid of a college van. In true outdoor spirit, the beginners’ group camped out on the porch of the old Rockefeller mansion whenever the weather looked threatening. Others were not so lucky, crowding incredibly tightly under a precariously strewn tarp, trying their best to escape the deluges.

For those first-years who were utterly miserable on their trips, those who spent each day whining about the strenuous hikes and the oppressive odor of ten people nowhere near showering facilities, we have some words of advice. If the trip did nothing else for you, at least admit that it made the comparably slight inconveniences of college dorm life forgivable. The living quarters of Lehman probably seem more spacious to first-years who have spent a night under a tarp with 12 people; the bathrooms of Morgan Mideast must feel more convenient to those who have relieved themselves on the soil of the Berkshires. Even the Bob Marley chicken at Baxter seems like a gourmet delicacy after days of gorp and PB&Js.