While most of us spent Dead Week relaxing, whether at home or at school, a few brave souls chose to venture outside the warm comfort of their bedrooms and into the wild on one of the Dead Week trips led by the Williams Outing Club (WOC). There were two trips this year – one billed as “winter fun in the Adirondack Mountains” and the other as a snowshoeing excursion in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Both had limited numbers of available spots, creating a small environment that allowed for lots of group bonding over the course of the week.
The trip to the Adirondack Mountains took a group of 15 students to the ADK Trail Crew Lodge, where they stayed for four days and three nights. As advertised, participants in this trip took part in a variety of activities, such as cross-country skiing and hiking. The experience levels of those on the outing varied from highly experienced to students on their first ever WOC excursion. The large leader-to-excursionist ratio allowed for more flexibility in the students’ daily trips – each day, participants on the adventure were able to choose which of two hikes they wanted to partake in. “While some people learned how to cross-country ski, others took the more difficult trail,” Abby Kelly ’16 said. “But everyone fell a lot on both hikes,” Sophia Wilansky ’16 said.
The trip “was awesome and far exceeded my expectations,” one of the first-timers, Sam Jeong ’14, said. “Being unplugged from my cell phone and my computer and just being there with 14 other people and having conversations … I think there’s something very special about experiencing nature together,” Wilansky echoed Jeong’s sentiment: “I think it’s really nice to be somewhere where there’s no Internet access. It’s not a real break unless you totally remove yourself from the world.”
The group went skiing during the day and at night. One day, the group had a picnic complete with hot cocoa after skiing a nine-mile trail and ending up at “Avalanche Lake, a beautiful lake between two mountains,” Kelly said. “Another day, the weather was so intense that only four of us made it up to the summit, and it was so windy, we couldn’t stand up straight easily and needed to wear goggles to open our eyes,” Kelly said, “It was awesome.”
On their last morning, the group went on a sunrise hike. “We got to the top of the mountain 10 minutes before the sun rose – the mist was all over the valley and the tips of the mountains were turning pink,” Kelly said. Jeong described it as one of the most meaningful experiences of his trip. “It was probably the most beautiful view I’ve ever seen,” he said, “I was looking around at some of the people I’d met on the trip and felt very attached to those people and very close. It wasn’t something I was expecting at all.” “The best part [of the WOC trip] was definitely the people,” Kelly agreed. “They were really relaxed, willing to have fun and very interesting people.”
For Jeong going on a Dead Week trip was the opportunity to tick something off his bucket list. “It was always something I wanted to do, but I didn’t really have time,” Jeong elaborated. Jeong ended the trip with “memories of a beautiful place that I probably won’t forget for a very long time.”
In contrast, the snowshoeing excursion to New Hampshire was not quite as picturesque. The intent was for the group to spend three days and two nights at Lonesome Lake Hut in the White Mountains. However, after arriving at the site in the morning, the trip’s leader fell ill. The rest of the group went on a day hike, but the trip had to be cut short and the group was emergency evacuated that night. Nonetheless, the trip’s leader, Scott Wieman ’14 had good things to say about the outing. It was “a beautiful sunrise and day in a beautiful part of the world,” he said. “I enjoyed being a leader, though it was tempered by the fact that I was responsible for the trip having to end early.”