Hi everyone! I'm Shannon, one of the new bloggers this year. Since this is my first post, I'll take a second to introduce myself. I'm a sophomore from North Carolina. I'm a MechE major, I like music and many forms of social dancing, and I wrote more about myself in my profile, if you're interested.
What I'm writing about today is the annual (as far as I know) Olin camping trip over Labor Day weekend. Last year I didn't go out of unfamiliarity with camping/hiking and possibly fear of having no time for homework that weekend. I had only been at Olin for a week or two. This year was different. I had an amazing job this summer at a Boy Scout camp which sent me out on a backpacking trek for four days each week. As a result, I felt more than prepared (although you didn't have to have any experience at all!) to head up to New Hampshire, camp out for a night, and hike up Mt. Eisenhower the next day.
We rode up to New Hampshire in 3 vehicles, arriving at our campground at about 5:00. Our tents set up by the first Olin group (there were two trips, a Saturday-Sunday and a Sunday-Monday), we started hunting for firewood and building a fire which would cook our dinners of vegetables and chicken wrapped up in aluminum foil. While we hung out around the fire and made s'mores, the air chilled, the sun disappeared, and I felt happy so many freshmen had signed up for the trip--the ones with me only seemed nicer and funnier the more we talked. That night, the absence of moon or clouds revealed a dark night's canvas splattered with more stars than I ever see near Boston. It was such a beautiful scene that many of us decided to sleep outside just to stargaze.
The next morning, we woke up more or less with the sun (a pattern I had been used to over the summer), made oatmeal for breakfast, broke down camp, and jumped back in the cars for a short trip to the trailhead. As it turned out, everyone on our trip wanted to do the hike up Mt. Eisenhower, which had been described as more challenging than the Zealand hike. The trail: Edmands Path, 2.9 miles, to Eisenhower Loop trail, .4 miles to the peak. Elevation gain: ~3000 ft. That means it was steep. It was also a lot of fun, and I got this cool picture of me near where the path breaks the treeline:
Daring and adventurous, right? To be honest, it was extremely windy at the top, so much so that you could literally lean into it! I can see why the exposure warning was there. But the view was amazing--since we were above the treeline, it spanned a full 360 degrees (if only I could take awesome panoramic pictures):
Truly breathtaking. We ate sandwiches up there and took a lot of pictures before hiking back down. Just before the parking lot, many of us stopped at a small wooden footbridge over a cold mountain stream to relax and, in some cases, wade around in the water. I was exhausted and content when I got back to Olin. Then I had to do a Transport lab... but that's beside the point.
P.S. Here's your shout-out, John!