The (Not So) Great Outdoors

The (Not So) Great Outdoors

Adrienne Beatty

I never thought I’d go to a school like Colgate. After growing up amongst cows and cornfields, I was pretty dead-set on going to college in a big city. But alas, I am here, and so I decided to take full advantage of my surroundings and do everything that I’ll never be able to do after I embark on my post-collegiate life of urbanism. The “Wilderness Adventure thing” seemed like a good start.

“You’re not exactly outdoorsy,” my mother said on the eve of my excursion. I resented this statement. Perhaps my experience with actual hiking was minimal, but I went running outside almost everyday. It wasn’t my fault that I wasn’t outdoorsy – the opportunity had never presented itself! But now that it had, I decided that the best way to make up for lost time in the great outdoors was to sign up for the most hardcore trip Wilderness Adventure had to offer.

“Go big or go home,” I reasoned to my doubtful parents.

The first day involved a small hike with a consistent incline, and as we prepared for bed that night, I felt happy and confident that this trip was very manageable, based on that first hike. It was like doing the Stairmaster with 45 pounds on your back. And the food wasn’t bad, just a little dirty.

The next morning, on the day that we would ascend the highest peak of the journey, we woke up to rain. Little did I know that this would be the most miserable, painful day of my entire life.

No longer was our trek comparable to the Stairmaster. Now there were rocks, boulders even, up which we had to climb, and they never ended. If this was what it took to be outdoorsy, my quads couldn’t handle it.

At the summit, the rain became hail. It’s interesting, though, that when you’re suffering aerobically, sensations like wet and cold kind of take a backseat. No one was complaining, which I thought was cool. If these people, who truly were hardcore and experienced and knew what they were doing, were not complaining, then really who was I to complain? It was definitely mind over matter.

“I must stop, I am going to die,” I would say to myself, and then I’d say, “Well that’s not an option, because I’ll freeze to death on top of this mountain if I stop, and plus, I’ll ruin everyone else’s trip.” So essentially I had no choice.

The first day of misery was a precursor of things to come, like the 12-mile hike we took two days later. But it was the sort of thing that made you proud of yourself, as cheesy as that sounds, and I met an awesome group of people who I’m pretty sure I will be friends with forever. Hopefully we can someday do a reunion trip, only this time, it might be nice if we could stay in a hotel and take showers after sweating profusely every day.

After all, we’ve already done the outdoorsy sleeping outside thing, and as the Mark Twain quote in our Hiker’s Book of Quotes said, “I’m glad I did it, partly because it was worth it, but mostly because I shall never have to do it again”.