Last weekend, I participated in the Rensselaer Outing Club’s annual Fall Lake George trip. Over 100 students spent three days, and two nights out on Turtle Island in the middle of Lake George.
Once we arrived at the docks, we either launched immediately (if canoeing) or waited for one of the two powerboats to come and get us. The lake was so placid that first day that the trip across the water was swift and exhilarating.
Once we got off the boats and onto the island, we broke off into groups and trekked around in search of a good campsite. Turtle Island was well prepared with wooden platforms, fire pits, and outhouses at each site. Most people brought their own tents while others asked for spaces in tents.
Soon, the fires licked the grills, and the hamburgers, hot dogs, and veggie burgers were served. One of the things that struck me was just how many people were actually on the island, and how much of a stranger I felt in the midst of them. I was sure I would recognize classmates and people I’d known from the dorms, but besides the club officers who I already knew, I felt like I could close my eyes, walk a few feet, and strike up a friendly conversation with someone entirely new. After dinner, we retired to our campsites.
Later, bonfires were started in the fire pits. I think it was one of the best experiences I had on that trip. They say that camping is a bonding experience, and I don’t think that I really believed it until then. We were able to stargaze, and collect wood—an amazing experience.
The next morning after a fine breakfast of eggs, bacon, bagels, and spread, we signed up for the activities. From hiking to parasailing, there was no shortage of good times to be had. The activites were rugged and tough, but everyone who went seemed to really enjoy them. Some people took a dip in the lake before dinner—steak, chicken, and corn.
A scavenger hunt under the cover of darkness with people hunting around the island with flashlights, and the island so dark as to make the light your only friend if you were off on your own capped off the evening activities. We went back and set another fire, and even saw fireworks off in the horizon!
The next morning, we made our way off the island, taking one last trip across the lake and home to RPI.
I’m not an outdoorsy person; this was entirely out of my comfort zone. But, being on that island, some part of me just disappeared. This is hands-down one of the best trips I’ve ever taken, and I think that Fall Lake George caters to everyone—whether you’re a hardcore hiker, or a camping tenderfoot—it’s a 10 out of 10 experience.