After classes on Friday, September 23, RPI students drove to Bolton’s Landing at Lake George for the beginning-of-the-year adventure which turned out to be better than anyone could have imagined. The weather was windy and the water choppy, giving the canoers a challenge in reaching their weekend paradise—Turtle Island. After disembarking, we each found a camping spot on the island and gathered for a warm dinner around a glowing campfire.
Saturday was filled with many activities, including canoe trips, hikes, rock climbing, and personal time to enjoy nature. I went on an arduous hike to Black Mountain Point which was a true test of my mental and physical stamina given the steep, unrelenting ascent to the top. But there was a sense of triumph reaching the peak with the great people who worked together as a team to help everyone complete the mission. The reward at the top was absolutely breathtaking; it afforded an almost 360 degree view above the treetops. Any struggle, ache, or pain from the hike was completely forgotten once we gazed on the beautiful scenery, awash with fall crimson, orange and yellow leaves overtaking the forest.
The lake appeared peacefully nestled in the forest as late afternoon approached. I rushed down the mountain, threw off my shoes, and jumped into the water. All thoughts of homework, tests, the career fair, and the upcoming academics were supplanted by our immersion in nature, and the blissful feeling that comes from shared memories with friends. We arrived back at the island and everyone made their campfires, which included sending out search parties for firewood.
After dinner on Saturday, there was a fun scavenger hunt, with groups running all around the island, all competing to finish first. Saturday night was a perfect Norman Rockwell painting, with stories around the campfire, and s’mores galore. No one wanted the evening to end, as it was so relaxing to escape our electronic world and enjoy each other’s company. Once we finally zipped up the tent for the cold night ahead, I reflected on the trip and thought about how I wished I had gone on this trip as a freshman.
On Sunday, we awoke to a bright, sunny morning and went for a quick swim, knowing we had to pack and canoe back to the mainland where our cars awaited. Those new to RPI often ask about classes—which to avoid and how to study—but they often do not ask what defined my college experience. I would say that the Fall Lake George weekend nurtured my spirit and prepared me for a great school year; I could not imagine my college experience without this trip. I am so grateful that I took this opportunity to make lasting new friendships. Fall Lake George is one of the best trips ever! If you missed it this year, please do not make the same mistake next year; make it happen. Thank you Rensselaer Outing Club and the Rensselaer Union!