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The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Outing Club Fall Break


Macalester is wonderful, but sometimes you just need to get away. And, in my mind, there is nowhere else better to run away to than the woods. The Macalester Outing Club’s trips are the perfect opportunity to get away, make new friends, commune with nature, get some exercise, learn new skills in outdoor living, and have some time to think for yourself–about things other than those your teachers tell you to think about. Last semester, my friend Sophia Kast and I led an Outing Club trip to Smoky Mountain National Park in Tennessee/North Carolina. It was a wonderful trip full of friends, enjoyment, and physical and (forgive the clich) emotional challenges. Living in a group, if even for a couple days, can teach you so much about yourself and the people around you.

And because of the success of our Spring break trip, Sophia and I led another trip, this time during Fall break to Gooseberry State Park and Split Rock State Park on the north shore of Lake Superior. We drove up there, about 20 miles north of Duluth, MN, on Thursday morning and did some day hiking around Gooseberry. Our group of eight (four sophomores and four first-years) walked around and in five different waterfalls in the course of two to three hours. Full of childish curiosity and the desire to explore and climb around on the beautiful natural wonders of waterfalls, caves, and big rocks (one thing Sophia and I are both big fans of) we traversed bridges, waterfalls, natural arches, and tons of vesicular basalt.

As the sun came down on our first day in the woods, we walked along Agate Beach, joking about the beavers we had just watched, digging through rocks and agates, climbing on big rocks, and watching the fluorescent pink and purple clouds over the seeming sea of Lake Superior. At night, after eating quesadillas and tortillas full of chocolate, we lay down on the cliffs overlooking superior watching more stars than I’ve seen in quite awhile. Cuddling in our sleeping bags, we slept like babies till about ten o’clock in the morning.

After a slow start the next day, we didn’t begin hiking until the afternoon, but still enjoyed about eight miles of hiking on the Superior National Hiking Trail. We walked through forests of breathtakingly white birch trees, over streams and rocks, sometimes walking on ridges overlooking miles of forest and possibly the best views of Lake Superior one could possibly see.

Climbing up rocky hills at night, hearing the nearby fast rushing of water and seeing the white glow of waterfalls through the trees in the utter darkness was, I’ll admit, a little scary, but wonderful nonetheless. It made hiking the same trail in the morning all the more exciting as we hadn’t seen the gorge we had been hiking next to at all during the night.

The next day was rewarding: hiking the same 8 miles back to the front country campsite in Gooseberry, washing our faces, brushing our teeth, and generally frightening the clean and nice-smelling visitors to the park that seemed pretty overwhelmed by our group of smelly, lost children. That night we enjoyed a huge fire, almost unhealthy amounts of chocolate, jokes of having to relieve ourselves, and, of course, campfire stories about strange men in the woods. The weather was amazing, the group was fun, and the trip was a fabulous time.

The Outing Club meets at 10 PM on Thursday nights in the campus center, room 206. To find out more information about upcoming trips and skills seminars, email [email protected].

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    Eric RamplingSep 7, 2019 at 12:08 pm

    Hello there! This article couldn’t be written any better! Looking through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept talking about this. I most certainly will send this article to him. Fairly certain he’s going to have a good read. Thank you for sharing!