Thursday, August 20, 2009

Greet the World, from the Hills, With a Hail!

It comes as no great surprise that one of most often discussed features of Dartmouth is its location. Just as the identity of some schools is inextricably linked to their urban location (especially if that location happens to be an iconic city such as Boston, New York, or D.C.), Dartmouth's identity has been forged by its location in a part of the country know for its, well, less urban qualities. This is poetically captured in the lyrics to Dartmouth's Alma Mater, which says of Dartmouth students and graduates:

They have the still North in their hearts,

The hill-winds in their veins,

And the granite of New Hampshire

In their muscles and their brains.

We live in an increasingly urban and suburban country and, to be sure, most Dartmouth students come from urban and suburban areas. So where do these students first encounter the still North, the hill-winds, and the granite of New Hampshire? One of the most cherished of all Dartmouth places is Mount Moosilauke, a small mountain (4,802 feet) where the Dartmouth Outing Club owns and operates the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge. Over 90% of entering Dartmouth students participate in the First-Year Trips program, all of which conclude with a night spent at Moosilauke learning Dartmouth traditions and playing in the beautiful setting.

The Moosilauke Ravine Lodge is open May-October, and many hikers, Dartmouth students, tourists, and local folks visit to either stay the night before hiking up the mountain, or just stop in for the famous family-style dinners prepared by Dartmouth students and recent graduates who work at the Lodge for the summer. Last night a group of admissions interns and officers traveled up to Moosilauke (1 hour drive from Hanover) for dinner. After a stressful day of work in the admissions office, the experience reminded me of the restorative powers of nature. After spending a few enjoyable hours in the mountains, I felt refreshed and ready for a new day. I know that for many Dartmouth students a brief trip to Moosilauke is a great escape valve from the stresses of academic life. Plus, the food was wonderful. Here is a picture of the mountain taken just before dinner:

How do you feel about Dartmouth's rural setting? You should also visit our student blog to get more insight on life at Dartmouth.

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