Voices of Trips: Peety Kaur ’15

This post is a super special addition to our Voices of Trips series, written by our fabulous Trips Director, Peety Kaur ’15.

Trips is a little over a week away and I am overwhelmed with excitement and nerves. I’ve spent the last ten months planning transportation routes, booking campsites, designing new trips, and envisioning trippees stepping onto Robo lawn for the first time. As these visions materialize into reality, I am reminded of what inspired me to apply for the job of Trips Director in the first place. I’m so excited to watch ‘19s meet their trippees and leaders for the first time–wonderful moments filled with excitement, anxiety, and a wee bit of awkwardness. I can’t wait to see connections form between first-years, as they discover how incredibly unique and special their peers are. I’m looking forward to hearing stories of trippees who surprised themselves as they mountain biked, kayaked, and hiked like pros. Above all else, I’m so excited to watch first-years start to feel just a little more comfortable in the place they are about to spend four very unique and formative years of their lives.

Peety with her trippees and leaders fresh off their trip!
Peety with her trippees and leaders fresh off her trip!

As Trips approaches, I can’t help but reminisce on my own five-day excursion that happened four long years ago. Many parts of my trip are just blurry memories, but some moments will forever remain vivid in my mind. My first memory is the incredible amount of paralyzing awkwardness I felt as I approached Robinson Hall, watching people dance and socialize around me as I tried shrink into the tree I was standing against (luckily an upperclassman soon ran over to me, easing my anxiety as I stared in awe at her pink hair). I always laugh when I think about my trip scrambling around our campsite, throwing our stuff under a tarp, as rain unexpectedly poured out of the sky; and smile when I think about sleeping under that tarp huddled next to my smelly trippees, telling each other stories of our high school days. I cringe when I think about waking up at 1am, realizing burrito night had put an end to my strike against pooping in the woods. And I feel pride when I remember strapping on a harness for the first time and climbing up a rock wall that initially seemed insurmountable. Overall I definitely had a lot of fun on my trip, and looking back have realized that I gained quite a lot from those five days. I met my trip leader, who over the years became my role model at Dartmouth. I realized how much I love being up in the mountains, which inspired me to get involved with the DOC. And I learned that I can be put in a group of complete strangers and be okay. It’s true that I didn’t become best friends with my trippees or master the Salty Dog Rag, but when I think about Trips 2011, I can’t help but smile.

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Peety, second from the left, is from West Lebanon, NH!

Now, I don’t expect everyone’s experiences on Trips to be like mine. There’s no such thing as doing Trips right and no definition of a successful Trips experience. All I hope is that in four years when the ‘19s have graduated and are reminiscing about their first-year trips, they also have some memories they can share. And if I may be so bold, I hope that when those memories are shared, some of them bring smiles to their faces.

I can’t wait to meet you, trippees! Have a safe journey to Dartmouth, and I will see you soon!

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Sustainability on Trips: Katie Rowe ’16

Hello, dear trippees! My name is Katie and I am the Sustainability Coordinator for Trips this year. When it comes to being green at Dartmouth, I’m happy to help you find your way. I want to tell you a little more about sustainability on Trips and how you can be a part of it!

Here in Hanover, sustainability is a big deal. Trips is a giant program, and we send about 1300 people out into the woods over the course of two weeks—that has the potential to create a huge footprint. My job is to make sure that we leave the beautiful woods, rivers, and mountains of New Hampshire as pristine as they were before Trips. Here are some ways that we are doing that:

  • Food: The food that we eat on Trips is vegetarian. Livestock is responsible for around 18% of greenhouse gas emissions, so we save a lot of CO2 just by eating our veggies! We also source as much of our food as we can from local, organic growers. Food on the trail is cooked on Trangia stoves, which are very earth-friendly and burn a safe, non-toxic, renewable grain alcohol that does not pollute the air with harmful gases when used.
  • Food Waste: We compost and recycle as much waste as we can. Your trip leaders will show you how to sort your trash on the trail, a skill you will be using for the rest of your time at Dartmouth! We also are working hard with your trip leaders and support croos to produce as little food waste as possible by only ordering what we need, sharing between trips, and being mindful of our leftovers. Get ready to yum yum!
  • Transportation: Directorate spends a lot of time planning out bus routes to make sure that we do as little driving as possible. This year, thanks to the help of one of our awesome support croos, our director Peety was able to cut out an entire coach bus from our fleet. That means less gas, less exhaust, and more happiness.
  • Gear: We encourage you all to borrow gear first, not buy it. The Dartmouth Outing Club also generously allows us to loan out its equipment for Trips, and this year we added some more extra gear with a gear collection from our graduating seniors. Recycling gear, renting gear, and sharing keeps everyone from consuming more than we need to.
  • LNT: Trips follows the “Leave No Trace” philosophy. We make sure that all of you are prepared with the gear and knowledge you need to travel safely through the woods without leaving any evidence that you were ever there. Your trip leaders have been trained in LNT, and you will all partake in an activity to learn its principles when you get to Hanover. If you’d like more information now, you can check out this website: http://www.lnt.org/learn/7-principles.
  • Mindfulness: Sustainability is about much more than recycling. This year, we are working very hard to incorporate social sustainability into Trips, too. That means building lasting relationships, finding your sense of place, and creating a program that will allow people to thrive at Dartmouth for years to come. We have some special activities just for you in Hanover and at the Lodj that will help you figure out what sustains you and how you will bring that to Dartmouth.

One of our big goals as a Trips program is to help you get to know Hanover, the amazing place you are going to get to live in for the next four years. We love the Upper Valley, and we think it’s really important to take care of it. That’s why sustainability is key! In order to make all of this happen, we need your help. Be mindful of your footprint on Trips, ask questions about sustainability to your wonderful trip leaders and croolings, and think about the beautiful place that you are going to get to know. Get ready for an amazing trip!

Katie (bottom left) with the trip she led in 2013.
Katie (bottom left) with the trip she led in 2013.

Nervous? We were (part) 2!

Last week, several members of the 2015 Trips Directorate shared their answers to the question “What were you most nervous about before the start of your own First-Year Trip?” You can read their responses here. This week, we’re sharing responses from even more directorate members, because let’s be real, everyone had something (however big or small) that they were worried about before Trips started.

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“I remember being really nervous that all my trippees would be so much cooler than me and no one would think I was interesting.” -Leda Espinoza ’16, Croo Captain

“I was nervous that I wouldn’t become friends with my other trippees or have a solid friend group coming into Dartmouth. It’s definitely a big transition but everyone from the croolings, to my trip leaders, and other first years were all amazing and incredibly supportive of each other.” -Ian Speers ’17, Safety Master

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Despite living in this area my whole life, I had never been backpacking before. I was really nervous my pack would be too heavy for me and I would slow down the entire group. “ -Peety Kaur ’15, Trips Director

“I was most nervous about finding a group of friends and a support network at Dartmouth, especially not having known anyone at Dartmouth coming in.” -Dan Pham ’16, Croo Captain

“Even though I had gotten in to Dartmouth, I still kind of felt like I wasn’t good enough to be going, like I didn’t really deserve to be here, like I wouldn’t quite belong. I was really nervous I would get to Trips and feel like everyone else was smarter and more in shape and more qualified to be there. But once I did get to Trips I met a lot of people who made sure I knew that I did in fact deserve to be at Dartmouth, that I didn’t have to be more of anything or better at anything in order to belong here.” -Jamie Mercado ’15, Outreach Coordinator

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I thought I had it all together. I had gone to boarding school for two years and spent a decent amount of time solo traveling, I felt confident in my ability to take care of myself, both inside and outside of a wilderness context. I guess I was mainly worried about winter? And boys. I’m always worried about boys.” -Katie Yu ’16, Trip Leader Trainer

I had a lot of nerves and a lot of mixed emotions coming straight into Trips out of some difficult family events. Transitioning to an unknown new lifestyle was a major source of anxiety for me, so I was nervous about how the people on my Trip would respond if I started to have an anxiety attack during my Trip, and whether they would be able to support me. I actually found, though, that Trips served to relieve me completely of my anxiety. It was such a welcome and needed break from the whirlwind of starting college, a time when I could breathe and enjoy where I was and who I was with without having to think about everything that was stressing me out. I felt much more calm and confident about starting my Dartmouth life after my Trips experience.” -Josh Cetron ’16, Croo Captain

Nervous? Don’t worry – we’ve all been there

Even though we’re up here in Hanover getting ready for Trips 2015, we all started out in your shoes, as trippees awaiting our first days at Dartmouth. We asked the Trips Directorate: What were you most nervous about before the start of your own first-year trip?

“I was terrified that I wouldn’t be fit enough to complete the hike.” -Caroline Resor ’17, Outdoor Logistics Coordinator

“Before Trips, I was most nervous about finding a group of people that I actually fit into. I expected people to be friendly, but I really wanted to find that community that I knew would define my next four years. Needless to say, finding my “place” at Dartmouth wasn’t nearly this simple, and it led me much farther out of my comfort zone, which now that I’m looking back, I couldn’t be more grateful for.” -Anna Gabianelli ’16, Croo Captain

“I made my decision to come to Dartmouth on a gut feeling. A couple of weeks before Trips, I began to worry that I hadn’t really thought about the decision. I worried I had picked the wrong school.” -Katie Rowe ’16, Sustainability Coordinator

Trippees and trip leaders at the Lodge.
Trippees and trip leaders at the Lodge.

“When I was coming to college, I had just come out as gay back home. I wasn’t sure how I was going to broach the topic with people I was going to meet in college, especially on my freshmen Trip. I found that, in the end, it just came up naturally in conversation with people I had met. I didn’t need to announce to the world right when I stepped off the bus, or hide my identity for fear of people judging me or anything like that. I was just me.” -David Cook ’16, Croo Captain

“I was so nervous to meet so many new people, who I imagined would be so much smarter, more relaxed, and more interesting than me!” -Cedar Farwell ’17, Outdoor Logistics Coordinator

“I was SUPER nervous about not showering for 5 days. I hate when my face and hair get oily, and I was nervous I would feel gross the whole time. It wasn’t as bad as I had thought because everyone was dirty, but I did feel gross and took a shower immediately after we got back from the Lodge.” -Sam Parker ’15, Assistant Director

Keep an eye out next week for part 2 of this post!

A trip poses in front of Robinson Hall (Robo) with the DOC sign.
A trip poses in front of Robinson Hall (a.k.a. Robo) with the DOC sign.

Packing List (2015 edition)!

This post, from our Outdoor Logistics Coordinators, is a guide to packing for your DOC First-Year Trip! Enjoy!

Hey 19s!

We’re Cedar and Caroline, the 2015 outdoor logistics coordinators for Trips! We’re writing to make some very important points about packing for your First-Year Trip. You can also watch our packing video, posted here. The items you need to pack can be divided into a few categories.

Clothes:

Here we address some important items on the packing list that can be confusing. This is not a complete packing list. Cardinal rules: bring non-cotton clothes (no cotton T-shirts!), and remember that less is more. When it comes to socks, go for polyester or wool, which will help you avoid blisters. Do not wear cotton socks. You need a raincoat or a poncho. You need a warm layer. Do not bring a cotton hoodie. It should be a substantial wool, fleece, synthetic, or down layer.
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You’re asked to bring 2 pairs of hiking shorts/pants. Athletic shorts are fine if you want to wear shorts. Here is an example of hiking pants (don’t bring blue jeans or cotton sweatpants).

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You’re asked to bring a long-sleeved shirt/tight warm layer. This should be wool or synthetic.

You’ll need a wool or fleece hat:

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And gloves or mittens:

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Backpack:

The packing list for your specific trip will indicate what kind of bag or backpack you need. You’ll either bring a frame pack or a duffel bag and a daypack/small backpack, depending on your trip. If you need to have a frame pack, read on…

There are two major types of frame packs: external (cheaper, heavier) and internal (lighter, more expensive, better functioning). You can bring either.

Internal Frame:

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External frame:

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In terms of finding a pack that’s the right size, you have two things to consider. The first is volume/storage capacity. This is measured in liters. The absolute minimum size any pack should be for Trips is 50 liters. Aim for a pack that is in the 65 to 75+ liter range. The second thing to consider is that you want a pack that fits you comfortably. Fitting a pack can be difficult, so make sure you try yours on. Your pack will probably be size “small,” “medium,” or “large.” It will likely correspond to your shirt size.

You can buy a cheap rain cover for your pack or bring a large garbage bag, which will work just as well.

Let’s talk about pack cost. Packs under $100 can come from your local army surplus store, eBay, Amazon, or Overstock.com. One example of a good external frame pack that usually runs for well under $100 used is the Large US Army ALICE.

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The ALICE, ready for a trek through Wonderland.

Last but not least, if you are absolutely unable to get your hands on an appropriate pack, DOC Trips has a limited number of packs (and other equipment) that you can rent. If you would like to request a pack, please do so using this form no later than August 1st. Rental priority is given to those students receiving financial assistance, and all rental equipment will be distributed upon trippees’ arrival in Hanover. More expensive frame packs are out there, and you are welcome to purchase one although a fancy pack is NOT NECESSARY. Here are some links to pages with more information on choosing a frame pack:

http://www.geekprepper.org/backpacking-sizes-cubic-inches-vs-liters/

http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/backpack.html

http://www.backpacker.com/backpack-buying-guide/gear/15061

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRimQjSgN7c

Footwear:

Depending on your trip, you’ll either have to bring hiking boots, sneakers, or water shoes.  Most packing lists also encourage a pair of “camp” shoes, which can be anything ranging from flip flops to Tevas/Crocs to sneakers.

If you’re on any trip that involves hiking, you will need hiking boots. Continue reading here. The most important things about your hiking boots (if your trip requires them) are that they fit you, they are broken in, and they provide sturdy support to your feet and ankles.  If your packing list says “hiking shoes/boots,” you need something sturdier than sneakers that also covers your ankles.  It doesn’t matter if they are waterproof or not.

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You should have room to wiggle your toes in the front and the sides of your feet should feel snug but not compressed. Try walking around a little – your heel should not slip as you walk, nor should your toes jam against the front of the shoe.  Poorly fitting shoes translate to painful blisters on the trail.

Whatever kind of footwear you end up wearing, make sure you BREAK THEM IN before heading to Hanover for Trips.

A couple of links with more information on choosing hiking footwear:

http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/hiking-boots.html

http://www.backpacker.com/backpacking_101_gear_boots/gear/12148

Sleeping:

You need a sleeping bag (with a stuff sack) and a sleeping pad.  If you don’t have either and can’t borrow, DOC First-Year Trips can lend you these items.  Please refer to our website for more information about borrowing equipment from DOC First-Year Trips. Your sleeping bag must be synthetic or down (not cotton or flannel).

Pack it in a stuff sack lined with a plastic bag.  As for a sleeping pad, you have two choices: foam (cheap, durable) or inflatable (luxurious, expensive, fragile). Example inflatable pad (left) and foam pad (right):

   

Small essentials:

Toiletries: toothbrush, small toothpaste (you don’t need more than this! No razors, makeup, hairdryers, etc).

You need a flashlight or headlamp with extra batteries:

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Plastic bowl and utensils (you can reuse Tupperware or a disposable plastic container with a lid rather than buying a fancy setup). For utensils a spork is awesome, but a fork and spoon from home work fine. Bowl options:

     

2 plastic water bottles (at least one liter each, not a small disposable water bottle):

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Thanks for reading! As always, if you have any questions, please contact us at doc.trips@dartmouth.edu!

Love,

Your Outdoor Logistics Coordinators

The DOC Trips Video Packing List!

Howdy everyone!

This update is brought to you by our lovely Outdoor Logistics Coordinators, Caroline Resor ’17 and Cedar Farwell ’17. They made this awesome video packing list just for you all – check it out! Hopefully this answers all of your Trips-packing-related questions, and if not, look out for a full-blown packing list post coming from them soon.