*Updated with photos. Click to view them full size.*
This weekend was the Intercollegiate Outing Club Association fall trip to Lake George, sponsored by the Rensselaer Outing Club. I tagged along with a few Brandeis alums and the main Brandeis student contingent and had a great time. I was pretty wary of outdoor camping in the wilderness, as I have a decided dislike of heat, humidity, and unsanitary conditions, but in the spirit of trying new things I went anyway, and it was well worth it.
We met up with the main group at Brandeis and then detoured to Mat’s house to load up the boats we would need to cross the river. After some time loading and reloading until we could fit everything into the trailer, we were off, and four hours later arrived at Lake George. Unfortunately we arrived to choppy waters, and were prohibited from rowing across. And so the boats, freshly unloaded, were packed back up, and we and our gear made the trip on RPI’s two power boats.
It was on arrival that I discovered a major difference between the Brandeis Mountain Club philosophy and that of other schools’ outing clubs — while Brandeis generally has a fairly strict anti-substance policy, some of the other groups brought drinks. One group had a keg in their tent! Rowdy, drunk undergrads on an isolated island far from medical care, full of slippery rocks and surrounded by choppy water is not my idea of safe circumstances, but to each their own stupidity I guess. We were unfortunate enough to arrive so late that the only camp site we could find was right next to a contingent of loud, drunk Cornellians, but by the time we had our tent setup (and a hammock slung between trees for Mat) they had quieted down.
The night was nice and cool, and the skies were kind enough to avoid sending their rains until we had finished setting up and were nicely snuggled into our sleeping bags. I slept well on the hard ground, and woke up to find that it was still raining, but not too badly.
After an…uh…interesting breakfast courtesy of Mat’s “exceptional” culinary “skills,” we took off for the mainland for a hike which I found pretty tiring — clearly I need to get going with a new toy or something to build my endurance back up. We canoed back, a few of us jumped in for a swim in the brisk water, and then some moving and resetting of campsites before dinner and the contra dance.
We had finished and just sat down for a game of poker when the RPI leaders arrived with the very disappointing news that an approaching weather pattern included the possibility of hurricane-force winds and that for safety reasons we would need to leave after the contra dance or stay on the island until Monday. The latter being a non-started (for a variety of reasons, including lack of supplies), we broke camp and sent back several people to the mainland with our boats (which we had brought over in the morning). Then to dinner and dancing (the latter of which I only watched) and finally to the docks to make the trip back via power boats, for which we waited quite a while.
Eventually we all made it back with all of our supplies and met up with the people who had left earlier (and not been allowed to return, thus missing the dance!), packed up the cars, and hit the rode as the clock struck midnight. Reverse all we did at the beginning (plus a short detour when we…err…ran out of gas), and Igor and I made it home sometime after 6am, greeted by a bright and shining sun. And then to sleep.
Okay, it could have gone better. But this is what happens when you deal with the great outdoors, and I, for one, had a heck of a good time.
No pictures, sadly, as I didn’t want to lug around my SLR on my first real camping since Indian Guides. When other people post ’em I might link to ’em.
_Photos by Ernest Paulin_