DOC gears up for Fall Weekend

by Drew Joseph | 10/5/07 3:04am

Support staff member makes grilled cheese sandwiches for '50' hikers in anticipation of the Darmouth Outing Club excursion this weekend.
by EMI ITO / The Dartmouth

It's Saturday afternoon and you're out for a brisk hike. A pleasant scenario, except that you started this hike more than 24 hours ago. Your feet hurt, your stomach growls after only being fed energy bars and you do not know what's real. Walking along the Appalachian Trail, the same trail you've been on for the past day, you finally round one last corner. You've made it to the Lodge and you can finally relax.

Such is the life of the few and the proud who complete what's known as "the 50," just one of the many events put on during the Dartmouth Outing Club's Fall Weekend.

The DOC puts on Fall Weekend every year in an effort to get more people involved with the club, as well as generally encourage students to spend time outdoors.

"Fall Weekend is a chance for the DOC to lead a lot of beginner-level trips," DOC President Phil Bracikowski '08 said. "It's a chance to give back to [the] campus because our trips our free."

This weekend's trips, some of which are already closed off due to their popularity, include climbing, biking, whitewater kayaking and hiking trip called "The Moose" in which students hike every trail on Mount Moosilauke, summiting the mountain three times.

Bracikowski said that even though it is only a 36-mile hike, some say it is harder than the 50, the DOC's infamous 53.6 hike from Robinson Hall to Moosilauke Lodge.

The 50 begins Friday and finishes at Moosilauke Lodge on Saturday. Interested students had to enter a lottery to participate as only 10 teams of three to four hikers are allowed to undertake the challenge.

"The 50 is a challenge both physically and mentally," said Catey Pease '09, who has previously completed the 50 and is the support station chief at Great Bear this year. "It's an opportunity to really test yourself."

According to Pease, most teams finish in 22 to 28 hours, but a group of Nordic skiers once did it in 14 hours. She added that teams often try to run as much of it as they can.

Along the way are five support stations at which hikers can refill water bottles and get medical help if needed by EMTs and Wilderness First Responders. Each station has its own theme, and this year's include Chariots of Fire, Disney princesses, The Wizard of Oz and 80's rock/spa.

Organizers are emphasizing that hikers stay hydrated in between the stations in order to make sure students will be able to safely complete the hike.

"We're really stressing hydration," Pease said. "They need to drink at least two Nalgenes between every station."

Besides being physically exhausting, walking for more than a day straight and through the night takes a psychological toll on hikers as well. Pease said that hikers in the past have reported hallucinating.

"I'm nervous about the physical aspect of the hike," Ellie Hunter '11, one of the hikers setting out today, said. "But I'm excited because it will be a cool accomplishment."

All the trips culminate on Saturday night at the heaven-themed Moosilauke Lodge with a buffet dinner featuring a live band. Bracikowski hopes to have at least 200 people in attendance.

The DOC also puts on winter and spring weekends, and there is another 50 during the summer for sophomores.

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