Trips We Wish Existed
Wilderness Pong I
For the true beginner, this version of pong – played on wide, fresh-hewn oaken tables in the Second College Grant – teaches only the basics of Dartmouth’s distinctive version of pong. It’s not for experts, and trip leaders need to go easy on the poor freshmen, but ultimately these students will come back to the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge with a firm grasp of the essentials of pong. That said, they’ll be just as mercilessly mocked as the students who took Hiking I.
Wilderness Pong II
This is a real conundrum — it’s a massive level up from Wilderness Pong I, but still not hard enough for students who take Wilderness Pong III. Trippees will scale a medium-sized mountain, saw down trees, erect a pong table of exactingly applied dimensions and proceed to play the sport of (drunk) kings as the wind rustles their faces upon the hillside.
Wilderness Pong III
For the true expert in Wilderness Pong, this trip section – offered only rarely, as few freshmen are qualified – involves a strenuous hike up Mount Washington in the dead of night, followed by the sawing down of numerous trees, the construction of an exact replica of a Dartmouth fraternity or sorority — a different house each year — and the casting in gold of the One Pong Table to rule them all. After engaging in a full week of strenuous, back-breaking pong, the freshmen of Wilderness Pong III and their trip leaders will descend from the peak of Mount Washington and hike all the way to the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge, where they will proceed to play pong across the backs of other freshmen while onlookers dance the Salty Dog Rag.
While this trip is actually held in Spaulding Auditorium and involves absolutely no wilderness component, it is a valuable skill that will help to train the future supporting members of Dartmouth’s a cappella groups – and also the really irritating people at dorm parties.
In this trip, first-year students design, build and decorate a set of outdated cars in accordance with a Dartmouth-specific theme. Next, they will outfit them with ridiculously high-powered speakers and drive around northern New England playing music, film soundtracks and political commentary at high volume.
Surprise, Involuntary Luge
This trip is identical to Hiking II in all ways but one. You get together with your trippees, hike up a mountain and endure carrying massive frame packs. Heck, these first-years even sign up for Hiking II! Here’s the catch: once they reach the top of each mountain, their trip leaders will hurl them onto well-concealed sleds for a quick descent down the mountain. It’ll be surprising and involuntary, but isn’t that what luge is all about? Isn’t luge truly America’s sport? I don’t know anyone who would claim otherwise. Yes, some first-years may be killed hurtling into trees, rocks or carnivorous animals, but the spirit of Dartmouth will be best expressed — in its truest form — by forcible, incredibly surprising bouts of luge.
Who doesn’t want to scoot all the way down Interstate 89 on rollerblades decked out in flair with some of the coolest freshmen surrounding them? This trip is a must, and frankly, the fact that the Dartmouth Outing Club does not currently offer it is offensive to me and the Dartmouth community as a whole. If the College cannot even offer a First-Year Trip in rollerblading, are we not an indictment of the entire system of post-secondary education in America?
Controversial Political Opinions: Wilderness Edition
Quite simply, college is a place to express unconventional political views. On this trip, you’ll learn to hike while shouting things like, “boy, that Genghis Khan sure had some good ideas” and “I’m still on the Herman Cain train.” There’s no better way to prepare oneself for joining most campus organizations than learning good and early how to holler unpopular views at the top of your lungs, so get on it, ’20s!
Edmund Fitzgerald Reenactment
The tale of the sinking of the “Edmund Fitzgerald” is well-known. The great ship’s sad fate, lying in the frigid waters of Lake Superior for all eternity, is well-documented. Who doesn’t want to relive the fun, exciting final voyage by building their own exact replica of the Edmund Fitzgerald, waiting to go on their trip until mid-November to reenact the perfect weather conditions, and then sinking the ship and drowning off Ontario’s littoral? Bring it on, DOC!