Outdoor Leadership Program

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Your Average Day on an AA Combo Trip

6:30 Wake up to the sun shining on the water outside your lean-to. You paddled for maybe the longest you ever had yesterday, so your shoulders and arms are a bit tired and sore. You wiggle around in your sleeping bag, bumping into your new trip-mates and realize you’re starving and have to pee.

7:00 The rest of your trip is starting to wake up too and your leaders hassle you and a few others into helping them retrieve the bear bags you hung last night that hold all your food, toothpaste, and other smelly things that might have attracted chipmunks during the night.

8:00 Breakfast is FINALLY ready. By this time you could probably eat a horse. You dump two packets of instant oatmeal (the maple and brown sugar kind because it’s the best) into your bowl and load it up with Nutella and peanut butter. Then you grab an apple and slather some more Nutella on that too.

9:00 Time to pack up your sleeping bags and roll away your sleeping pad into your drybag. You load up the canoes, decide who your paddling partner is going to be for the day, and head out onto the water. You ask your leaders more about Hamilton and what it's like to be a student there and find out more about your trip-mates and what they’re excited for and nervous about as you all start your first year at Hamilton.

10:00 You’ve finally worked out those knots in your muscles that set in after your paddle yesterday and are starting to get into a good rhythm with your canoeing partner. You and your group are playing Contact, a crazy competitive word game that makes the time fly by.

10:30 Your leaders find a good resting spot on a beach beside the lake. You pull out your GORP and water, and start snacking and hydrating. On the beach, you play a quick game of Rock Paper Scissors Baseball and then get back in the canoes and continue paddling.

11:30 You get to your next campsite where you drop your paddle and grab your daypack for a hike up a small nearby mountain. You gather some lunch supplies, your water, and whistle then start up the trail.

12:00 The trail is beautiful and everything is green and mossy underneath the cover of huge leafy trees. You get to an open, grassy spot on the side of the trail and pull out your lunch of bagels, pita pockets, peanut butter, Nutella, meat stick, and, of course, cheese. You and your trip-mates, following the long-standing AA tradition, make sandwiches with everything on them and are amazed when it actually tastes delicious.

1:30 After a few more water breaks you make it to the summit! The view is unbelievable; you can see where you’ve been paddling for the past day and a half and where you’ll continue on tomorrow. There’s just enough of a breeze at the top that you can cool off. You and your group take tons of pictures doing all kinds of ridiculous poses before turning around and heading back down.

3:00 You make it back down to your campsite where you’ve left your canoes and take a well-deserved swim. The water is still cold even in late August so you alternate between swimming and lying in the sun on the huge rocks that border the lake.

4:30 Everyone’s starting to get hungry again, so your group begins cutting up peppers and onions to get ready for a Mexican feast. The stoves are lit to cook some rice and to sauté some veggies and soon the campsite smells delicious. There isn’t a lean-to tonight, so you and a few others start setting up a few tents and laying out your sleeping pads and bags.

5:30 Dinner is ready! You load up your tortilla with rice, refried beans, TVP, peppers, onions, cheese, and salsa.

6:30 Entering a food coma. You clean up dinner and start packing the food into one bag to be hung up in a tree later. Everyone brushes their teeth and puts any toiletries away into the bag as well, and as a group, you work to find a good branch to hang it on.

7:00 The sun is just beginning to set, so you and your group head back out on the rocks by the lake to watch the water as the sun turns it pink and orange. A loon begins calling out and, though at first the call seems a bit eerie, it soon becomes a calming sound as you realize how tired you are. Your group stays out on the rocks for a while in silence, just watching as the colors in the sky and on the water fade.

8:00 The sun’s light is almost completely gone, so you lie back on the rocks and start picking out constellations with your group. Soon, no one knows any real ones anymore so you start making up your own.

9:00 By this time, you’re exhausted. You curl up in your sleeping bag next to your new friends and quickly fall asleep.