Sun, Snow, Hot, Cold: How to Get Outdoors Without Leaving Campus
From 90-degree heatwaves in the fall and spring to the deep freezes of the winter, Canton’s seasons are unique to say the least. While these extremes scare some, this broad range of weather provides the ever adventurous and optimistic St. Lawrence student with a variety of activities out in the elements.
While the heat and snow each provide their own unique opportunities, the best places for year-round fun are the trails on campus. While there are several others, the most popular are the Kip and Saddlemire trails, combining to form a short but exciting four-mile loop. Without leaving campus, you are able go through quiet woods, with the Kip trail winding across boardwalks along the Little River and its flood plain. The Saddlemire then passes through meadows, teaming with sunflowers and tracing the other side of the river. Later on, it passes the Elsa Gunnison Appleton Riding Hall, where you can occasionally witness some of the horses getting some fresh air. The final half mile of the path is a straightaway through the beautiful avenue of the elms, with the Hulett and Jencks Suites waiting at the end to welcome you back to campus.
In the warmer months, walking, running, or mountain biking are all equally popular, with the trails displaying a variety of flora and fauna coming back to life in the spring. The mid-autumn is highlighted by the colors of foliage, and it is always a pleasant change of pace to stop at the Canoe Shack near the start of the Kip trail and take a paddle down the Little River. While it is by no means a secret, an underrated gem of campus is to float down the river to its intersection with the larger Grasse River. From there, a quick paddle south gives you riverside access to Sandbanks, a beautiful clearing by the river where you can thrill yourself on the rope swing, then dry out by a smoldering campfire. For the more adventurous, turning north from the intersection brings you to the Miner Street rapids, a relatively small Class 2-3 section of whitewater that is best in the spring, but should only be attempted if you have the proper paddling experience and equipment.
Once campus is covered in snow and the rivers freeze over, SLU students don’t retreat, they adapt. The trail network is a great place to snowshoe or fat-bike, with the frozen flood plains adding a nice change to the scenery. Cross-country skiing is another option, with classic trails groomed on the golf course and skating available on the practice fields by the Athletic Center. While the trails are a great option, it can be just as fun to simply go across campus itself, either playing in the fresh powder or soaring across crust if it gets thick enough. For the thrill seeker, there are rails to hit by the Outing Club house, and a fun sledding hill near the soccer field. Finally, another great option is to go for a skate on the intramural fields, where facilities generously floods the area of a small rink. It is equally fun to play pick up hockey with friends or to simply soak up the winter sunlight, which is surprisingly prevalent in Canton, NY.
While there are many spectacular places within an hour or two of SLU, campus itself has just as easy access to fresh air. At SLU, you can huck a backflip off the rope swing, raising your pace for the final mile on a jog through the forest, or just bask in the sun on the quad, dozing off in the cool North Country air while you day dream of your next adventure.