What Can We Squeeze Into Four Days? | St. Lawrence University

What Can We Squeeze Into Four Days?

AJ Pratt
2020

For most, a four-day weekend would mean catching up on sleep, possibly a few chores, and relaxation. St. Lawrence students see a four-day weekend a little differently, like 12 hours deep into Northern Quebec, scaling New Hampshire rock faces, and pushing the limits of two wheels different.

In mid-October, St. Lawrence students go on “Mid-Semester Break”, an extended weekend where classes do not occur on Thursday and Friday. Many students see this as an opportunity to go on an outdoor adventure they could not normally fit into a regular weekend. My past three fall mid-semester breaks, I have gone on what we call a “bikecation” (bike-vacation), where we squeeze as much pedaling into four days as our quads can handle. Traditionally, the trip takes place on the outskirts of Quebec City, home to world-renowned mountain biking trail systems such as La Vallée du Brod, Les Sentiers du Moulin, and Mont Sainte-Anne.  Additionally, we were able to explore beautiful Quebec City and attempt our best French at local restaurants. The trails surrounding Quebec are works of art, featuring waterfalls, massive hanging bridges, and beautiful dirt jumps carved into the landscape. At times, we have gotten in over our heads but everyone on the trip is always eager to test their limits on a mountain bike.

SLU has given me the opportunity to explore the world on several trips but the comradery felt on these short bike trips has made them the most memorable of any of my St. Lawrence experiences. It truly says something about our community that just two days of school off inspires so many students to explore the surrounding beauty, culture, and adventures all around the Northeast.

In addition to bikecation, several of my peers traveled into Algonquin Provincial Park to canoe the gorgeous lake systems, and others challenged the granite rock faces of New Hampshire on a rock climbing trip. There is another Mid-Semester Break in February where students travel a weather depending 12 hours to the Chic-Choc mountain range for three days of backcountry skiing. My first year we received a meter of snow; I will let the picture do the talking. 

The St. Lawrence Outdoor Program and Outing Club give anyone and everyone the opportunity to explore nature in countless ways. Every trip I have embarked on has built relationships with new and old friends in ways that no other experience can.  A key part of the St. Lawrence community is students pushing each other to be their best selves; rallying a group of friends to drive a little farther than we may like to see and do life-changing things in just four days encompasses everything great about the St. Lawrence community.