Into the Wild(ish)
With the Adirondack State Park being a mere 18 miles from campus, it’s no wonder that so many St. Lawrence students get a kick out of venturing to the park and frolicking in the woods. While the most intrepid students trek out to hike the Adirondack 46 during the winter, most settle for the beginning and end of the school year, when the sun shines and the weather is a bit warmer.
It’s over the summer, however, that the peaks are at their, well, peak. Though the cohort of students is limited to those working on campus or doing research over the summer, many still take the time to answer the call of the wild. Whether it’s their first peak or their 46th, students haul off to the park to take on the highest mountains in New York State.
For some, taking on all of the peaks is a goal, a challenge that they meet head on. Some determine to summit all 46 before they graduate, entering into the elite class of “New York State 46ers.” Others take on their first with trepidation, reveling in the experience and the sense of accomplishment they feel upon reaching the top. For those like me, hiking is meditative, a chance to clear the mind, breathe in fresh mountain air, listen to the sounds of the wildlife - and satisfy my chipmunk obsession!
I recently spent a weekend exploring the areas around Tupper and Cranberry Lakes in the park. While I was there, I took it upon myself to hike a few small mountains. No high peaks, mind you, but just a few miles of mud and trees and chipmunks. I spent a beautiful day among my own thoughts, focused not on my immediate future or the drive home, but my surroundings, and the beautiful view awaiting me at the top. So often, we worry too much about what’s right in front of us, and – for lack of a better expression – don’t see the forest for the trees. It’s easy to forget about what makes us happy amid the flurry of school and work, deadlines and assignments.
This summer, I’ve made it a goal to hike my first high peak. Not to try and chase down the other 45 before the summer is out, or to turn myself into a master hiker. Instead, I want to hike one of the highest mountains in New York State in recognition of the journey that I’ve had here, that SLU has taken me on. To relish in an accomplishment. To remind myself that life isn’t always about being fast paced, but taking the time to appreciate where you’ve come from and where you’re going. And to look out from the top of the world and see all the places that I have yet to go.