On Friday, Sept. 16, the University of Connecticut Outing Club took 116 people to Mount Washington in New Hampshire for a weekend hiking trip. This was the Outing Club’s biggest group yet, with every hiker taking the journey to the top of the tallest mountain in the Northeast. After camping and hot dog roasting on Friday night, the group set out on Saturday morning for their annual inaugural hike.
According to Outing Club vice president Conner Caridad, the club split into smaller groups in order to take separate paths, each with varying degrees of difficulty. Group leaders stayed in contact with each other via walkie-talkies, and every group made it to the summit in the end.
“Summiting Mount Washington in any way is a very cool feat, and everyone should be proud of themselves for what we accomplished this weekend,” said Caridad, a sixth-semester natural resources student.
Outing Club outreach chair Alana Ceppetelli emphasized how the club’s members can benefit from the strong community built during their excursions.
“You kill two birds with one stone,” said Ceppetelli, a sixth-semester human development and family sciences major. “You get to go outside and get active, and you also get to meet people and have a great time.”
Caridad noted that the biggest challenge with having such a large group is following the “Leave No Trace” principle, by which hikers must follow important outdoor ethics such as disposing of waste properly, leaving everything where it was found, and respecting wildlife.
“With more people hitting the trails seeking refuge in outdoor spaces, it is important, now more than ever, to emphasize the best practices for how we can minimize the toll we take on the environment and keep ourselves safe in outdoor spaces,” Caridad said.
Caridad also said that the Outing Club is “trying to be the biggest club with the smallest footprint,” and that “community, safety and sustainable use of outdoor spaces are some of the Outing Club’s foremost priorities.”
While each Outing Club excursion offers a unique experience, they all share a sense of enthusiasm and a welcoming community.
“We all have a great sense of accomplishment,” Ceppetelli said. “To get to do that together and connect together was great.”
The Outing Club encourages anyone who is interested in getting involved to attend its meetings, which are held at 9 p.m. Wednesdays in Room 154 of the Torrey Life Sciences Building. Attending a meeting is the easiest way to get on the list for an exciting trip, according to Ceppetelli.
“We love having people at the meetings,” said Ceppetelli. “That’s where we announce our trips, and people who are at the meetings get priority because they can sign up right then and there.”
The club has many upcoming events, including mountain biking and hiking through the beautiful fall colors of Acadia National Park. Member-led trips frequently spring up and will be discussed at club meetings as well.
“It’s great to see so many people be excited to be involved in the club,” said Ceppetelli. “We have something for everyone.”