By: Josh Grelle '16
Its four 0’clock in the morning, I’m sprinting across campus, I have to outrun the people behind me! I’m running down the staircase four or five stairs at a time. I’m already regretting the ice-cream I ate after dinner. What am I doing? I’m trying to get a spot at TMC’s infamous newcomer’s weekend. TMC, Tufts Mountain Club every year hosts a weekend at the schools lodge in New Hampshire called the Loj. The point of the weekend is to introduce new members to the club (mostly freshmen) to Mountain Club, and the Loj. There are so many people that want to go to Newcomers weekend that the Mountain Club had to make the signups at 4:00 AM so not everyone would try to sign up.
Two weeks later we’re all packed getting into cars and heading out to the Loj, I was so pumped. It just seemed really nice to get off campus for a weekend and into the wilderness. After a two hour car ride we had finally arrived, I don’t do well with car rides so I was especially ecstatic to be there. The first night just mostly consisted of everyone hanging out, meeting each other, eating, and trying to find places to sleep. The Loj is fairly big but there were like a hundred people there so it was pretty cramped. Later that night all the Newcomers were brought outside and were told about the trips that would be going on the next day. There were hikes from 8 miles and one peak; to 17 miles and three peaks (did someone say overachievers). There was also one canoeing trip, which I was lucky enough to get on. Finally there was an apple picking trip. When I heard that I was like, is apple picking even a thing? Like is that something people do in their leisure time on the east coast? #NewEngland
The next day we all woke up, prepared food for our trips (PB&J, the perfect camping food), and headed out. My trip of eight Newcomers and two leaders drove about thirty minutes and arrived at a lake somewhere in the White Mountain range. We immediately put on our life jackets and set off. I had never been canoeing before and didn’t realize how much fun it would be. For the first couple of hours of canoeing we changed the lyrics to popular songs to be about canoeing and paddling. My favorite was “Canoes, we run the world, Canoes we run the world”, I think we would have made Beyoncé proud. Around lunch time we stopped on a beach at an island and had a nice picnic! Then we went swimming, the water was freezing as it had been about 50 degrees all morning with no sun. As soon as we got into the water though the sun came out in full force, miracles really do happen. :)
Upon returning to the Loj at about 5 we were all pooped so we decided to just lie on the lawn and relax for a little while. We didn’t relax for long as we were soon ushered inside. They sat us all down and told us a really cheesy story about how the Loj spirits had escaped and we were to go out into the woods and capture them. I of course being my sassy self, responded with a sigh and an eye roll. We were put into small groups and sent into the forest with a marker and piece of paper (to get signatures from the Loj spirits). My group and I headed out into the woods surrounding the Loj to begrudgingly get our signatures. After climbing up many a hill all of a sudden we see one of the Loj spirits (an upperclassmen) jump out of nowhere carrying like a club or something. He was literally running full speed up a mountain like we were supposed to follow him… so we did. Halfway up the mountain I fall into a mud pit, like who the heck falls into a mud pit, except for me. I was literally stuck, my shoes (which where white originally) came off in the pit and I had to like dig them out. Then I was like oh no this is way to hunger games for me to handle. It really was hunger gamey. Once you captured the spirits which wasn’t easy in the first place they like tried to fight back. Two girls ran into a swarm of bees, I later ran into a tree, I also heard that one girl got hit in the head with a baseball bat (accidently of course), but still it was rather intense. Everyone was a good sport about it though.
We all returned to the Loj at sundown, battered, bruised, and hungry. The upperclassmen thankfully had dinner prepared for us when we got back. After eating everyone kind of just hung out and had fun. The night ended with a really awesome dance party and we all went to bed at like 12 because we were exhausted. All in all I had an amazing time at the Newcomer’s Weekend; it’s very peaceful (as long as you aren’t chasing Loj spirits) and I can definitely see the Loj as a place that I will return to many times.