With the start of a new semester, you may be wondering what new activities you should get involved with? Well stop your tossing and turning because lucky for you MiddBeat is scoping out some of Middlebury’s finest to guide you to a successful semester. This week we sat down with Joe Lovelace ’17 and Anahí Naranjo ’17, the Co-President and the Outreach Coordinator of the Mountain Clu, to find out what the MMC has been up to.
middbeat: so what is the Mountain Club?
JL: The Mountain Club is the outdoors club at Middlebury so we lead trips of all sorts: canoeing, day hikes, backpacking, bird watching, snow shoeing, cross country skiing, basically anything and everything outside. We also have weekly meetings and plan social events like Firesides where we get together in Brooker (the outdoor interest house), hangout, and eat a home cooked meal.
What do you have going on right now?
JL: Over Winter Carnival weekend we had a really successful event called Northern Lights which is an exciting exhibition of the mountainess spirit trapped inside everyone during J-Term unleashed in the form of human dog sled races, snow shoe relays, and ice dancing. We also had tons of excellent food and hot chocolate. There was a really big turnout and it seemed like everyone had an awesome time. A lot of our guides spent J-Term preparing for FOO which unfortunately was canceled due to the weather but we have been taking out multiple winter trips and increasing our volume of certified winter guides. We’ve also been doing a lot of trail maintenance to beef up the cabins and trails aspect of MMC in order to prepare for the new lodge that is coming near Breadloaf (Burgin Lodge). We’ve also been working on the Catamont Trail system to build better relationships with the people who perform most of the trail maintenance in our area. But the big trips coming up are for spring break where we will be sending people as far north as Canada and as far west as Moab in Utah.
What should prospective members of the Middlebury community know about Mountain Club?
JL: Well incase people didn’t know, we have gear hours from 4:30-7 on Tuesday and Thursday in the FIC where you can check out everything from sleeping bags, tents, and headlamps to snow shoes and cross-country skis. There are TONS of free camping and other sorts of trips going out this spring that are open to anyone interested-no experience necessary. We really want to get people camping and hiking who have never done it before because we literally have tens of thousands of dollars worth of gear and live in such an accessible and beautiful place that everyone should enjoy. We also have naked calendars for sale now for only $10 a piece, they are a great way to see your favorite mountain folk baring it all (pun intended)- plus it includes all the faces of the moon! Check out Mr. February You can also feel free to send your tastefully nude photos to the Mountain Club email to be featured next year.
What kind of outreach are you doing this year?
AN: We’ve been trying to go beyond the club’s previous outreach efforts because before we were focusing on outreach outside of the college like at local schools and getting kids to enjoy the outdoors, but now we are reaching more inward. There is honestly a lack of diversity within our club and campus, historically MMC has not had strong representation of people of color and we’re currently working to address this issue. We’re trying to reach more students within the school who haven’t had a lot or any exposure to the outdoors so we have been collaborating with other orgs on campus.
What collaborations are happening?
AN: We are currently planning a retreat/discussion fireside with UMOJA (the African Student Organization) and we are trying to create beginner only trips where we will have a sign-up exclusively for people who have never gone on a trip before because maybe they have been intimidated by the experience of other participants. We are also going to plan something with SNG (Sunday Night Group) but that is still in the works. If any clubs, groups, or individuals are interested in having the MMC facilitate an outdoor retreat or would like to collaborate with the club, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected]
If, after reading this, you feel inspired to conquer the great outdoors or hang out with a group of really fun bearded folk, the MMC meets on Wednesday at 6pm in Coltrane. If you would like to be on the emailing list to learn about all of the fun trips going out, email [email protected].