Monday, September 19, 2011

It's a wild world

After spending Saturday night in a tent, I can say with good authority that fall is on its way. This weekend I went on an overnight hike with the wonderful wilderness program here at SMC. The offer programs to go on day hikes, rock climbing, sea kayaking and other great activities. During our hike we followed two different trails making a loop that brought us to the summit of Belvidere Mountain. Look at this view:

I had hiked this mountain this summer with my friend and wilderness instructor, Susan, but I wanted the chance to do an overnight before the season is over. Here Susan and I are when we hiked Belvidere in May:

This time I had a much heavier pack on my back, muddier trails because of Irene, and a few great people that I hadn't met before the hike. Our group consisted of six people--two instructors and four participants. For just a few dollars we were provided with the gear we needed but may not have had (sleeping pad, down jacket etc.), three delicious meals (pita pizzas, pancakes and oreos galore) and a great way to take advantage of all that Vermont has to offer.

Part of my group surveying the scene when we reached the peak:

I can't think of a better way to spend a beautiful weekend. Can't you tell we were so excited?

After reading this get outside and enjoy the sun!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Come on Irene

I hope that everyone's school year is off to a wonderful start! Last year this time I was settling into my life in Peru and now I am getting accustomed to calling myself a senior. This means living in a townhouse, no longer eating three meals a day in Alliot, and enjoying everything St. Mike's has to offer. Four of my friends and I are living in a fantastic townhouse on campus and I must admit we are all enjoying ourselves very much.

I love the beginning of the school year. Brand new notebooks, brightly colored pens and the promise of fall make me so happy. This semester I am only taking 12 credits (my two senior seminars and a politics class) because I have started interning in Senator Bernie Sander's office in downtown Burlington. I take the CCTA bus there and back three days a week. With your St. Mike's ID the bus is free and the often chaotic parking situation is not an issue.

Anyways, I work 13 hours a week at the office where I read through Vermont newspapers, file papers and learn what government in action really looks like. I think people forget that government is more than just Washington politics and CNN coverage, it is about trying to help as many people as possible with the resources available.

As you all probably know, Tropical storm Irene has sent Vermont into a state of disaster. Besides heavy rain the Burlington area was largely spared. However, most of Vermont was hit hard and there are people all over the state in need of food, shelter and other necessities. The senator's office has been hectic since I've started working and I was even sent to volunteer answering phones for FEMA one day. FEMA is the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and they coordinate widespread disaster relief. I was surprised to learn that they run out of two Winnebagos near the Burlington waterfront. Just another example of government functioning outside of the capitol.

Through my readings of VT newspapers I have become aware of people helping each other out all over the state. Women making solidarity T-shirts, Shaw's made a grocery store out of a tent, Phish is hosting a benefit concert and high schools all over are raising money to help those in need. The generosity of the human spirit can be truly impressive.

I have to get ready to go to class, but I just wanted to relay some of what has been happening here in Colchester, VT at the beginning of a new year. Be well and finish up those summer peaches, it's almost apple time!!