Part 1: The Arrival.
NewComers (alternatively spelled NUComers) is a rather amazing weekend for NUHOC. Ton’s of people show up to the Loj, and everyone gets to relax, go on adventures, and meet lots of new people. And when I say lots, I mean “triple digits”. I mean “we have people who’ve never been in the woods before”. I mean “It’s freaking amazing”.
Seriously… Some people like mocking others for not having experienced certain things. I disagree – everyone’s a newbie sometime, and seeing someones excitement at seeing real mountains for the first time… it’s amazing! It reminds me of all of my firsts – my first lead climb, my first backpacking trip… it’s amazing and infections and excellent.
Thus, I went up to NewComers. It should have been a pretty simple drive from Danvers, but since I can never do anything simple-ways, I decided to stop by Mike’s place in Somerville first to comandetheer his GoPro camera for the weekend. Mike was working all weekend (dangers of being in a high-tech lab), and so he’d left it hidden in his mailbox for me to grab. And after a nice and roundabout route, I did comandeer it from the foul grips of the mailbox.
The ride up was, in a word, amazing. It’s all about the perfect components coming together at the right time – it was a Friday, I’d had a good week at work, my paychecks had been coming in for a while, and I was on the road early enough to miss the bulk of the Columbus Day traffic. I was feeling really good, and the ride went by rather impressively well. (Ed note: this is one of my favorite drives in the world. See my first or second post for an example as to why).
And to make matters even better – I was the first up at the Loj. I was honestly not expecting this, so it was a bit of a shock when I was setting my tent up in the prime location, with not a soul around. I wasn’t able to relax much though, since almost as soon as my camp was set and ready, people started showing up with truckloads (literally) of food needing to be unpacked. And since I was the only member of the Loj Committee up there so far, it fell to me to open everything up and help organize.
From there, the night turned into a snowball of insanity and excellence. I took it upon myself to be “that LC” for the night – that one alumni who had a big stein of drink, mead in my case, and walks around making sure that no one is lighting themselves on fire. You think I’m joking, but I seriously had to stop a few people from doing things like setting their tents in the middle of the road, or starting fires off in the woods somewhere. It was fun, and getting the chance to help people decipher their tent-instructions was a fun way to start the weekend off. The mead didn’t hurt either.
But the fun couldn’t continue unabated; too soon the whole discussion of trips started in earnest. After listening to far too many possible ideas I simply gave up – leaving the decision of where I’d go and what I’d do to be decided in the morning.
With that, I headed back to my tent and slumber-land. Or… I tried to.
Remember the whole occupy movement? Yeah.
This was “occupy Ben’s tent”.
Seriously, I quickly learned that my “new spot” was actually known as “the complex”, and it’s effectively THE spot to camp out if you’re not interested in sleeping in the Loj. So… to say I wasn’t alone there is an understatement. To say that every square inch of turf was taken up by a tent… that’d be a bit more accurate.
But even with the company, I did crash quite quickly, dreaming to adventure on the day to come.