Thursday through Monday, 10-Oct-13 through 14-Oct-13
Every year, throngs of Freshmen descend upon the Loj.
It’s almost an annual migration, if we looked at it from that standpoint. Each fall, vanloads of city kids drive the four or five hours North, leaving their cozy homes in Boston to brave the cold mountains of New Hampshire. They make their temporary home at the end of a short trail, go on hikes, eat, and meet new people.
It’s fun to watch, and even more exciting to talk with people who’ve never been out into the real mountains like this. People who came to Northeastern from Mexico, Europe, or simply just other states. They all have an interesting story to tell, if you’re willing to listen.
And so, I drove up. Not on Friday though – I met up with two friends, John and Kelly, on Thursday night so that we could take full advantage of the long weekend. Four days of living at the Loj, hiding away from city life and work.
- Leave work, head to Loj with John and Kelly
- We grab dinner at Chilis – nothing special, but for some reason this has become somewhat of a tradition for me. It seems that every time I drive up to the loj, I stop in at this specific Chili’s for dinner. I don’t mind this.
- And as we drive up… I get my first Speeding ticket in the new Mustang. It was right in Concord, as I was merging onto the highway. I got a bit energetic with my acceleration, and went from the ramp up to 85 mph in less than 10s… more than fast enough for the cop to notice me. Though I didn’t notice him until after he pulled out from his little hidey hole.
- The rest of the drive was simple and clean – and we made it up to the Loj by 11:30 at night. From there we relaxed, made some tea, and hit the hay without any special theatrics.
- The only day we had without throngs of people started slowly. I got up late, after Kelly and John had already started getting things done around the Loj grounds. We hung out, had a slow breakfast, and generally relaxed and enjoyed being away from the city.
- After a bit, I headed out for a hike, with the secondary goal of trying to find a new campsite for the weekend. Most of my old sites had been encroached upon, so this year I wanted something isolated, yet roomy enough for not only myself, but Kelly, Terese, and Daniel.
- I hiked down one of the main trails toward the near mountains, and found a small site. A good bit of the morning was spent clearing it out and making it hospitable to our tents / hammock. Time well spent, however.
- Food? Lunch. Quesadillas!
- The rest of the day was simple, and spent relaxing and reading on the back porch. Nothing special, except for the standard sense of serenity that the Loj brings on.
- Terese had taken a half day of work, so she was able to make it up to the Loj right around 4:30 in the afternoon – perfect time for us to take a bit of time and relax, hike around a bit, and for me to give a full tour of the Loj.
- A second lunch was consumed, as well as a light dinner made. Simple.
- While waiting for everyone to show up, Kelly, John and myself started up a game of Lord of the Rings Risk. It was excellent, though ended in the expected way of John completely curb-stomping both of us.
- We all hang out on the back porch for a bit, just relaxing and enjoying the Loj. Terese and I take a walk around so that I can give her the full tour, but it’s honestly a rather nice and laid back evening.
- People start showing up, and we start a nice cheery fire for all the new kids to come up to. While people keep it going, Daniel finally shows up so we all head down and set up camp while the nights partying really gets going.
- Hang out with people, shoot the breeze, and relax. Good start to the weekend…
- Saturday? Saturdays were designed to be slow and relaxed. So when I hear the screams and bugle of the folks up at the Loj, I simply roll over and go back to sleep.
- We finally get moving mid-morning, and head up to make some quick lunch before everything disappears. Daniel and I cook up some extra breakfast, and then finish up planning our climbing for the day… the goal is Cathedral, and we leave the Loj to start it up sometime around 10:00.
- Climbing with Daniel at Cathedral happens. See the post specific to this.
- When we get back, dinner is being finished up. Nice timing! As per NUComers standard, dinner Satursday night is Baked ziti, followed by relaxing on the back porch and sipping Gin & Tonic. Well, the second part isn’t really standard, but it’s still awesome 🙂
- From here, we kept up the standard – kicking on the back porch, alternating with hanging out by the fire and listening to people’s stories. I think at some point we had a competition between people about how quickly they could start a fire? Not 100% sure. Was a good night, either way.
- And as with Saturday, Sunday was started out slowly. Even more slowly today though, sinec Terese was heading back to Boston before any adventures started out… so we didn’t really want to rush breakfast or anything.
- After breakfast was done and people left, Daniel and I set about exploring the Ledges. They’re huge cliffs (see the post specific to this) that could be perfect for climbing… if only someone were to set them up…
- After finishing our leaders recon trip, Daniel packed up his gear and rolled out from the Loj. That left me bored and alone… and what happens when you leave an Engineer bored and alone? He finds other engineers. And then they rebuild the sweat lodge, which is, at its core a huge steam sauna. Nice.
- Again as it traditional, Sunday night dinner was a nice and simple Chili – Delicious, especially when combined with corn bread and cheese.
- My entertainment of dinner – I ate with a group of sophomores, three girls and a guy. One of the ladies had her eye on this boy, whom she’d met on the hike earlier in the day. So she was telling stories about working with troubled pre-teens… and had him act out what they’d do to her. Specifically, biting and hair pulling. Yeah. That’s one way to flirt with a guy – have him pull your hair and bite your upper arm. Classy.
- Speaking of classy… the Sweat loj. It was excellent, and we made full use of the massive bonfire that we started right next to it. Tons of hot rocks were used, and gallons of water were poured onto them to make the steam for our comfort. That’s all there is to say, really.
- At one point I did have to play LC though – I was walking back up to the Loj to make myself another Gin & Tonic, when I ran into a group of three guys trying to help a single extremely drunk lady down the path.
- I find out that she’d sprained her ankle earlier that day on a hike, but now wanted to go swimming to ease the pain. Obviously a horrible idea, when you consider how treacherous the swimming hole is at night… not even taking into account how drunk she was.
- So I sent two of the guys to find her friends to help out (and get the crowd a bit thinner), and then guided her back up to the Loj where I firmly plopped her into a chair, and then put a brace on her ankle. Why no one had done that, I have no idea.
- From there… well, she became her roommates problem.
- More gin & tonic was followed by more sweat lodge, which was then followed by relaxing and stargazing before falling asleep.
- Slow and relaxing morning, but a bit less so than previously, since everything still needed to be packed up and such.
- One of John’s roommates had come up, so they drove back to Boston together, which left Kelly and myself in charge of when we left… yeah. No time soon. Reading and sunbathing on the back porch definitely happened for a while, once the Loj was closed up.
- We did hit Tilton Diner on the way back to Boston, but aside from that we took the straight-shot drive home. No speeding tickets (thankfully), and nicely uneventful.
- Home & relax