by Nadine Reitman, Class of 2010
Let’s go on a field trip. Have you ever been to Bonticou Crag? Nope? That’s rough. Everyone should visit Bonticou Crag before they graduate, which is why this is an opportune moment for a field trip. You don’t have much time left!
I think Bonticou Crag is the perfect hike. Let me fly you through it. We start with a little-mile-or-so-uphill warm up, which is followed by a tantalizing boulder scramble up the cliff face. It’s just strenuous enough to feel legit, but short enough to do it twice if you’re at the top and a member of your group is throwing up at the bottom, and he really wants to get to the top.
The best part is the view from the top. No, that’s a lie. The best part is the view from the top at sunrise. Which is why the Bonticou Crag Sunrise Hike remains the most popular Outing Club adventure, despite its 4 a.m. departure on Thursday mornings. The advantage of the 4 a.m. departure is that we’re back in time for 9 a.m. classes and ready to take on the day (perhaps with a nap around 3 p.m.?).
Despite the more than four times I’ve done this exact hike, each time is wonderful, a little different and totally worth it. I know what I’m getting into when I go to Bonticou Crag, just like I know what I’m getting into when I start a new year at Vassar. Each year is exciting, a little different, totally worth it and yet strangely the same.
Freshman year was a like that uphill warm up; we were just getting into our zones. It was hard enough, it is college after all, but it was nothing compared to sophomore year (trip one up that boulder scramble), junior year (that’d be trip two), or senior year (that wonderful sunrise coupled with the viewless, and at times steep, descent).
By the end of senior year, we’ve had that time to warm up and feel out our friends groups and ourselves, then we pushed the limit, partied a lot, worked even more, got out and came back. Now, instead of being that weird outdoorsy freshman with a bad post-Locks-of-Love haircut and an apologizing personality, I’m that weird outdoorsy senior with long unruly hair and a personality to match. We haven’t fundamentally changed, but now we own our eccentricities, our styles and our opinions. We’ve freaked over theses, then finished them. We’ve fought and made up. We’ve studied for tests, passed and failed them. We’ve had the adventures, put in the work, seen the sunrise, and now we’re back in time for graduation and ready to take on the world.