Summer Adventure Begins!

When I walked into the Overland headquarters (commonly referred to as “The Office”), I was assailed by greetings and introductions, shaking hands so frequently it reminded me of freshman year in college. I felt only slightly frazzled starting¬† work on three hours of sleep, up since 4:30am, carrying nothing but a bag full of running clothes and another with my laptop and camera. But no one seemed to notice. They were all equal parts frazzled and friendly, buzzing around and answering phone calls in a form of controlled chaos.

I didn’t get my official assignments until a day later, but I had plenty to do for the time being. I moved into the Rectory, my base for the summer. Like most of the homes in Williamstown, it was big and old and very New England. All of the homes here are gorgeous; their floors have to be taller than 10 feet. There are A-frames everywhere and big windows and wrap-around porches and houses that look like they could be haunted. But each one looks uniquely majestic or cute, and not all contemporary or industrial like the developments in the Midwest. And when I ran through the neighborhood my first morning here, I couldn’t help but be thankful that I had never visited Williams. Yes, I love Carleton so much and couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else. But if I had as much as laid eyes on the Williams campus, I’d be living in Massachusetts now. The aesthetics of the quaint old town surrounded by green mountains appeals to me more than contented cows and flat cornfields.

But when I do introduce myself to the trip leaders (mostly college-aged or recent grads) and say that I attend Carleton, their faces light up with recognition and they inquire as to if I know “so-and-so”, a friend of theirs who goes to my school. Scanning over the long list of leaders (150!!), I realized that most hailed from Liberal Arts colleges: Williams, Middlebury, Pomona, Bates, Colby, Colgate, Amherst, Whitman, etc. The founder of Overland is a Williams alum, and it seems he has a special place in his heart for Liberal Arts grads (YES FINALLY).

The other Liberal Arts Northfield kids working at Overland this summer. (Note: I had not arrived yet, so I’m not in the photo.)

SO. What am I doing here? For this upcoming week, I will be based in Williamstown, traveling to various Overland trips in the area. Some are writing programs, some are hiking and camping groups traveling around New England. The kids are between the ages 10-18, and I was reminded about how much I love photographing kids when they all arrived for the first day. I said to a handful of them frolicking in the shade: “Hey, climb the tree and I’ll take your picture.” The kids threw themselves at the tree, and those that couldn’t grab the lowest branch first clawed and jumped at the trunk. I tried not to smile.

Next week, I head to Vermont and join a biking group for five days as they make their way to Canada. The week after that, I will be in the back country of New Hampshire, climbing Mt. Washington (highest peak in the Northeast) and kayaking off the coast of Maine. I then will return to Williamstown for 4th week closing, when some of the trip leaders return from all over the country slash world.

As far as running goes, it’s hard to be a holistically positive person when there’s a negative constant nagging in something so key to one’s existence. Aka I’m injured. I have runner’s knee. I’ve been doing PT and strengthening exercises. The time off is driving me insane. But yesterday everyone at once noticed the kinesio tape on my knee and asked if it was a new fashion statement.

Ha. This is about as far from CollegeFashionista as you could get.

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