On the date of Sunday, February 19th, 2023 the Alumni Activities Club ventured out to a world beyond that of urban buildings and public transportation. They were driven by their Alumni Activities Coordinator to the Appalachian Trailhead located at Poughquag, NY. For those who are not familiar with this “walk in the woods,” it practically goes on forever. (2,174 miles certainly seems like forever!) If we go all the way northbound, we would eventually reach Maine and turning southbound would eventually get us to Georgia. This goes without saying, but our group opted for a much more abridged version of this extremely long footpath!

The Appalachian Trail is never for the faint of heart. There are no escalators or Uber rides to give our feet a break. Rocks jut from the soil and a spiderweb sequence of roots makes it a challenge to know where to put one’s feet. It is always a good strategy to take things as slow as possible. There are people who choose to take on the whole thing that are what the AT community refers to as Mileage Monsters. In other words, they intend to do twenty to thirty miles a day every single day while seldom taking breaks in hopes of polishing it off in half the time. While there are certainly those ambitious hikers who achieve such a lofty goal, it is always a much better strategy to take things as slow as possible. “The tortoise always wins.”

The trip taught us that “Attitude Determines Altitude.” Winter is not always an ideal time for outdoor activities, although it is arguably the best time to enjoy hiking in the northeast. The mosquitoes, infamous black flies, poison ivy, gnats, yellow jackets, and ticks are cowering in hibernation. The hike requires far less water and the skeletal trees make it possible to see far more landscape. It is also easier to warm up in February than it is to cool down in the middle of July! Regardless of what time of the year someone choose to go hiking, there are definitely going to be huge challenge and times of discomfort. But complaining and battling the Appalachian Trail does nothing to get the job done! There are days when making a dent in the mileage that remains feels like using a wine glass to bail out the Titanic!

Their Media and Activities Liaison, Jesse Saperstein completed the entire trail back in 2005 at the age of 23 years old over a period of seven months-and-nine days. The activity brought back plenty of memories during that rewarding, albeit grueling, expedition nearly twenty years ago. The hardest part about the journey, in his opinion, was maintaining the trail journal.

We all went to the Beekman Square Diner after the trip was completed to enjoy the fruits of our labors. Considering the goal of this trip is to increase physical fitness, we all make an attempt to order healthy meals as to not decimate all of the process made during this endeavor. For those of you who are familiar with the physiological realities pertaining to physical fitness, someone can exercise all the way to the moon. It amounts to about a hill of beans if there is not a balanced diet to back up this rigorous fitness regimen. We rarely order dessert at these food venues in order to maintain the effects of these particular activities.

The staff at the College Experience are doing everything possible to coach the students and alumni to make healthy choices while respecting their free will as an adult to do otherwise. We merely explain there are going to be natural consequences, especially if preexisting health problems already exist. At one point, we reached out to the physical trainer for the Dr. Phil Show whose name is Robert Reames in hopes he could coach some of the alumni. (One of the staff has a professional connection with this weight loss guru.) We will continue doing whatever is necessary to help our individuals make good choices in the midst of constant temptation when it comes to the endless quantity of restaurants and diverse food choices at everyone’s disposal!