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MIT student blogger Shuli J. '22

a most beautiful camping trip by Shuli J. '22, MEng '23

it's always good to get back to nature <3

It’s pretty common at MIT for living groups to take advantage of the Indigenous People’s Day long weekend (not just one extra day but two! what luxury!!) to go on fun trips and retreats. On Friday, my floor, Putz, headed out for our annual camping trip in seven rental cars, with trunks packed full of sleeping bags, tents, and food. We were headed about 2.5 hours away (well, before you take into account Boston traffic… it took us more than half an hour to get to Porter Square!!!) to Franconia Notch National Forest and State Park.

It was a truly incredible trip: we set up our tents in the dark (read: with difficulty) on Friday night, crammed six people into a four-person tent (which was a good move, because it kept us warm), and then woke up at 7 am on Saturday to go hiking all day. On the way back on Sunday, we hit up a farm selling produce, a family maple sugar business, and another very beautiful lake.

Then I slept for a long, long, time. Thankfully, the real weekend (the one where I did all my homework) was only just beginning!

It was wildly beautiful up there, so I wanted to share some pictures from my trip. I assure you that they were all even more beautiful in person, especially the cloudy ones, where my iPhone really can’t quite hack it. The nature up in the mountains was a fantastic reminder of what life can be like outside the MIT bubble, and why sometimes it’s worth it to trek outside of my small, warm dorm room, open my eyes for real, and take in the world.

There’s a lot here, because I couldn’t choose between them ><  Feel free to skim at your leisure.

A large pond on a cloudy day. On the opposite bank are green, red, yellow, and orange trees.

A wide shot of a lake; the opposite shore is barely visible, pressed between the dark lake and the sky streaked with clouds.

A very large group of bright orange pumpkins, on the grass at a roadside farm.

A view from the road. Trees of various colors are in the foreground; the middle ground is a mountain, which is also covered in trees; the background is clouds around the mountaintop and an otherwise-empty bright blue sky.

A paper towel dispenser in a restaurant. A small sign on it reads "Please Be Gentle I am Frail =)".

A trail in the woods with some leaves scattered on it. The path is surrounded by light green and yellow trees.

Trees in a forest. They are all dark green except for one small tree, which is a brilliant light red.

A stream full of rocks of various sizes, as well as some leaves.

The foreground is a rocky stream, which appears to go over a cliff. The middleground, beyond the cliff, is a forest of variously-colored trees. The background is a cloudy sky and some far-away mountains.

Trees in the forest. The foreground is mostly dark trunks; in the background, light green, yellow, and red trees are hit by the light and shine through to the foreground.

A closeup of a very large leaf, yellow with red tips and brown veins. In the background are more yellow leaves and a rocky stream.

A relatively close-up view of a waterfall: white water cascades over brown rocks. To the side, small green trees on the rocks are lit by a soft yellow ray of sun.The same waterfall from a much higher vantage point: the stream it comes from and the pond it goes into are both visible. What used to be a stream: a large hollow between two rocky cliffs. It is dotted with some rocks, but mostly is full of red leaves.

A section of a river. Around some rocks, the water is eddying in a very interesting way: it has formed dozens and dozens of tiny white pockets.

A forest seen from a relatively high vantage point. In the foreground are lots of visible tree roots; in the background is a single big trunk and many very verdant ferns.

A plate of brownies on sale in a restaurant. A small sign proclaims them "SMOL DUDES: 1 or 2$ each".

A very tranquil lake on a cloudy day. Across the lake is a mountain covered in yellow trees. Its reflection is clearly visible in the water.

A slightly more close-up view of the same lake.

A much wider view of the same lake; now, the trees around its edge are visible.

A panorama of the view into a valley from a high point. Lots of different hills are visible, covered in different colors of trees. The sky is cloudy.

A park on the side of the road. It has green grass and orange and yellow trees; right in the middle of the photo is a huge, deep red bush.

The view down a road. On either side, the road is carpeted in red leaves; yellow trees can be seen in the background.