St. Mary’s Students Take On the Great Outdoors Over Fall Reading Days

Photo courtesy of Megan Kay Ponter

For St. Mary’s students, Fall Reading Days are a much-welcomed break in the monotony of exams and essays. From Saturday to Tuesday, students study, relax, or travel to make the most of their precious time away from classrooms and offices.

In keeping with this mentality, two of St. Mary’s outdoor-oriented clubs, the Outdoor Adventure Club and the Climbing Club, made the most of their break by doing what they enjoy with their fellow Seahawks. The Outdoor Adventure Club traveled to Harper’s Ferry, where eight members of the club traversed along a small patch of the Appalachian Trail. From Sunday to Tuesday, four hiking veterans and four rookies backpacked about fifteen miles of the AT to Boonsboro, Maryland.

President Ben Derlan had this to say about the trip: “The weather was perfect; the crisp start of fall. We enjoyed the warmth of campfires at night and the beautiful play of light through the trees as the sun rose in the morning.” On the return trip to St. Mary’s, the group stopped at a local coffee shop located in an old, repurposed church called Beans in the Belfry, of which Derlan says “nothing like free refills on good coffee, decent music, and the peaceful, filtered light of stained glass windows.” Derlan says that he would recommend the coffee shop to anyone in the Brunswick, MD area.

The Outdoor Adventure Club was not the only group of students enjoying the great outdoors over Fall Reading Days. The St. Mary’s Climbing Club left Friday afternoon to travel to New River Gorge in West Virginia. “The New,” as avid climbers know it, is one of the most popular climbing areas along the east coast. The weather on the first day of the trip did not hold up very well for climbing, so while some members risked the rain for a good climb, others went for a hike. The following Sunday and Monday, however, proved to be ideal for the club, and members spent the majority of the days climbing, cheering on their fellow climbers, or relaxing nearby. On Monday night, just before leaving early Tuesday morning, a small group went for a “fairly easy” 100-foot night climb using only headlamps and the moon for light. Club member Micah Rubin said this of the trip: “Obviously, the climbing was awesome and one of the big draws to the trip, but the thing that really made the trip so wonderful was how fun and friendly the group was.”

While Fall Reading Days had to come to a sad but inevitable end, these clubs continue on in their adventures. The Outdoor Adventure Club enjoys camping trips and bonfires on a fairly frequent basis. The Climbing Club hosts competitions and free climbs on a regular basis on campus. Both clubs are looking for new members at any time.