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Hampshire to Host College Outdoor Festival April 16

All-day event features guided hikes, workshops, and a talk by noted hiker Anish Anderson

The Appalachian Mountain Club is sponsoring the 5 College Outdoor Festival this Saturday, April 16. The goal is to introduce Hampshire and other Five College students to the many trails in the area, and to local organizations that provide recreational activities. With the exception of an evening talk, by Hannah “Anish” Anderson, all the events are exclusively for college students.

Hampshire students can get together for an afternoon hike by preregistering at the event’s website. A free lunch will be provided for those who preregister, but students may join any trip; they’ll just have to bring their own food. 

The festival is organized by Hampshire’s Office of Outdoor Programs, Recreation, and Athletics (OPRA) in conjunction with Joshua Surette, New England National Scenic Trail Planner; and Emily Bedenkop, Trail Projects and Volunteer Coordinator.

Registration for the orienteering race is at the breakfast, which takes place at 9 a.m., and participants are urged to form teams for this. 

            Highlights of the day’s events are:

  • During the orienteering Adventure Race, teams and individuals use a map and compass to find points on the Hampshire campus. Costumes are strongly encouraged! 
  • The Smith College and Mount Holyoke Outing Clubs will lead two groups on the approximately seven-mile Seven Sisters Hike—one group will start at Mt. Holyoke and the other at Bare Mountain. 
  • The Amherst Outing Club will guide a two-mile hike up Mt. Holyoke. When participants reach the summit, they’ll partake of a picnic lunch and play lawn games, such as Frisbee and Hacky Sack. 
  • The Goat’s Peak, Mt. Tom Hike will be led by the UMass Outing Club. Participants should bring along their favorite poem.
  • Greenfield Community College’s Outdoor Leadership Program will conduct a workshop for experienced rock climbers interested in learning how to achieve professional-instructor credentials.
  • Among the evening events will be a pizza dinner at the Robert Crowne Center and a talk by Anish Anderson, who holds the unofficial speed records for the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails. She’ll talk about her experience thru-hiking these trails, as well as the physical and mental challenges that ensued. 

The festival began in 2001 to promote collaboration among the Five College outdoor clubs and to bring together students who are passionate about the outdoors. It’s an all-day event featuring many outdoor games and activities, including hikes on sections of the New England Trail. 

The New England Scenic Trail, which incorporates the Mattabesett, Metacomet, and Monadnock Trail systems, runs right through Hampshire College’s backyard. Spanning 215 miles, it stretches from Long Island Sound, in Connecticut, to the Massachusetts/New Hampshire border and winds its way through 41 communities.

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