For three days over the long weekend, Tufts students flocked to the Loj in Woodstock, New Hampshire for Peak Weekend. Sponsored by Tufts Mountain Club (TMC), the annual expedition saw students summit the 48 tallest peaks in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. “So much flannel it’s blinding … I didn’t get the memo,” freshman Stephanie Chen Schmidt said as she first stepped into the Loj late last Friday afternoon. 

Hikers were divided into small groups that collectively hike to the top of all 48 peaks. According to Sophie Dulberg, one of this year’s coordinators, there were 34 total trips with a range of distance and difficulty. Hikers chose what level of difficulty they preferred. Dulberg and co-coordinator Luke Burkhalter then matched groups with a corresponding hike.

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According to Dulberg, the average hike was around ten miles, but there were some as short as six miles and two longer than 20 miles –– the Presidential Traverse and the Twins/Bonds.While the weekend drew many experienced hikers, there were a lot of people with different levels of outdoor experience and involvement in TMC. “I really believe anyone can come, even if [they] usually don’t come a lot … everyone has it in them to come out to the Loj and have a really great time,” sophomore Erynne van Zee said. “It brings out that wilderness vibe in everyone — even if they don’t usually have it.” After a day of hiking, students regrouped at the Loj to play board games like Settlers of Catan, throw frisbees on the lawn and socialize over tea in the living room. Some curled up with books from the bookcase in the Loj that holds a broad collection, with options ranging from old Tufts yearbooks to works of fiction.“There are people who love TMC and are here representing that, and also a lot of people here who want to try something new,” Dulberg said. “It’s a good opportunity because there are a lot of other people doing the same.”

Sophomore Jeff Wu stops to admire a waterfall on a hike up Mount Moosilauke early on the morning of Saturday, October 11 for TMC’s Peak Weekend.
The Loj has a distinct feel — walls are adorned with old photographs and vintage signs and the kitchen is filled with mismatched mugs. For dinner this weekend, an enormous pan of vegetable pasta was served after people snacked on “Loj nachos,” a crunchy, cheesy dish typically accompanied with a spontaneous twist like chocolate chips or hot sauce.Peak Weekend, and the Loj in general, offers students a chance to get off campus and get a breath of fresh air, as well as meet new people. “It’s a nice place to get away,” sophomore Kate Hirsch said. “I don’t think about anything except what I’m doing here.” “I like it because I like that I have a disconnect from technology and revert to simpler things,” Dulberg said. “For example, we cook our own food, wash our own dishes … that just doesn’t happen at school. I appreciate those things”Along with events like Newcomer’s Weekend and Pass the Torch, Peak Weekend is one of TMC’s major annual events. However, it is notably unique because everyone is bonded by a greater purpose: collectively summiting all 48 peaks. Inside the Loj, a whiteboard tracks which of the forty-eight 4,000-foot peaks have been climbed. “It’s one of those weekends where everyone’s going for a goal — let’s summit peaks, go back to the Loj and bond over what we’ve hiked,” van Zee said. “It has that special energy that coming up to the Loj for a cozy weekend doesn’t have.”

TMC Peak Weekend at the Loj, 2014 (Ari Schneider)