By Maureen Ragner
Out of all the possible field trips that students can take over the course of a school year, there is always that one trip that students look forward to. Whether elementary, high school or college students, that feeling doesn’t change over the years, especially when it means an escape from everything that brings students stress.
The Boundary Waters trip, which is normally arranged by Prof. Mark Wiechmann, took place over Feb 17-20. A record number of 40 students and 10 alumni made the trip to near Grand Marais, Minn.
Because there was snow, students were able to go snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and participate in playing broomball on the ice.
“More people get hurt playing broomball than anything else,” said Wiechmann.
This year, students also had the option of playing ultimate frisbee and capture the flag on the ice. Instead of flags, however, logs were used.
“It got really intense,” said sophomore Katherine Farquhar. “People were tackling each other into the snow.”
Because the lodge was located so far north, connection to the internet via cell towers was out of the question, so students had to go without technology for the duration of the trip. Some students found it freeing and relaxing.
“I’m a lot less tied to my electronics than most people, so it was really nice not to think about it,” said senior Olivia Lippert.
To help keep trip-goers entertained, they were given the option of participating in a talent show, with participants showing off their musical talents or creating short skits.
As Valentine’s Day had just occurred, students were assigned a secret valentine, who they revealed themselves to on the last day of the trip by having a valentine rhyme or letter read aloud.
“I made a valentine for [senior] Nadine [Van Zomeren],” said Farquhar. “For her I did a bunch of just really awful puns.”
None of those who went were told who had written valentines for them, but some were able to make guesses.
“I think it might have been Prof. Wiechmann’s granddaughter, Grace,” said Lippert about her valentine.
Students are also given the option of sleeping outside under the stars, if they brought along more than enough supplies to bundle up in. Farquhar, for example, brought two sleeping bags, a blanket and wore multiple layers of clothing in order to combat the cold and sleep outdoors to see the stars.
“It was a really nice night to do it,” said Farquhar.
Previously the lodge owners had sled dogs the students could drive. However, since the change in management, Wiechmann was sure that part of the trip would be missed. Aside from that, nothing else has changed.
Also this year, the trip was mostly arranged by Farquhar. She worked as a cook at the lodge the previous summer. She was more than willing to assist in arranging the trip. While Wiechmann has been organizing trips to to Boundary Waters for 40 years, he has found it something of a relief to be able to rely on students to make the arrangements.
Long-awaited field trips that are looked forward to by all are trips that are not to be missed. The excursion up to Boundary Waters is certainly one of them, as every year shows.