Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Acadia Adventures! (Part 1)

MITOC does it again! As LMF alum Kelly K '15 and many others can confirm, MIT Outing Club is just fantastic. This weekend, MITOC organized a trip for 75 people to Acadia National Park in Maine, which was definitely one of the highlights of my senior spring. The organization is pretty awesome: for a weekend of camping, all you need to do is pay a small fee, find a tent/sleeping bag, and sign up on a spreadsheet with a driver to head to the campground in Bass Harbor. I later found that the campground is conveniently located next to a really neat lighthouse and the beautiful, swimmable Echo Lake.

The drive up there is about 5 hours, so we got to the campground at around midnight on Friday. At the entrance to the campground, there was a sign "<--MIT / HAV'D -->" with arrows pointing in opposite directions. Apparently, they are actually on opposite sides of the campground. Probably a good idea. :)

We still didn't exactly know what we'll be doing, but in the morning we joined MIT alums Ian and Birkan for a morning hike to Acadia and St. Sauveur Mountain. At the trail head, we met up with several others, including Daniela '18, Elise '18, and Kiwi! One-year-old Kiwi is a really enthusiastic MITOC traveler; she was at first wary of the steep inclines and rocks, but now she hops between them fearlessly. She also carries her own hiking gear and water. Here's Birkan and Kiwi:

Kiwi is a pro hiker :) 
The trail was mild in the beginning, with some steep parts, and mostly through wonderful clusters of fir, spruce, and maple trees. The summit provided some beautiful views of where we are heading next:

LMF represent at the summit! :) 
Here's a look at the loop: 

Along the way, there was a path to open water. It was rather cold, but a good stop nevertheless.

Personally I really enjoyed the next stop at St. Sauveur mountain, where the rocks near the cliff edge had just the perfect incline for laying down and sunbathing.

Nice warm rocks at St. Sauveur Summit 
After the hike, we figured we had done enough to indulge in some delicious blueberry ice cream in Bass Harbor, a tiny little village not far from our campground. MITOC member and kayak instructor Rick is awesome at what he does. He showed us patiently how to operate the kayaks in open sea (not as trivial as it might seem - especially in high waves, where it's important to be directly opposite of the waves when going upwind) and the funniest part - putting on "skirts". At first I was quite confused how these blue skirt things are worn and why they're put under the vest, but actually they attach to the boat to keep the water out (see below).

Selfies on open sea kayaks = daredevil? :) 
We kayaked to a little island off the coast and then a bit into the harbor, returning along the coast since the winds and waves were quite strong. 
Water looking really nice here. But it's actually really, really cold!
When we parked our kayaks back at shore, it was too tempting to not miss the opportunity to take a swim (one taken by four brave souls out of our group). For me, the "swim" only lasted about 5 seconds - I may be Russian, but the water really was freezing. Still, very refreshing!

Having gotten a full-body workout from this lovely combination of earth and water activities, we returned to the campground to make things for the potluck. I have to say, bonfire potlucks are THE prime reason I love camping in the wilderness, and especially camping with MITOC. Everyone shares and it's kind of like being back in kindergarden. Really though, that evening I had the best meal - stir fry rice, teriyaki chicken (my home-made contribution), guacomole, pasta salad, risotto, salmon shiitake mushroom stirfry... oh, and bananas in chocolate fondue to start. Needless to say, the next day's triathlon was very much welcome! :)

Look out for the Part 2 report of the Acadia trip which includes super awesome light roadbikes and sunset hikes. ;) 

Monday, May 30, 2016


I fried some potatoes. It was only ok. I sent out an email to the summer dorm, but, as of writing, no one came to eat the potatoes

Thursday, May 26, 2016


I took a photo.

Added border for website because a white background is terrible for the photo.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Flowers, Gazebos, & Summer

Today started early, with a gentle knock-knock on my door at 7:05 AM from Jesse reminding me that I should have been awake five minutes ago.

After hurriedly getting ready, I boxed up the brownies made at 2 AM (thanks, insomnia!) and headed to the nicely-packed car waiting downstairs. It was time to move Jesse's things back to her house!

Helmuth and I piled into the remaining space of the car while Jesse took the wheel because honestly, she's the best driver of the three of us and she was taking us to her hometown of Shrewsbury, so she knew the way.

The drive there was absolutely beautiful: lots of trees, little lakes, and a beautiful blue sky. We got to Jesse's house and unpacked, and all the while I was marveling at East Cost novelties like basements, strips of grass between sidewalks and roads, and trees by the side of the road in a suburb (none of which exist where I'm from. Except for the trees, but there aren't nearly as many in my neighborhood).

After moving Jesse's boxes into the house, we had the rest of the day to do whatever we wanted, so we headed to the Shrewsbury town square. There was a gazebo, which fit in well with the quaint New England small town charm.


We then drove to the botanical gardens in Boylston, and were greeted by another gazebo and lots of flowers.


It was here that Helmuth took lots of pictures of plants, I took lots of pictures of Helmuth taking pictures of plants, and Jesse took a couple pictures of me taking pictures of Helmuth taking pictures of plants. Very meta.



Have I mentioned how beautiful the grounds were?





There were also snacks, courtesy of Jesse.

We also climbed to the summit (and by "climb," I mean "walked four minutes up a very mild hill") and enjoyed the view of the surrounding forest and reservoir.



Helmuth and Jesse took more fancy-shmancy pictures.


And of course, there was lots of cuddling.



It was finally lunchtime, so we went to Moe's, a southwestern restaurant. They had a salsa bar, so taste-testing and salsa-swapping shenanigans ensued-- I unsuccessfully tried to convince Helmuth that he had developed a complete tolerance to capsaicin by switching my mild for his Extreme-Ghost-Pepper-Melt-Your-Face-Off salsa.

We hit up Lowe's to get locks for the French House cabinets, and we got a little distracted at the checkout line, of course.


Helmuth played with the price checker because "it makes pretty patterns!"

After Lowe's we went to Lake Quinsigamond, the launch site of Jesse's high school crew team. There was a race today, so Jesse was able to catch up with high school friends while Helmuth and I relaxed in the shade of the rowing center and ate brownies (which, honestly, the three of us had been working on all day). It was all quite picturesque.

Helmuth claimed my scarf. It is now his, no takesies-backsies.


Jesse helped her old crew team move equipment for their race, who did well!


It was time to head home, so we started the drive back to Boston. I napped in the back of the car while Helmuth and Jesse discussed everything Course 6. We stopped to grab pizza at California Pizza Kitchen and literally wrestled over who got to pay the bill.


We returned the Zipcar and made our way back to New House, just in time for my shift at Front Desk. Jesse and Helmuth are adorably sleepy after the long day.