Getting LOSt Outside

By Ben Brown

Photo Courtesy of Brendan Grayson-Wallace

The Outdoors Society takes weekend trips that include rock climbing and hiking.
The Outdoors Society takes weekend trips that include rock climbing and hiking.

Mom always said to put down the video games, go outside and make new friends. The Lafayette Outdoors Society (LOSt) is making that a viable option for students.

LOSt frequently organizes activities involving hiking, camping, rock climbing, kayaking, cycling and running. Weekend trips to the Delaware Water Gap and Hickory Run State Park have highlighted this past fall’s adventures.

Earlier in the semester, members of the club including Treasurer Brenden Grayson-Wallace ‘14 could frequently be found on the Skillman side of the Quad slacklining, an activity similar in style to tightrope walking.

But you don’t have to be a Ranger Rick to join. It is an all-inclusive campus organization. And that’s how former President of the Outdoors Society Brian McAtee ‘11 described it. McAtee helped build the club in the latter half of his career at Lafayette and gave it wider appeal.

“It was always a different group of people [on trips],” McAtee said. “I think we did a good job fostering an environment where they did not feel out of place.”

Current President Tom Golazewski ‘12 has helped continue this.

“We have a core group, but we open it up to anyone who’s remotely interested,” Golaszewsk said.

Grayson-Wallace said ice skating and snow shoeing trips could be planned throughout the winter until it is warm enough to go hiking again. As for on-campus events, Kayaking Committee Head Gabby Henault ‘14 looks to teach kayaking fundamentals in the Kirby Sports Center pool including paddling, how to get back in the boat after capsizing, and basic safety. Sessions on the rock climbing wall at Kirby Sports Center are held every Tuesday from 5-7 p.m.

People with outdoor experience have certainly found their niche.

“As a kid, [kayaking was] what I always did,” Henault said. “To have a little kayaking here at school is to have a little piece of home here for me.”

Grayson-Wallace said of his experience, “I grew up doing hikes and stuff and wanted to get more involved.”

Professor of Mathematics Cliff Reiter is the faculty advisor. He helps come up with ideas for weekend trips and sometimes participates with the group.

“Some of our favorite trips were Cliff Reiter trips,” McAtee said.

“He could out-hike any of us,” Derek Vill ‘14 added.

Many members agree the activities are enjoyable, but it is the people who make the experience. Henault said some of her closest friends are also involved in the organization. As freshmen, Grayson-Wallace and Vill went on a trip to Hickory Run State Park where they met and eventually formed a solid friendship. The two ended up rooming together this semester.

“I met a lot of close friends especially through the climbing program,” McAtee said. McAtee still keeps in touch with some of the people he met.

For McAtee, LOSt served him beyond Lafayette. Currently, McAtee holds a part-time job with the Lord Stirling Outdoor Education Center in Basking Ridge, N.J. While at the rock wall, McAtee met his current boss and sought a job afterwards.

As temperatures continue to drop, Lafayette’s students will migrate towards their dorm rooms, apartments and houses. But the LOSt will continue venturing to the great outdoors.