May 5, 2010

Big Red Ambition List: Outdoor Edition

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With less than a month left till I graduate and venture far beyond Cayuga’s waters, I, like most seniors, have been desperately attempting to check off my remaining items on the Big Red Ambition list. Alas, with time running out, it is unlikely that I’ll break 120. However, my (and your!) Cornell experience goes much deeper than the 161 list, although it is convenient to have those nice little check-marks quantifying your college career. With both of those thoughts in mind, I’ve decided to compose my own ambition list — compiled over the course of the last year with the help of countless friends — and impart it to you as my final gift: a list of 65 outdoorsy things to do in your four (or more) years here. (161 was a bit ambitious for my column’s space, so I went with 65, since Cornell was founded in 1865 — clever, huh?) Like the 161 list, you need not complete all the tasks to feel as if your time here was well spent. However, the more the merrier. Well, what are you waiting for?  Get out there and have an adventure. As Calvin once said, “It’s a magical world, Hobbes, ol’ buddy, let’s go exploring!”

1. Have sex in the woods.

2. Meet the dazzling Mark Holton and ask about his Utah epic where he nearly died. Twice.

3. Shit outside in 0 degree weather.

4. Rappel down the Muse stairwell. Get “rappelling” added to the list of banned hall sports.

5. Ditch class to play outside.

6. Take a Cornell Outdoor Education class for P.E. credit. Take four more just for fun.

7. Backpack in party supplies and spend a Friday night in a lean-to along the Finger Lakes Trail.

8. Slack-line on the Arts Quad.

9. Get caught by the cops rappelling off the suspension bridge. Get off the hook because the officer is also a climber.

10. Climb a tree. Spend the night in it.

11. Tail run Monkey Run. Try not to get lost.

12. Go canoeing on Beebe Lake on a Tuesday with the Cornell Outing Club.

13. Put a pumpkin (or disco ball) on top of the clock tower.

14. Ride/walk your bike up Buffalo Street.

15. Ride a bike/fall down Buffalo Street.

16. Go sailing on Cayuga Lake — the windier, the better.

17. Surf the power plant wave.

18. Supplement your meal plan with GORP and Cliff Bars.

19. Hit a deer with your car then eat it.

20. Sleep out under the stars on the Arts Quad (or Plantations, or building roof or anywhere really).

21. Swim in the gorges. Naked. At night.

22. Bike 100 miles around Cayuga Lake for the Aids Ride for Life.

23. Get to the top of a building  —  from the outside.

24. Climb up a frozen waterfall.

25. Run Fall Creek in a playboat in winter, lose it under half a foot of ice and then recover it a month later with the help of friendly construction workers.

26. Have a barbeque at Stewart Park.

27. Become a flying squirrel at the Hoffman Challenge Course.

28. Dress up like pirates and have a canoe/kayak battle on Beebe Lake.

29. Cross country ski at Hammond Hill.

30. Mountain bike at Shindagin Hollow.

31. Compete in the Cayuga Lake Triathlon.

32. Make out on the roof of CTB.

33. Play midnight capture the flag in the arboretum.

34. Get arrested for picking flowers for your girlfriend in the plantations. Discuss how well your first date is going in the back of the police car.

35. Go to the Gunks to rock climb for the weekend: Meet quota (at one pitch for every hour driven).

36. Go bouldering at Noyes, fantasize about murdering the ping-pong players.

37. Get funny looks when you wear your backpack into the dining hall before/after a big trip.

38. Request no-bake brownies on a dining hall comment card.

39. Jump in a leaf pile in the arboretum.

40. Listen to Shakespeare in the arboretum while climbing trees.

41. Catch water snakes in Six Mile Creek.

42. Chase fireflies down Ellis Hollow to the sound of chorusing frogs.

43. Visit the Arnot Forest and sample the various ambers of Cornell’s maple syrup.

44. Have a visceral experience on the Sphincter-ator in Bartels.

45. Dine in a restaurant clothed entirely in spandex/long underwear.

46. Go up to Mount Pleasant on a clear night to look at the stars with a significant other.

47. Epic (more than once).

48. Graduate Cornell with a degree in engineering, yet choose live in your car.

49. Go to the Banff Mountain/Radical Reels Film Festival.

50. Run an ultra-marathon.

51. Adopt a dog from the SPCA, train it so you can go ski-joring.

52. Grow a beard.

53. Modify your watch so it reads “Shirts Off o’clock.”

54. Watch the sunset from the overlook in the plantations.

55. Zipline over the gorges on a tyrolean traverse.

56. Learn how to roll a whitewater kayak in the Helen Newman Pool.

57. Make it to the top of the Lindseth climbing wall.

58. See the falls at Treman, Taughannock and Buttermilk.

59.  Visit the farmer’s market.

60.  Pick mulberries or wild raspberries from a tree or bush around campus and put them in your breakfast/lunch/dinner.

61. Check out the Fuertes Observatory.

62. Streak the suspension bridge and/or the Arts Quad.

63. Participate in/guide for Outdoor Odyssey

64. Prank your employer with 10,000 sticky notes scattered/hidden throughout the office.

65. Graduate Cornell, but leave your heart behind.     RLD

Original Author: Guy Ross