Two-Day Wilderness Expedition

Title: Two-Day Wilderness Expedition

General Information:

  • Customary: Traditions, Rituals, Pranks
  • Verbal: Folk Beliefs, Folk Speech
  • English
  • USA

Informant Data:

Charles James “CJ” Murphy was born in Greenwich, Connecticut on November 16, 1994. He is a 22-year-old student at Dartmouth College currently in his senior year. Growing up, he was an avid outdoorsman, and as such was very excited to participate in the Dartmouth Outing Clubs First-Year Trips program in the lead-up to freshman year. He was on the “Climb and Hike” trip.

Contextual Data: 

The informant experienced firsthand the wilderness portion of Dartmouth’s First-Year Trips when his trip group left Hanover and began hiking a segment of the Appalachian Trail in Lyme, New Hampshire. During this two-day period, the informant recalled that it rained heavily for a significant portion of the journey, making an already challenging task all the more daunting. The group was forced to leave all technology behind, creating an acutely solitary environment in which the group was intentionally coerced into being constantly engaged with each other.


Days two and three of trips are spent in the wilderness and are characterized by various rituals, pranks, and verbal lore that encourage trippees to learn more about each other and Dartmouth culture as a whole. The informant recalled the “Vox Croo Raid” as being the most memorable and effective tradition, in which a group of upperclassman, unbeknownst to the trippees at the time, emerged from the wilderness pretending to be a group of lost hikers. Using social media, they had preemptively compiled vast amounts of information about everyone in the group, and left the freshmen in disbelief when they began sharing it. Additionally, trip leaders explained Dartmouth customs and defined Dartmouth slang, helping freshmen adjust to their new world.

Informant’s Comments:

Despite not remaining in contact with anyone on his trip, the informant was adamant that his two days in the wilderness were extremely beneficial in facilitating his transition to Dartmouth.

Collector’s Comments:

The two-day journey into the wilderness that is the focal point of First-Year Trips embodies the transitional stage of rites of passages. This period is both ambiguous and indeterminate, as freshmen are purposefully made uncertain of what their next step is. Additionally, it can be an immensely intimidating and challenging experience for many. Trip leaders, who have already been initiated into the Dartmouth community, serve as guides and mentors to the freshmen.

Collector’s Name: Tommy Kaminsky


  • Customary Lore, Traditions, Rituals, Pranks; Verbal Lore, Folk Beliefs, Folk Speech

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