Going to college in a place like New Hampshire almost guarantees that students will spend some time enjoying nature. The leaves changing and cooling temperatures in September and October provide the perfect conditions for hiking, biking and rock climbing at and around Keene State College.

KSC Senior, Daniel McAuliffe, has always valued hiking as a group activity.

“It’s a great way to hang out with some friends and escape the world for a while,” McAuliffe said, “I always have to mentally prepare myself for hikes, but it’s always a good time.”

Co-President of the Environmental Outing Club, Alex Tragakes makes an effort to spend time outside, whether it be hiking or just enjoying nature, three to five times a week.

Tragakes said, “The EOC is just trying to get people outside, go hiking, camping, mountain biking, rock climbing, surfing, white water rafting… Pretty much anything that anyone wants to do outside, we try and make it happen. It’s a lot of fun.”

The EOC, which frequents hiking trails on Bear’s Den in Gilsum, NH, Gap Mountain in Jaffery, NH and Madame Sherri’s in Chesterfield, NH, meets Tuesdays at 8 p.m. in Morrison Room 110. As far as swimming holes in the area go, Tragakes suggests a spot in Gilsum, NH off of Route 10.

“It’s on the Ashuelot River,” Tragakes said, “There’s a couple cliff jumping spots there. It’s really beautiful.”

McAuliffe, who enjoys ultimate Frisbee and slacklining, takes occasional trips to Goose Pond to go swimming.

“It’s up near Court Street in Keene, and is about a ten minute drive from campus,” McAuliffe explained.

McAuliffe continued, “There’s also a pretty short trail that leads up to Sunset Rock. It’s also about ten minutes from campus.” According to McAuliffe, Sunset Rock is the perfect place, as the name suggests, to go and watch the sun set over Keene.

Sophomore at KSC, Nate Wolf, said that he has not yet hiked Mount Monadnock, but would like to before he graduates from KSC.

“When I’m home, my father and I love to go hiking together,” Wolf, who would also consider himself an avid road biker, said.

“Biking is so nice because you get to take such a relaxed ride with beautiful views, and it’s excellent quality time,” Wolf explained. Wolf continued, “It’s much different enjoying a road on a bike than in a car because you really get to know the road during a smooth, fresh ride. Nothing’s better.” Tragakes, having just purchased  a new mountain bike, said he is especially enthusiastic about biking this season.

“Drummer Hill off Elm Street in Keene is good for mountain biking,”

Tragakes explained, “That has some really serious trails. There’s also a cross country course at Stonewall Farm that’s really sweet to ride at.”

For those students who are looking to spend more time in nature, deciding to attend a school in New Hampshire was definitely a good choice.

“I think being outdoors is the best thing you can do with your time,” Tragakes said, “It’s a great way to meet new people and to get out and see the world.”

Jill Giambruno can be contacted at jgiambruno@kscequinox.com