It’s today, it has to be today. The ketchup dispenser is missing from the dining hall, campus tours have all been canceled, and it can’t be a Tuesday or Thursday because of nursing clinicals. Besides, they can’t wait until next week — it’s almost October!

Each student has their superstitions when it comes to Mountain Day, the 150-year tradition that celebrates a school-wide, day-long vacation. Students stare eagerly at their phones, willing the mass email to materialize, prepared to bolt from the classroom at the telltale tolling of the bell at 10:05 a.m.

Although the bell rang a bit later this year (10:07 a.m.), it only added to the suspense. Junior biology major Matthew Kelly ’21 explains, “The bell rang late. I was sitting in the dining hall with my friends and they didn’t even take all the ketchup dispensers, which is usually the giveaway. And then it was 10:05 a.m. and there was nothing, so we were like ‘dang it’s not Mountain Day,’ and then at 10:07 a.m. we all went crazy because the bell rang.”

Mountain day students hiking to the top

Many students were surprised when Mountain Day fell on September 20th. “I was not expecting it to be on a Friday. I was in the middle of my internship at Windy Hill when I heard the bell,” said creative writing major Ashley Cheviot ’20. Nevertheless, at the blast of the email and clang of the bell, everyone rushed to their rooms, threw on their freshly-dyed t-shirts, and hopped onto the college vans for the ride to Mount Kearsarge.

Which trail did they choose: the lengthy, easier path or the quicker, steeper side? Either way, every Charger hoofed it up the mountain in time for the coveted group photo. After sticking around the summit for individual photo-ops, signing the banner, and admiring the view, everyone descended back down to the base, motivated by the barbecue awaiting them.

“It was hard, but it was worth it once we reached the top,” commented nursing major Smriti Sapkota ’21.

“It was my last mountain day and it was beyond memorable. I enjoyed every minute of it,” said Iman Pereira, senior psychology major.

Once bellies were filled and feet tired, it was time to return to Colby-Sawyer, perhaps for a well-deserved nap. As the college vans peeled away from Mount Kearsarge, the students glanced back, bidding farewell. Until next year.