Spring Break in Death Valley: Adventure Club

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California is an amazing place if you’re someone like me who loves to explore the outdoors and enjoys nature. Though I haven’t been able to experience the California nature as much as I’d have liked to, I’ve managed to hit a couple of exciting landmarks. One of these was Death Valley, where I got to go camping with a group of Mudders during Spring Break!

Since I was already planning to stay on campus during the break, the opportunity to go camping in one of California’s national parks as an Adventure Club was timed perfectly and I had a great time. We went as a group of 9 Mudders across all class years who, despite my initial doubts, were equipped with excessive amounts of gear and food, which is all you really need to have fun camping.

Barren hills and rock formations with the sun beginning to rise in the background

A sunrise that was easily worth the early morning hike and wait. Photo credit: Aanya Pratapneni

Adventure Club is a Mudd only club that regularly takes groups of Mudders on hikes and outdoor trips. Across the 5Cs, there’s also a club called On the Loose, which does its own hikes and tons of other activities throughout the year (I’ve never been to an event, but they always sound really exciting). Since I don’t leave campus much during the semester, clubs like this are an amazing way for me to leave Mudd while also doing something I really enjoy.

clouds above a mountain range with bands of different rock colors running across it

One of many insane Death Valley views. Photo credit: Aanya Pratapneni

Bouldering, hiking, and just witnessing the incredible natural sights at Death Valley were extremely exciting, but the part I enjoyed most was probably stargazing. The park is far enough from major light pollution that you can clearly make out constellations and planets if you know what to look for. My tentmates and I liked it so much that we decided against putting our rain cover up so we could just look at the night sky until we fell asleep.

stars that look like white dots against a completely black night sky

My best attempt at capturing the stars. Photo Credit: Aanya Pratapneni

My first Adventure Club trip was definitely a success, and I loved that I got to meet so many other Mudders through the experience. I’m definitely excited to go on more trips during the next few years even to less exciting places because I know that the people I’ll meet will always make it worth it.

This blog was written by: Aanya Pratapneni '26. Intended major: Computer Science. Bangalore, India.