Lees-McRae celebrates Mountain Day

September 22, 2016

Just as the hands on the clock approached the tenth hour Wednesday, an email spread throughout campus.

It read: “Today is Mountain Day.”

Almost instantaneously, students, faculty and staff tied on their sneakers, locked their doors and headed towards Tufts Bell Tower.

As the chimes within the former 1920s water tower rung, students threw flying discs and gathered with friends on the surrounding lawn now strewn with early-fall leaves that fell from the warm sky above.

“Today is a day to celebrate the outdoors,” said Vice President of Student Development and Dean of Students Jon Driggers.

He added that today was also a day to meet new people and relax.

The tradition of Mountain Day stems from Lees-McRae College’s early years.

The College’s founder, Rev. Edgar Tufts—a Presbyterian Minister and from which the tower received its name—one day during chapel service would say, “It’s a good day to climb Beech! (mountain).”

Just as Lees-McRae students, faculty and staff did in a similar fashion on Wednesday, Tufts and his congregation hiked five miles through trails leading to the peak of Beech Mountain.

Once at the peak, they enjoyed a lunch consisting of boiled potatoes, corn and sandwiches before returning home.

In more recent history—Wednesday included—participants hiked their way to nearby Wildcat Lake.

Once there, a few students headed for the lake only stopping a moment before jumping into the cool water.

Some chose to remain land-bound to take a seat on the swing set or grab a volleyball to challenge their friends to a match.

Though the trip may be shorter and the lunch slightly different, hikers still followed the traditional events that Tufts invited his congregation to follow.

Since then, Mountain Day has served as a reminder to retreat into the great outdoors and celebrate the natural wonders that lie just beyond the walls. 

Media Contact:

Nina Mastandrea  |  Content Manager
Tel: 828.898.8729  |  Email: mastandrean@lmc.edu