Going up: by hill or by stair?

Story by Taylor Kuether and Thom Fountain

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The Hill

By Taylor Kuether

Well before even applying to this university, UW-Eau Claire-bound students have a pre-existing knowledge of “the hill.” It’s almost become an urban legend, this massive stretch of pavement and sidewalk laughing at us and separating the classrooms that we toil in from the comfortable dorm rooms that beckon us.ÿ

But it’s not just folklore, the infamous hill is very real. And while it may look intimidating, it is highly convenient. Students that live in the dorms can simply walk down the hill and be deposited in the heart of lower campus, whereas the cryptic and lesser-known staircase behind McPhee leads only to Phillips or Davies. The hill also streamlines the trip for students living in various dorms; three separate staircases on the hill are designated for easy access to Governors, Horan, Hilltop Center or even Towers via just a crosswalk. The tall wooden staircase, on the other hand, can truly only take you from point A to point B.

While many think that trekking up the hill dooms you to agony, it’s actually the reason that we all have such great legs here at UW-Eau Claire. About halfway up the vast vertical incline, you begin to feel a slightly satisfying burn in various leg muscles and decide that just one jaunt up counts as your recommended daily exercise. It perfectly justifies downing an extra Topperstick or five.

The Stairs
By Thom Fountain

I have two words for you: traction and tranquility. That would be my entire argument, but my jerk of a section editor is making me write a lot more.

See, I almost always wear boat shoes. They’re comfortable, fashionable and most importantly hip (especially paired with my exquisite collection of wool socks). Unfortunately, the rubber sole of boat shoes tends to leave the wearer on thin ice when walking on, well, ice.

More than once I have found myself sliding back down the crest of the hill in front of Putnam, arms outstretched towards the railing that is just out of reach. The stairs provide a nice sense of security, allowing you to put one foot in front of the other with unabated confidence.

This confidence allows you to focus on the true beauty found in back of the McPhee Center. The forest seems to envelop the staircase and during the day the sun shines brightly between the leaves. It’s not uncommon to see deer or other wildlife (or the occasional biology major) meandering about the woods.

The platform halfway up the stairs gives you a nice, quiet resting place far from the complications of classes, jobs and a (quickly) declining budget.

The staircase gives students a chance to get away from the bustle of campus and reflect within themselves awhile, something everyone needs to do sometimes. Especially if you’re wearing boat shoes.

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