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### Keeping Cozy: Monmouth College’s James Godde and Students Brave the Cold

A navigation error on the way to Pico Duarte delayed a portion of the travel group from Monmouth College, but they eventually reached the summit.

In Monmouth, Illinois, on January 24, 2024, a captivating two-week January-term expedition to the Dominican Republic, led by Monmouth College biology professor James Godde, was filled with remarkable experiences and the delightful Caribbean climate, making it hard for the group to bid farewell.

During the trip from December 31 to January 13, Godde was joined by current students Emilie Cain (‘24) from Lake Villa, Illinois, and Grace Gibbons (‘24) from Altona, Illinois, along with 2023 graduates Amanda Dybal and Grace Simpson.

Godde ensured that each day of the itinerary had an element of adventure, with memorable experiences in the caves of the island, including encounters with spiders, snakes, and bats, as well as a cave with a lake inside.

Among the highlights of the journey was a visit to Cueva del Chico, where the group had the opportunity to swim, and exploring the capital city, Santo Domingo, on their final day.

The expedition also included a challenging three-day hike covering approximately forty miles to the summit of Pico Duarte, the highest peak in the Caribbean, standing at over 10,000 feet in honor of Juan Pablo Duarte, a key figure in the Dominican Republic’s history.

During the trek, two students mistakenly ascended the second-highest peak after taking a wrong turn in the darkness before sunrise, resulting in a 22-mile hike. Guides were essential for certain parts of the trip, such as whitewater rafting and navigating waterfalls.

Looking ahead, Godde plans to lead another journey in May 2025, this time across the south of England on a walking tour reminiscent of a pilgrimage from The Canterbury Tales, covering 137 miles along the Wessex Ridgeway.

The upcoming adventure promises a unique experience staying at British inns and savoring traditional English cuisine, a departure from the flavors enjoyed in the Dominican Republic.