Students prepare for upcoming camping trips
Students carried their backpacks in and out of the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center and placed their gear into waterproof bags provided by Outdoor Adventures to prepare for their camping trip to Village Creek Canoe in Kountze.
Adventure-seeking students who are interested in canoeing or climbing but are intimidated by their lack of experience should not worry. Erin Daniels, instructional assistant for the Outdoor Adventure program and a first-year sports and fitness administration graduate student, said that all the activities were created for beginners.
“Oftentimes, they either believe that it is for advanced level of participants or that we can’t do anything because we’re not in a good area for it,” Daniels said. “So really, you don’t have to have any experience in order to come to any of our trips.”
Located in the Recreation Center, the Outdoor Adventure program started out small, with managing the climbing wall as its only responsibility. In the past, gear was rented out to students, but trips were not offered until five years ago. A year later, Caleb Wells entered the scene as the assistant director for the program.
“He has pretty good experiences in the past about where to go,” Daniels said. “When he came in, he shaped the program.”
In determining the trips for this fiscal year, Daniels said the staff plans a year in advance and goes over where they would like to go.
“We look at which trips have been successful in the past, where people have said they wanted to go,” she said. “We also looked at places that we know about or that we have heard about within in the industry, and within that, we also want to try and have a variety of sports.”
The most popular day trips are the horseback riding and biking trips to the farmer’s market. The most popular of the longer trips is the trip to the Grand Canyon. The program also has one big trip coming up during the Thanksgiving holiday, which will be in Florida this year.
One of the trips takes place at Village Creek. The creek is close to the Houston area, but many people do not know about it. “It has a lot of cool wildlife. It kind of feels like you’re out in the woods when you’re out there, even though it’s relatively close to the city,” Daniels said. “It’s just removed far enough that it’s peaceful.”
Students who go should expect to see armadillos, squirrels, birds of prey and a variety of plant life.
The Outdoor Adventure staff holds pre-trip meetings, and usually meets only once. However, circumstances vary depending on the nature of the location. In last week’s meeting for the Village Creek Canoe trip, students practiced paddling on a canoe at the facility’s pool.
“We let people paddle and practice paddle skills that they may have not otherwise known,” Daniels said. “We try to make people as comfortable with the activity we’re doing as possible.”
There were many first-timers on the trip, including studio art painting junior Justin Henderson.
“I always wanted to camp, but I never really had a chance,” Henderson said. “So I found it on the (Outdoor Adventure) website. I hope to not only meet new people, but learn about nature as well.”
Hotel and restaurant management sophomore Connor Thorpe was ready for adventure.
“The main reason for the trip was for the memories and the experience,” Thorpe said. “We’ve already done a bit of outdoor stuff before, so really, we’re not going to be learning that much new. Well, we may out in the Texas wilderness. We don’t know that yet.”
In addition to trips, climbing and gear rentals, the program also offers clinics such as kayaking and rappelling.
“I’ve been canoeing and kayaking a couple of times, so I knew it was going to be a fun experience,” said kinesiology junior Iain Sutherland. “I’m just generally excited about seeing a new place, like a new environment I’ve never seen before. I enjoy going out in the wilderness and getting away from the city.”
For more information, contact the Outdoor Adventure at (713) 743-9512, or email at [email protected].