ORC Spring Break Trips to Florida and the Grand Canyon
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The ORC, or the Outdoor Resource Center, is a part of the Office of the Campus Recreation. The Campus Rec office is at 092 Student Union, but the ORC is located at 037 Student Union just past the rock wall. The ORC is “for those who wish to get involved with outdoor excursions – ranging from hiking in the Grand Canyon to kayaking lessons.” The organization did just that over Spring Break with two separate trips.
The Guardian Newspaper sat down to interview graduate students Alex Keller and Erin Sherrets to talk about the Spring Break Trips. Keller, the ORC’s graduate assistant, lead the Grand Canyon Backpacking trip. Sherrets, the ORC’s office manager, lead the Florida Paddle trip. Both students fondly recall their trips, showing off pictures and telling stories. Keller talked of her trip first.
Nine people all together went on the Backpacking trip – Matt McKinley, Tyler McGeary, Zack Heackman, Andrew Correll, Nathan Butt, John McCabe, Brandon Lease, and Stacy Boone. “We do this trip every year, but planning starts in the fall of the year before,” Keller explains. “It takes about six months to a year to get permits.” The Grand Canyon trip is popular, according to Keller; it sells out every year and there was a seven percent waiting list this year. For the trip, each person was expected to fly out to Phoenix, Arizona separated where they would meet up and stay one evening in a hotel.
The following morning, the backpacking group hiked 8.2 miles in a 6,400-foot descend into the Canyon. “It was a really hard first day,” Keller admits. On the second day, the group hiked an additional five miles, while the third day was a rest day. In the morning, they hiked down to the Colorado River where they hung out on the beach all day.
It is not a trip for beginners. “We do require a fitness test to pass, just because it’s a really strenuous hike and you have to carry all your own food, water and gear, which can add up,” she explains. “A gallon of water weighs eight pounds.” It’s best to contact the ORC yourself and get the information before signing up for a trip you might not be ready for.
Keller recalls that the group of guys that went were “just awesome, super positive and just into being themselves in the wilderness.”
At one point during the journey, the group had to climb 2000 feet over a mile. It was strenuous and hard, but Keller remembers one part clearly. She looked down to see if other people are getting up okay and saw one participant reach down and grab the hand of another participant to help them up.
“So, not only was this a trip about personal growth and adventure, but there was a huge amount of teamwork and comradery that went into this trip,” Keller concluded about the trip.
For the Paddle trip in Florida, twelve people went all together. Sherrets, and co-leader Jenn Subler, led members Jeremy Spencer, Ryan Morgan, Adrianna Dimasso, Catherine Evers Smith, Erin Halloran, Kyle McGeary, Ellen Belbeck, Matt Demaro, Sadan Sunnesh Menon and Clara Leedy (group photo) on the Paddle trip. Two people were roommates, but otherwise, no one else knew each other in the group.
This group traveled to Silver Springs, Florida in one of Wright State’s Campus Recreational vans. Sherrets described the trip as intermediate, but a few members of the group hadn’t been camping before. This created a few interesting challenges, but by working together, they all got to know each other really well. “That’s what I love about these trips,” Sherrets said. “Not only is a big step to go camping or go paddling for the first time, it’s also a big step to immerse yourself in a group of people that you never met before. It’s inspiring – those people who do take that step to immerse themselves in a group of strangers, and by the end of the week everyone’s just great friends.
The Paddle group did go camping, but it was more relaxed and the risk wasn’t as a great. While in Silver Springs, Florida they went on an event called Juniper Run, which is a seven-mile canoe/kayak run in Juniper Springs Recreation Area. Normally, the run takes about four hours, but with this particular group, it took a little longer. The recreational boats they brought along weren’t supposed to tip and were designed to go straight. “Instantly, we had a few people who were tipping,” Sherrets said. “We ending up giving one of the girls a trail name as the Titanic because she sunk the unsinkable ship.”
The trip was hard, but the group “had a blast.” The got to see alligators, otters, manatees, and other wildlife while on the Juniper Run. It was secluded and challenging, but worth it. “At the end of it we were all laughing because we were all wet and we didn’t think we were gonna be wet,” Sherrets says. The group also went on a day trip to Daytona Beach where they attempted to go surfing and had fun watching each other crash and fall off.
Did you do anything fun or go anywhere interesting this Spring Break? Or were you stuck at home, working? Next year, if you don’t have anything planned and are interested in this trip, stop by and visit the ORC at 037 in the Student Union, call (937) 775-5019 or email at [email protected]