Not just a walk in the park
Ever wonder what it is like to go exploring on a trip with Adventure Program? Check out one student’s first-hand account, and get a sample of what you could be doing.
Day 1, Friday:
Putting an end to another long week of school, I closed the laptop, grabbed my bag, and was off to the Student Fitness Center (SFC) to enjoy my weekend with a trip to Giant City State Park for some climbing, hiking, and camping.
As I got there, I introduced myself to the others on the trip. As we all learned each other’s name, we shared what we were most excited about. It seemed that everyone, including myself, was most excited about the opportunity to climb outdoors since most of us had never done it before. We loaded up the van and hit the road, where we told stories all the way down to the park.
By the time we got to the campsite, it was dark and we still had to set up our tents. No one was ready to go to sleep yet, so we decided to go on a night hike. Five minutes in, we turned our flashlights off. The moon shined so bright that it was easy to see without them. For a late April night it was warm, and I couldn’t help but look forward to the beginning of summer. For now, I am excited about tomorrow’s adventure, but I know it’s time to get some rest.
Day 2, Saturday:
The alarm went off and I hit the showers to get ready for the day. (Yes, there were showers.) We loaded up the vans and took a quick drive to the rock face.
I was nervous about climbing but excited for the challenge and the opportunity to hang out with everyone all day. I listened as the staff taught us how to belay, which was great because I had always wanted to learn. During the training, the staff talked about one climbing route in particular: the Chimney. Toward the top of this climb, there was a space big enough to fit only one person into a chimney-like cutout. I challenged myself to climb the Chimney before I left. However, I knew that I needed a bit of practice before I attempted that route.
I decided to climb other routes first to gain more experience. I took a break from climbing to rappel. The staff set up my rappel for me and then instructed me to start walking backward toward the edge of the 80-foot cliff. I’m not going to lie, I was scared. I had to constantly tell myself that there was a rope attached to me. With my hand on the rope for reassurance, I leaned back and was at the edge. I built up some courage and started walking down the cliff face. It was unlike anything else that I have ever done before, but I would do it again in a heartbeat.
At the bottom looking up, it hit me that it was a perfect time to snap a few photos, so I grabbed the camera and took pictures as people hovered 20 feet in the air. Between rappels I took a selfie to document my experience. I vowed to make this a new tradition to help me remember all the places that I have been. Later in the afternoon we packed up and headed back to camp where we fixed dinner and started a campfire. We made s’mores and had many conversations lasting late into the night. I was wiped from an action-packed day, so I headed back to my tent, zipped up my sleeping bag, and immediately fell asleep.
Day 3, Sunday:
The alarm went off, I rubbed my eyes, and rolled over knowing that if I didn’t sit up, I would probably fall back asleep. I scarfed down breakfast as the staff told us that we were going on a hike first thing before climbing. I brought up the rear of the pack as we began to walk to the trail. The trees were lined with budding leaves which was a welcome sign that summer was almost here. Later that morning, we headed back to the rock face where it was now my chance to conquer the Chimney.
The beginning was easy, but the route became more challenging as I got closer to the Chimney. I struggled at first but the support of the other climbers and the experience that I gained yesterday helped pull me through. I conquered the Chimney and wiped the sweat out of my eyes as my newfound friends cheered from below.
We spent the rest of the afternoon climbing and eating the leftover cookies from lunch. Mid-afternoon rolled around and we were spent. We loaded up the van and drove back to campus. I nodded off in the van a little bit on the way home, but spent most of my time talking with my friends about how we weren’t ready to go back to school. We just wanted to climb and camp. As I walked home from the SFC, I thought about all the experiences that I threw myself into over the past few days. I can’t wait for my next adventure!
Find out more about all the amazing ways you can adventure with us on the Campus Recreation website.