Alumni News

Spring adventure trips take students into the great outdoors

March 24, 2017 : By Ted Allen/Liberty University News Service

Students camped outdoors during a Spring Break trip to Lake James State Park near Asheville, N.C.Spring is in the air and Liberty University’s Outdoor Recreation department is encouraging students to get outside and breathe it in on one of its many day and overnight trips scheduled this semester.

After starting the spring semester with three ski trips in January and February, Outdoor Recreation offered the fourth of this semester’s 13 trips over Spring Break last week, with a dozen students and staff traveling to Lake James State Park near Asheville, N.C., for a five-day getaway.

“It was a great first Spring Break trip,” said Mariah Herring, assistant director of Outdoor Recreation, noting that the group camped and canoed at the park, spent a day exploring downtown Asheville, and went fishing in local creeks and hiking to nearby Linville Falls. “Everyone enjoyed it, and it was a memorable experience for all the students, who built relationships with each other and had a good time. The majority of them didn’t know each other going into it, and they made friends and had fun.”

She said these off-campus adventures are becoming more popular, providing abundant opportunities for students to explore the beauty of God’s creation.

“April is just packed full of trips,” Herring said. “The weather’s warmer, and it’s a perfect time for students to get away from their studies, take a break, and enjoy the beauty we have in this part of Virginia and the surrounding areas of North Carolina and West Virginia.”

This Saturday, a group of up to 24 students will venture out on horseback along the base of the Peaks of Otter from Reba Farms in nearby Bedford County.

Liberty's Outdoor Recreation department offers fly fishing excursions.On April 1, up to a dozen students will join fishing guides from a local outdoors retailer for a one-day fly fishing outing on the Piney River in nearby Nelson County, Va., stocked with native brook trout. The trip was also offered last fall and spring.

“Everybody caught fish both times,” said Doug Lane, owner of Angler’s Lane in Forest, Va. “This is so high up in the mountains, it’s 6 miles from the river’s source.”

Also in April, students will have opportunities to go whitewater rafting on the New River in West Virginia (April 7); kayaking on the James River from the boat launch in downtown Lynchburg to Joshua Falls 9 miles downstream in Amherst County (April 22 and 29); and bouldering at White Rocks, Va. (April 8).

Those willing to wake up before 5 a.m. can join a hike to an Easter morning sunrise service atop Cold Mountain in Nelson County. Another hiking expedition is planned for April 22 to Humpback Rocks off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Afton, Va. The spring semester events will conclude with a three-day camping experience at Grayson Highlands State Park with hiking trips to Mount Rogers, the highest peak in Virginia, from April 28-30.

Costs to students are minimal, ranging from $5 for the hikes and kayaking trips, to $25 for the horseback riding and fly fishing outings, to $50 for whitewater rafting and camping trips. Registration is open for most events on the Outdoor Recreation page.

Offering so many exciting adventures like these is one reason Liberty is in the running for Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine’s “Top Adventure College” designation, with online voting determining the winner. Liberty advanced to the second round with a decisive win over James Madison University last week and is currently matched up against the University of Virginia in the quarterfinals of the bracket with schools exceeding 5,000 in enrollment. Students can vote once a day for each round, with the overall winner featured in the August issue.

Students and staff hiked to a scenic overview of Linville Falls off the Blue Ridge Parkway as one of their outings on a five-day getaway over Spring Break.