Fall Trip Preview

September 6, 2018

Written by: Tim Lewis

       It is always exciting to start a new school year! Meeting new friends, taking interesting classes, and enjoying community is all part of the Liberty University experience. This fall, how about exploring the adventurous side of LU with an experience in the outdoors?

       We are already three trips into the semester, but here is a quick highlight of our remaining adventures.  What do you think of our Fall calendar?

9/15 Bouldering
Each year we head up to White Rocks, VA to climb and solve problems off the Blue Ridge Parkway. The outdoor bouldering problems range in grading from V0-V7.  We recommend that you climb at lease V2 to attend this trip. But don’t let the bouldering jargon scare you, we will have Rec Center Rock Wall staff there to instruct and facilitate the trip, so beginners are welcome!

9/29 Rappelling
Next, is our rappel trip with Urban Mountain Adventures this year! We always enjoy heading up to Raven’s Roost Overlook off the Blue Ridge Parkway to rappel the cliffs. This trip offers an opportunity to see the outdoors from a new perspective while safely scaling a rock face. If adventure and new experiences are on your bucket list, come enjoy this trip with us!

9/29 Horseback Riding
Each semester we enjoy a trip to Reba Farm Inn & Saddle Soar in Bedford, VA. This privately owned farm offers students a unique chance to ride rescued and rehabilitated horses in a beautiful mountain setting. This unique Western riding experience also allows for a chance to run your horse and learn confidence in leading your horse on the trail.

10/4-7 Fall Break Whitewater Kayaking in WV
Looking for a multi-day adventure in the outdoors? This trip will take to West Virginia to paddle the New River where you will encounter rapids up to Class III! We will be paddling and training for the river by day and camping in nearby Babcock State Park and enjoying good food and campfires by night. If this sounds up your alley, sign up today!

10/5-7 Fall Break Fly Fishing on the Jackson
Always a favorite trip year after year, we will be heading up to the Jackson River in Covington, VA and staying in an authentic fly fishing lodge. Angler’s Lane is generous enough to let us stay and fish their private stretch of the Jackson for several days. Brown and rainbow trout are abundant in the Jackson, and this trip allows opportunities to catch big ones! You will not want to miss this fall break trip!

10/13-14 Whitewater Rafting
Each year we head to West Virginia to face the mighty Gauley River! This world-class whitewater mecca is only runnable for a few weeks out of the year and we take advantage of it. Alpine Ministries provides us with expert instruction and facilitation down the river and provides us with a delicious lunch and devotional on the river bank. Spots fill up quickly, so be sure to secure your spot as soon as possible!

10/13 Caving
This will be out second trip to Crossroads Cave in Millboro Springs, VA! The James River Grotto is kind of enough to lead us into the underground labyrinth of the cave and show us a new way to adventure. We will provide headlights, food, and transportation. All you need to bring is your sense of adventure and a change of clothes.

10/24 Moonlight Horseback Riding
We love it when we get to visit Reba Farm Inn & Saddle Soar twice in one semester! This time we are going at night to enjoy the full moon. Slip into the fall spirit and come enjoy a moonlight ride followed by a cozy bonfire at the foot of the Peaks of Otter.

All registration information can be found on our Trips Page.  What are you waiting for?!


Preparing for Failure

September 6, 2018

Written by: Joe Frey

       Working as an outdoor professional, I have learned a lot.  I’ve attended several training and received certifications to keep myself and the people I interact with safe in the outdoors.  There are certain precautions that I take before going on any type of adventure and certain equipment that I always like to have with me.  As I continue to accumulate all of this information, I often am concerned about the dangers of being ill-prepared.  I realize that other outdoor adventurists may have no clue about the precautions and equipment that they need to stay safe on a simple hike or excursion. 

       We all seem to love the idea of adventure, but often ignore the risks that go along with it. Though, we have all heard of disastrous and heartbreaking stories that have happened in the outdoors, we still don’t think to take the necessary precautions.  I think that we all need to be learning strategies and taking steps to promote safety in the wilderness. 

       In my experience, the most important strategy to avoid disaster is the idea of a “float plan.” The float plan is nautical terminology for writing down your trip details before departing.  This includes the destination, number of people going with you, time leaving, time coming back, and any other possible problems (cell coverage, high water, darkness).  The original purpose of the float plan was to keep captains and their crews safe, but I think we should apply the concept of a float plan to our everyday adventures. 

       For me, whether I’m hiking, camping, or just headed downtown, I tell someone where I will be going and what time I plan to be back.  Along with this, if I am going somewhere or doing something with more risk (water activities, dangerous hikes, extending hiking trips) I will set a time that I need to check-in with that person.  While this may sound like a hassle it can be extremely helpful in the event that something does go wrong.  Mother Nature is powerful and we never know when tragedy may strike.  I encourage everyone to get a “buddy” or a couple “buddies” to contact when going on your next adventure so that you too can prepare for the unprepared failure.


Stay safe! 

 

*While the main focus for this post is not gear, check out REI’s Day Hiking Checklist, which can be a great tool for any type of adventure, not just hiking.

*Also a great resource, this is an article written by a retired U.S. Coast Guard maritime incident investigator, bringing perspective to the idea of a float plan and communicating that plan.

*Also, if you have not heard the tale of Aron Ralston, be sure to read about his near death experience in a Utah canyon.  Aron feels that his lack of communication was “one of the greatest mistakes I’ve made in my outdoor career”.


Free Falling

September 4, 2018

Written by: Katy Ward

       I am not typically afraid to try new things. There isn't much that scares me. I tell people all the time, "God will take me when and how He wants me, so I'm gonna keep living my life". That's the mentality I have whenever I am considering something with risk, or when someone questions a stupid decision I made. And I fully believe in that statement! I do not know when Christ will come down to take me home, so I try my best to live my everyday the best that I can, including trying as many new, exciting things that I can.

       These past 2 weeks I have been in training for my job at school. I love my job, absolutely love it. I get paid to be outside and hang out with people who are my family when I'm away from my family. In these 2 weeks, we have learned a lot of new things and recapped a lot of old information. This year, I was determined to go off the zipline for the first time. I pumped myself up, told everyone that I was going to do it. I was ready. Then I got to the top of the podium, everyone said "Go Katy!" and I froze. I couldn't do it. I just stood there, looking at the ground thinking "what the heck did you get yourself into?!". I knew for a fact that the zipline and the harness and the people at the bottom were all safe and that none of them would let me down, they would keep me secure. I also knew that I would love it after I did it, after I just jumped off. But I could not make myself jump. I trusted the entire system, I just didn't trust myself. So, I chickened out. Now, I was not embarrassed to back out, I felt no shame for it because I have told myself that I will never go through with something that makes me feel unsafe, insecure, or uncomfortable (in most situations). I walked down, took off my harness, and left the situation as if it hadn't even happened. Of course, I kicked myself a little bit for not just doing it, but I do not regret my decision...

 

Read the rest of Katy's story from staff orientation on her blog!


Summer in the 'Burg

July 23, 2018

Written by: Danielle Ledgerwood

 

Summer in Lynchburg has a certain flair to it.  

Once you get used to the Southern summer trifecta: insanely frequent thunderstorms, the sweltering combination of heat and humidity, and the relentless hordes of mosquitos, it’s actually quite nice. 

There’s a stillness in the summer. Time slows down, days feel longer (especially when there’s light until 9 p.m.) and thoughts of school drift from your consciousness. That is – unless you’re one of the lucky few still in town for intensives.

During the summer, the majority of the Liberty student population is mostly absent, meaning the restaurants and local attractions in town aren’t nearly as crowded with college aged kids.

The most frequent question I find myself asking: what is there to do?

When the weather cooperates and the air is not sweltering, there are a lot of things do outdoors that are both physically active and fun.

After a day of adventuring, you can always support the local minor league baseball team, the Lynchburg Hillcats, by going to one of their games at Lynchburg City Stadium. If you just want to unwind over good food, the patios at Bootleggers or El Jefe, or the rooftop at the newly reopened Virginian Hotel, are all perfect atmospheres for a quiet sunset dinner with good company.

               When the weather is inevitably unbearable and you just need a break from it, there are a few things that I found keep me entertained indoors:

  • If there’s one thing Lynchburg has in abundance, it’s coffee shops. Whether you stop by The White Hart or Dublin3 downtown, 5th Street Grind or the new Bedford Ave hotspot Golf Park, or just stick to a local staple like The Muse, Bean Tree, or Third Wave, you’ll never find yourself very far from your favorite caffeinated beverage.
  • Summer DIY projects. Build a desk, paint a canvas, or sand and stain your coffee table. Get your living space ready for the school year or just reorganize your closet.
  • Get yourself a Movie Pass. Trading off between the Regal Theater at the River Ridge Mall or the discount Venue Cinema, it’s a perfect way to spend an afternoon and get out of the humidity for a while.
  • If all else fails, get in your car, blast the AC, put on some good music, and cruise down the Blue Ridge Parkway.

There’s lots to do in Lynchburg if you give it a chance. Get creative, get together with friends, and find something in this city to make your summer days fly by.


Small Steps of Stewardship

July 6, 2018

Written by: Asia Allen

Recently I have been researching popular hiking trips and camping locations, and one article in particular has resonated with me. The Path More Traveled by Wally Smith was featured in the Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine, which I might add, has some great reading and information about life in the Blue Ridge Mountains! Smith talks about one of his favorite swimming holes and how in the recent years it has become so popular and even over-crowded on most hot, summer days.

"I think it is beneficial to adopt a sense of stewardship in our small adventures, as well as our daily lives."

The tone of his words struck me as one conflicted by emotions. He speaks about the recent boom in the outdoor industry and how that has significantly helped the economy of local small towns near popularly visited sites. Yet, he also communicates how many national forests and local natural attractions have been swarming with locals and tourists.  It is not hard to look around and see the negative impact on the natural environment – a plastic water bottle laying alongside a trail along with its companion or a food wrapper a few feet away. 

While I am a strong supporter for being outside experiencing the beauty and simplicity of nature, I also share the hesitant feeling of wondering what impact these large groups will have on that same beautiful landscape. As we start to experience our natural surroundings, I think it is beneficial to adopt a sense of stewardship in our small adventures, as well as our daily lives.

There are a few ways that one can practice small steps of stewardship:

John Muir once said “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”
 

I think it is equally important to enjoy the outdoors, as well as let others enjoy it after you. Consider how your actions affect not only the hiker behind you, but also the generations to come.

 


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