Summer Reading

June 8, 2018

Written by: Mike Ellsworth

Life as a student can be tough and reading through textbooks, discussion posts and countless lecture slides all year long can become draining.  It sucks the joy right from reading.  Which is sad, right?!  But, summer is the time to break that idea and read a book…for fun!  Usually this is the season for “pleasure reading”.  But, that can hard to initiate.

Well, how about we help you out.  Are you looking for something with a flair of adventure and outdoor-minded to read this summer?  I love going through long extensive reading lists and picking out a great selection to dig through in those few short months.  But, scrolling through those long lists can be intimidating and we want you to be successful.  So, here are just a few books to choose from.  Hopefully, there are some titles that you’ve never heard of and that sound interesting or exciting.  So, pick one.  Just one to tackle this summer.  Let us know how it goes!


Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

Alright, so this one you have probably heard about.  But, this is one of my favorite books of all time.  It is the tale of a young wanderer who takes to the sea in pursuit of adventure.  The majority of the story, as we all may know, focuses on the struggle of Robinson Crusoe after being shipwrecked on an isolated island.  Crusoe labors to grow crops, find food, build shelter and protect himself from constant dangers of the island.  Though, cut off from humanity, Crusoe finds God and is comforted in his faith in a way that can encourage any modern Christian.  He finds a peace, despite his depressing situation, which surpasses all understanding.  Away from the comforts of his time, he finds comfort in God and is driven to a spirit of thankfulness and appreciation for Divine Grace.  It is a great story that ultimately points to the nature of Providence in the Christian heart.



Hoosh: Roast Penguin, Scurvy Day and Other Stories of Antarctic Cuisine by Jason C. Anthony

This book is one of the most interesting books on food you will find out there.  Jason Anthony takes a historical look at Antarctic cuisine.  He discusses classic Antarctic adventurers and how they relied on the lousy, rotten rations and various unlikely animals for nourishment.  Be warned, that it is not for the weak stomach, as he discusses that survival often depended on the slaughter of penguin, seal, sled dog, or even pony.  He tracks these historical tales to his modern experiences at Antarctic science stations.  He spent over 8 seasons in Antarctica and shares his stories of food, company and how it all comes together at one of Earth’s final frontiers, the South Pole.


A Wolf Called Romeo by Nick Jans

Are you looking for a nice, feel good story of dog and man?  Well, look no further than Nick Jans’s true story of an Alaskan wolf, who returned again and again to the city of Juneau.  Living on the outskirts of what appeared to be “Romeo the wolf’s” territory, Nick enjoyed a unique relationship with this animal.  His story is one that invokes respect for nature and what is left of the wild of the world.  Nick discusses history and biology of the Alaskan Wolf and how it has led to the modern struggle between wolf and man.  He also discusses the political climate of Alaska and how America’s great frontier is always in a struggle between conservation and inadvertent neglect.  Though he discusses all these in depth, the main tale is of a special bond between wild animal and an understanding individual.  It is a remarkable tale for any animal lover.




Shackleton’s Way by Margot Morrell and Stephanie Capparell

This leadership handbook is a must-read for those interested in leading or managing people.  Morrell and Capparell, two veterans of business and leadership, took the classic tale of Ernest Shackleton and the Endurance expedition and used it to create a modern summary of management “How-to’s”.  They include historical application of Shackleton’s life and habits to create lasting principals.  If the heroic adventurer were to write a book today on how to lead, I believe it would look very similar to this one.  This unique blend of biography, history and experience tested advice is a great one to prepare to lead other men and women in any capacity.



Grand Adventures by Alastair Humphreys

I’ll be honest, this book is on my summer reading list.  I haven’t read it yet, but it comes highly recommended.  Alastair Humpreys is a professional adventurer.  He has cycled, rowed, walked, climbed all over the world and was the 2012 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year and patented the term “Microadventures” in his 2015 book.  Grand Adventures takes the time to discuss all the things that keep us from the adventures we hope to have.  It can be difficult to overcome planning hurdles, time or money before embarking on grand adventures.   Humphreys shares stories of people who have had once in a lifetime experiences and discusses how each of us can overcome the commitments or hurdles that keep us from exploring the world around us.  I hope to use this book to bring enthusiasm and curiosity to my trips and take me somewhere new.  Maybe this book will help you take that mind-blowing summer road trip that you have always planned.


There’s 5 books for you to choose from.  Pick the one that interests you the most, get yourself a copy, hang that hammock up at your favorite campsite and do some summer reading!

Trout at Hydaway Lake

April 11, 2018


Go trout fishing at Hydaway and keep your catch!


Who- These catch-and-keep regulations apply to current Liberty students/faculty/staff and their approved guests (Please check-in with Hydaway staff during operating hours for guest day pass). 

What- TWO daily creel limit, no minimum size. This means that each eligible fishermen can take two trout from the lake each day while fishing at Hydaway.  NOTE- only applies to Rainbow Trout located in the lake.

Where- The lake at the Hydaway Outdoor Rec Center.

When- Started on April 1st, 2018, lasting until May 19th, 2018

Why- Because…

      LUOR has been excited since last November to provide true game fish in our lake.  We have enjoyed a season of catch-and-release where we have been able to offer a unique outdoor experience at Hydaway.  Typically, this can be a costly fish to angle and often requires a trip to mountain streams.  But, we stocked the lake last November and have enjoyed seeing trout being caught by students, staff, faculty and their families for the last 6 months.

   But, Rainbow Trout can only thrive in colder water.  During the spring and summer months the lake will warm to a temperature that will not be able to sustain the trout.  So, we will be offering this one of a kind, catch-and-keep policy to help fish them out.  We hope to provide an opportunity for those anglers who have the desire to eat what they catch.  If cooking up a trout makes you nervous, we recommend you check out these great recipes and be adventurous!  Meet us at Hydaway and we can help you get set up with rods/reels for the lake.  Be sure to let the staff know that you are hoping to catch trout and they will help you with the appropriate tackle.

Have fun!

April trips with Outdoor Rec

April 2, 2018

Written by: Tim Lewis

After a particularly cold and drawn out winter, I am looking forward to longer days and warmer weather! April is finally here and Outdoor Rec offers you some amazing opportunities to get out and enjoy the great outdoors! Here is a quick look at what we have coming up in the next several weeks:

Fly Fishing on the Piney River
My favorite trip and one of the most unique that we offer. Come enjoy a full day of professionally guided fly fishing on the Piney River at Rivenridge Lodge. Angler’s Lane hosts LU each semester at this pristine lodge and teaches us how to cast, select the right flies, and catch beautiful native trout. This trip got me started in the sport years ago and it can for you as well.

Bouldering at White Rocks
Another unique trip that we offer and co-lead with the Rec Centers Rock Wall staff. White Rocks is a unique formation of rocks off the Blue Ridge Parkway that presents plenty of routes to keep you busy ranging from V0-V7. Come out and enjoy a day of learning new skills in a unique setting.

New River Whitewater Rafting
A sellout trip every year. We take a group 28 students to West Virginia to raft one the best whitewater rivers in the world! The world class whitewater paired with the beautiful West Virginia backdrop makes for an unforgettable trip. Alpine Ministries hosts us each year and we are always very excited to return to the Gauley and New Rivers. This overnight trip fills up within hours, so be sure to get a spot as soon as possible.

Horseback Riding at Peaks of Otter
Another personal favorite trip of mine is our visit each semester 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.

James River Kayaking and Paddling Workshop
Our classic Outdoor Rec trip! Enjoy a relaxing paddle down the James River. We put in in downtown Lynchburg and float to Joshua Falls totaling about 10 miles. This is the perfect trip to take if you want a relaxing afternoon in the sun and water.

Grayson Highlands Camping Trip
Grayson Highlands is known for its gorgeous scenery, wild ponies, and Mt. Rogers (VA’s tallest mountain). You will get to enjoy all these things while camping in the nearby state park. We will provide all the food and provide rentals for those without extensive camping equipment. Beat the final exam blues with this awesome trip!

Rappelling Trip
One of our new trips this semester that we have partnered with Urban Mountain Adventures to provide to the LU community. Have you ever wanted to rappel off a cliff before? Try your hand at it with this adrenaline pumping adventure!


Get Started: Fly Fishing

March 26, 2018

Written by: Tim Lewis

       Fly fishing has been a passion of mine for 5 years now. My first introduction to fly fishing was as a student at Ferrum College where noticed a fly fishing trip posted on the Ferrum Outdoors website. Intrigued, I signed up and the next thing I knew I was fishing with Angler’s Lane at their Rivenridge property on the Piney River. I was so mesmerized by the experience that I returned multiple times during my time at Ferrum. Eventually, I purchased and accumulated my own gear and started fishing on my own. I knew I had found a lifelong hobby and passion. Since coming to Liberty University to pursue my masters and career in outdoor recreation, I have had the privilege to reconnect with Angler’s Lane and the local fly fishing community. This has led to part-time employment with the shop as well as the opportunity to be on the facilitating side of LU’s fly fishing trips as an Assistant Director with Outdoor Recreation. From student participant to full-time employee, it has been a privilege to return to the area and share the same trips and experiences with LU students that first ignited my passion 5 years ago.

       What I’ve learned over the years is that fly fishing is growing in popularity, particularly with younger demographics. Younger enthusiasts are catching the bug and finding ways to make the sport accessible and affordable to more audiences. One of the biggest stigmas about fly fishing is the perception that it is an elite gentleman’s sport that requires thousands of dollars before even beginning to catching fish. Fly fishing is really not as expensive and lofty as it appears. Like all hobbies, you can spend as much or as little money on it as you’d like. However, you do not need to start out with a “Cadillac” fly rod; a “Chevrolet” will be fine! I am still using a “Toyota” myself.

       To get started, you will need to purchasae a fly rod and reel combo. These packages come with a medium weight fly rod,

reel, fly line, leader, tippet, storage case, and a few flies; everything you need to catch fish. You can purchase these combo packages for $150 easily. Redington and Cabela’s are my favorites brands. It always helps to know a few people who are already active fly fishermen. Most fly fishermen are more than happy to lend you a few starter flies and helpful hints to get your feet wet. I will forever be thankful to those friends who lent me my first San Juans and Woolly Buggers and taught me how to cast!

       Next, you need to find a good fishing hole. This can be a little more challenging as most self-respecting fly fishermen will not give away their favorite fishing spots as readily as they will a fly from their collection. You need to build connections and credibility. To do this you should stop by a local fly shop, talk to the experts, share stories and pictures, and buy from them; let them know you are serious! In no time, you will have a network of fly fishing buddies who will always be looking for partners to fish with. Fly fishing, as well as outdoor recreation as a whole, is all about networking and connections; who you know dictates what you know. I also recommend purchasing a National Geographic Trails Illustrated map for your area. These maps will show you where the stocked rivers are as well as the native streams. Also helpful is the VDGIF website that offers a plethora of helpful links, maps, and descriptions of Virginia’s fishing waters.

       If you are having a difficult time getting into the sport, I encourage you to come on one of Outdoor Recreation’s many trip offerings! We go fly fishing with Angler’s Lane every semester; a day trip in the spring and a multi-day fall break trip in the fall. We also are always creating new and exciting events on campus such as our Fishing Derby and Fishing clinics. Our partnership with Angler’s Lane has something to offer all ability levels! Many of our OR staff are fly fishing enthusiasts as well and are always happy to share their knowledge and get people excited about the sport! Drop us a line!

State Parks to Check Out

March 8, 2018

Written by: Danielle Ledgerwood

       Virginia has a total of 37 state parks, each individual in their own way, with a diverse range of activities, habitats, and accommodations. Their website boasts that “There is something for everyone!”

If you live in Lynchburg, you’re only an hour away from two of the commonwealth’s nicest parks: Smith Mountain Lake State Park and James River State Park.

The next time you want to take your friends on a weekend getaway, consider visiting one of these great parks.


Smith Mountain Lake State Park—Huddleston, Virginia (45 minutes)

Nestled along the north end of the second largest freshwater lake in Virginia, this 1,148 acre park offers opportunities for a variety of outdoor people.

As far as camping amenities go, the park has 50 campsites that range from primitive (for tents and hammocks) to electricity and water equipped sites.

The park boasts a 500 foot beach for swimming, one of two total public beaches on Smith Mountain Lake (SML). During the summer, these beaches overflow with vacationers and families trying to escape the heat.

If you’re coming to take advantage of absolutely everything SML has to offer, there’s a boat launch in the park to accommodate any sized boat.

The park has plenty of fishing opportunities: there are several docks and a pier to cast a line from. Fish in SML range from small sunfish, varying types of catfish, muskies, perch, to small and largemouth bass.

For families with children visiting the park, there are several quiet picnic areas, a small playground, an amphitheater, and depending on the time of year, different Junior Ranger events and other families activities.

Starting in 2018, the park will introduce a series of geocaching events, a type of scavenger hunt that involves finding hidden items and logging your discovery.


James River State Park—Gladstone, Virginia (1 hour)

Tucked away under the Blue Ridge Mountains, this 1,561 acre park boasts 15 miles of trails and 3 miles of coveted

shoreline along the James River.

In the late spring to early autumn season, there are canoeing, kayaking, and tubing trips available on the James.

For primitive campers, there are 30 sites, equipped with tent platforms, water and electricity hookups, plus a bathhouse and laundry facilities.

For those campers who are less comfortable sleeping in a tent, they can enjoy one of the park’s 16 cabins.

One of the park employees, Joyce Bailey, who has been working there since 2005, says that the cabins stay popular all year. She claimed that in the winter months, people like to come stay in the cabins on site to get away, relax, curl up with a book, and expectantly wait for it to snow.

For bigger groups that need a lot of space, but would rather not camp, there are two lodges available.

Guests who also wish to bring their horses along can utilize the facilities available to house them, then they can ride on the trails winding throughout the park.

       These two parks provide plenty of opportunities to get outside and immerse yourself in nature for a weekend. They both take about an hour drive to get to from Lynchburg: the same amount of time people are willing to drive to Krispy Kreme in Roanoke.

       The state park system has been slowly dwindling in popularity the past few years, and it’s up to the upcoming generation to rekindle the interest and preserve these parks for future generations to enjoy.