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Hike Safe Tips

April 16, 2021

Written by Mike Ellsworth, Director of Outdoor Recreation

The outdoors has a lot of wildness in it; it’s this wildness that draws us to it. We like to hike on an uncultivated trail and paddle a river that feels untamed. The exhilaration is palpable, and it often drives us to reach outside our comfort zone. Though, often these moments begin to welcome unnecessary risk. Our “danger-senser” takes a back seat to sense of adventure.

I can think back to a few moments (that I’m not proud of), where I chased that exhilaration just a bit too far. Whether I wanted to look fearless in front of my friends or independently paddle that river that I wasn’t ready for. Moments like my own are what have led the drive for our Hike Safe initiative. These are a simple set of guidelines to help you stay safe on your next adventure.

Plan Your Trip Carefully

We all glorify the “last minute adventure,” but if you are having an adventure there is probably some element of risk. So, be sure to do your best to minimize that risk. It is important to take the time to know as much as you can about where you are going and what you are doing. Don’t count on your cell service, it will often abandon you when you need it the most.

Hike With a Buddy or Tell a Friend Where You Are Going

Be sure that someone knows where you are going and when you will be back. If they don’t hear from you, they know to call the local authorities or to come looking for you. This has helped me out on more than one occasion where I broke down and was without my cell phone.

Stay on the Trail

On-trail is measurable safer than off-trail. Usually trails are clear of poisonous vegetation, animal homes and keep their distance from dangerous terrain. Be sure to stay on the trail and abide by all the posted signage.

Practice “Leave-No-Trace” Ethics

Taking care of the environment is first loving God. He created the Earth and stewardship becomes an act of gratitude towards the Creator. So, check out these ethics and do your best to abide by them on all your adventures.  Environmental stewardship should come easy to Christians.

Pack the Right Gear

First, be sure to bring more than enough food and water for you day. Be sure to bring more than you think you will need. Having that extra bottle of water or additional granola bar can make a difference when you need them. Second, get a small first aid kit that comes with you on all your trips. There are lots of great resources out there to help you pack it.

Now that you have the simple set of guidelines, there are a few other things to always have in mind as you hike.

Every Trail is Dangerous

Think about each footstep you take down the path.  You take those strides lightly as you walk, jog or run them with ease.  Though, even a short (3 mile) hike could take several hours for an EMS crew to carry stretcher.  All it takes is a sprained ankle or broken leg to turn a fun daytrip into an overnight evacuation.

Every River or Lake is Dangerous

Without a PFD, it can be very easy to be swept under a light current.  Death by drowning can occur in just a few short seconds.  Because the James River is so accessible, often people go for a “short” river tube trip that turns into a 8 hour float and 2 hour hike back to their car!  Be sure to plan and prepare.  Know where your river-on and river-off points are.  And ALWAYS wear your PFD.

Every Cliff Face is Dangerous

Though, it can make for a sweet selfie, stay on the trail. Crabtree Falls is a beautiful and well-known hike for Liberty students, but it has a dangerous reputation. It is important to stay on the trail and abide by all trail signage. Signage is there for a reason and you are not the exception.

I don’t say these things to inspire fear, I say this to inspire preparedness.  We consider it our responsibility to encourage safe exploration and safe adventurers.  Whether it is your first hike on LU mountain, or you regularly head out on week-long backpacking trips, these rules should be applied to ensure that you make it back safe and sound.

How to Live a More Sustainable Life

January 18, 2021

Written by Maria Campanella, Assistant Director of Hydaway

Here at the Hydaway Outdoor Center, we do our best to take care of the environment and practice Leave No Trace principles. This has inspired me to live a more sustainable lifestyle and to be more aware of how things in our day-to-day life affect the environment. Making the jump to a completely sustainable life is a long process, but here are just a few things that you can start doing whether you live on campus or off to decrease your impact on the environment.

Compost

I know, this seems like a drastic thing to put at the top of the list, but this is actually a simple way to be more sustainable. Keeping fruit and vegetable scraps and dropping them off at a local compost station is a great way to reduce waste. We have a compost station at Hydaway now where people can bring in their waste!

Make Your Own Everyday Items

There are so many recipes out there to make your own everyday items without chemicals. Here are some of my favorites that I have tried and some that I am hoping to try soon:

  1. Laundry Detergent
  2. Dish Soap
  3. All-Purpose Cleaner

On top of these, it is helpful to use bar soaps instead of plastic bottles for as many things as possible.

Reusable Coffee Filter or Keurig Pods

I know many of us enjoy coffee, but K-Cups and coffee filters are a big contribution to waste. You can purchase a reusable K-Cup filter or coffee filter, whatever you prefer, at Walmart, Amazon, Keurig’s Website, or Kohl’s.

Reusable Utensils

Eating fast food and using plastic utensils is something we probably do more often than we realize. Switching to reusable utensils is especially good for on-campus students when eating meals with plastic utensils is an everyday thing. There are affordable alternatives to this — like these!

Reusable Grocery Bags

This is such a little thing, but the amount of plastic grocery bags that you get at the store can so easily be avoided. Many places have them right at the checkout to purchase and they are way bigger than the plastic bags you get. There are also some places, like Kroger, that have a paper bag option at the self-checkout which is another good sustainable switch to make that is simple and easy.

Shop Sustainable Fashion

Fast fashion is an easy trap to fall into. It is convenient, cheap, and trendy. However, so many fast fashion brands are unsustainable and make their products in poor conditions. This website is a great resource to see which brands you love are eco friendly and which brands you should consider withholding purchases from. GoodOnYou will also provide eco friendly alternatives to the fashion brands you love!

Thrift

Buying things secondhand is a great way to reduce waste! This goes for clothes, books, household items, and more. This also goes for getting rid of things. When you have moved on from an item of clothing or a household item, donate it to Goodwill instead of throwing it out entirely.

Eat Plant-Based Foods

Lastly, if you really want to make a bigger change towards sustainability, eating more plant-based is a great way to help the environment. Amazingly enough, one-fifth of global emissions come from the meat industry. Making a small change and eating less meat and more of a vegetarian diet can help the environment in a big way.

You can do all of these or just a few if you’re interested in helping, but these are all just some simple ways that anyone can make a difference.

Trail Etiquette

January 8, 2021

Written by Katy Ward, Outdoor Adventure Manager

When you hit the trails, you are probably looking for some quality time in the peaceful wilderness. Chances are, you will run into someone else with the same mindset. You’ll have to share the trail, but who is supposed to step off and let the other pass? Do you just both awkwardly squeeze through a space meant for one person? Or do you both step off and do a little dance until someone quickly walks through, avoiding eye contact? Believe it or not, there is a proper way to handle this situation.

At Campus Recreation we offer programs that assist you to stay on track such as Personal Training, Group Exercise Classes, Intramural Sports, and nine facilities that are here to meet your needs and holistic well-being during your time at Liberty. So, this year, take 2021 by the reins, and seek to be your best self in all phases of life. To help with this, we are offering some great deals on all our fitness programming at LaHaye Recreation & Fitness Center, so check them out below!

Hiker v. Hiker

You’re hiking to the top, pushing for your destination and someone is coming down the trail in front of you. What do you do? Proper etiquette says that you have the right of way. Hikers headed away from the hike’s destination should move to the side, allowing upwards hikers to pass. This is because the hike up is almost always harder than the hike down. It boils down to common courtesy; if you have seen the views, allow others to get there too.

When hiking in a group, be sure to be kind. Stay in a single file line as much as possible, but especially when others are common. Keep voices low, allowing others to enjoy the sounds of nature. Avoid playing music through a loudspeaker of any kind. This can be disruptive for others and for yourself. Take your time in the woods to listen to the noises God has melded into a beautiful song.

Hiker v. Biker

Avid mountain bikers can zip around corners and down trails, which can be intimidating to a hiker. The first instinct is for the hiker to move to the side, but etiquette has the biker yielding to the hiker. Most mountain bikers will call out when they are coming quickly down a path or around a corner, to alert any possible pedestrians.

While proper etiquette says the hiker has the right of way, it is going to be easier for the hiker to move out of the way. It is important for either party to stay alert for each other, to avoid any possible accidents. If it is safer to move out of the way, forget etiquette and stay safe.

Hiker v. Horse

When you are hiking, it is probably rare to run into a horse, but it is not unlikely. If this should happen, correct etiquette allows the horse and rider to pass first, whether they are coming up or down. They are the slower party and horses can be flighty, so it is necessary to let them do their own thing. Hikers should move to the side and admire the beautiful party as they pass.

Remember to be soft and quiet when a horse approaches. You do not know what may trigger them. Stand still and under no circumstances should you reach out to pet the horse unless the rider offers first.

Be Kind. Be Courteous.

Overall, just be kind and treat others as you would like to be treated. If it seems appropriate to move out of the path, even if you have the right of way, just do it. Throw a smile and a “hello” to the passerby and continue your trek as soon as possible. Enjoy the sights and sounds that the woods have to offer.

DIY Camping – George Washington National Forest

December 10, 2020

Written by Eljiah Stanley, Outdoor Adventure Manager

Greetings from Campus Recreation! Fall is upon us and that makes for perfect camping weather and beautiful mountain scenery. If you are looking for a quick getaway that will take you into rugged and beautiful forests, look no further than the George Washington National Forest.  This protected forest is only forty minutes from Liberty’s campus and is a camping and adventure paradise.

George Washington National Forest

George Washington National Forest holds a plethora of welcoming riverside campsites that are large enough to host you and your most adventurous friends. Hunting Creek Road in Big Island, Virginia is the best access to plenty of free, first-come, first-serve campsites that are neighbored by a gorgeous trout-filled river. Any vehicle can easily make the trip up the gravel road to the campsites, making it easy to unload and set up tents or any other camping gear. These camping areas are best suited for tent camping and most include a small fire pit.

Freeze-Dried Dinner

After you’ve set up camp, and you have started a fire, it is the perfect time to start dinner. Freeze-dried Mountain House meals are tasty, lightweight, and packable entrees made just for camping. We have been using them on our trips this semester, and we have really enjoyed them. My personal favorite is the chicken & fried rice entrée. They are so easy to use — all you need is some boiling water! Simply bring two cups of water to a boil, pour the water into the meal container, stir, and wait for five minutes. Then, your delicious fireside meal is ready to enjoy! Mountain House meals are ideal for any outdoor adventure and offer a variety of options for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The most ideal way to heat water for your Mountain House meal, your coffee, or tea is the Jetboil personal cook system.

The Jetboil is a safe, easy-to-use system that is made to boil up to one liter of water in a surprisingly short amount of time. Just screw in a propane source to the bottom and press the ignition. Within minutes you will have boiling water to make your ideal fireside meal. Jetboils are lightweight and efficient, making them a practical piece of gear that every camping enthusiast should look to acquire. But, if you aren’t quite ready to buy your own, we have some available to rent at the Hydaway Outdoor Center!

Campsite Fishing

Now that dinner is taken care of, what’s next? Perhaps you and your friends would be interested in wetting a line in the clear, trout-filled water of Hunting Creek. If you have a fishing rod, you’ll definitely want to add it to the packing list. Merely feet away from your campsite is a premier brook trout fishery. Fishing this stream makes for a fun after-dinner excursion.

As you wrap up your evening, take a moment to stargaze the immaculate view from the George Washington National Forest. Fall nights in the Blue Ridge mountains can be frigid, so always remember to prepare your gear accordingly. A down sleeping bag with a low-temperature rating is the ticket to staying warm when camping in the mountains. Also, remember to pack lots of layers as the fall weather in Virginia can change rapidly. With the proper gear, clothing, and the best of friends, you will be ready to enjoy a secluded weekend of fireside chats and gorgeous scenery. As we near final exams, a weekend getaway will be the remedy to your academic induced stress!

Exploring Blue Ridge

November 6, 2020

Written by Carter Brackman, Hydaway Outdoor Center Manager

It seems like we are all pressed for time these days. We all need time where we get away from the normal schedule of each day and refresh. What is the best way to do this? How about taking a free Saturday and going on a nice day hike? With the fall weather setting in it is the perfect time to explore the outdoors! If this sounds like something you would be interested in then Virginia’s got you. This post recommends that you wake up early one day and explore two of Virginia’s most beautiful and underrated hikes.

First Things First

Hike with a Group
When exploring new places it is always a good idea to bring along some friends. There is something about being in nature that just brings people together. It also helps ensure your safety as you travel and hike. Also, make sure to tell someone outside of your group of your location and estimated hike time to just cover all your bases.

Comfort and Protection
You want the hiking experience to be as fun as possible. Comfort level is a large contributor to this. Some of the following items could be packed: snacks (trail mix, bananas, granola bars), sunscreen, mini first-aid kit, rain jacket, bug spray, water, and a backpack to store it all in!

Location

It can be difficult to find the trailheads of certain trails. We recommend using resources such The Outbound or AllTrails to learn about the difficulty, length, and location of the trail. You should also take into consideration the time it will take for the hike and the weather. And always stay on the designated trail!

Recommendation #1 – Mount Pleasant

The first stop that you have to make is Mount Pleasant. Mount Pleasant is located in Vesuvius, VA. This is a great hike for beginners who desire a longer distance hike (roughly 5 miles round trip). Most Lynchburg locals have heard of Cole Mountain right? Well, Mount Pleasant is the sister mountain of Cole Mountain. The Mount Pleasant trailhead is within a half mile of the Cole Mountain trailhead, which are both located off of Wiggins Spring Rd in Vesuvius, VA. At the summit there are two lookouts: one east facing and one west facing. Cole Mountain can be seen from this summit. The Mount Pleasant Scenic Area is part of the George Washington National Forest and does not require any passes or permits for entrance or hiking so enjoy the hike!

Recommendation #2 – Spy Rock

Spy Rock is located in Montebello, VA. The views from this hike are unbelievable. This hike is also located in the George Washington National Forest. This is a shorter hike (roughly 2 miles round trip) which provides a 360 degree view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Spy Rock is a great location for camping as well. The Spy Rock Trailhead is located near the Montebello Fish Hatchery which provides hikers with a small parking area. Look for signs that point out the Appalachian Trail and take a left. This trail will take you over to Spy Rock.

Hopefully after reading this you feel better prepared and more excited for a hiking trip in Virginia. Remember that the best trips start with great planning. Be safe!

Outdoor Gear Review: Kammok Mantis UL

October 23, 2020

Written by Luke Whitmire, Hydaway Outdoor Center Manager

Camping is a wonderful way to spend an extended period of time in the outdoors. It provides a way to connect with nature by unplugging from our daily lives and intentionally spending time sacrificing the comfort of our homes in favor of being outside. One of the best ways to enjoy this time is to utilize a hammock tent setup rather than a traditional tent. The hammock tent provides several comforts and conveniences that set it far ahead of the traditional tent.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Hammock Tent

There are several advantages that hammock tents provide. First, the hammock provides a comfortable escape from the ground filled with rocks and roots. This allows for camping in many different locations or on hills that would be impossible for tent camping. Hammocks can provide a safe haven above waterlogged campsites and critters. Additionally, most hammock tents provide a lightweight alternative to tent camping. Although high-end minimalistic tents can provide a light shelter, the average hammock tent offers more comfort at a lower weight and often with a lower price point. The hammock eliminates the need for any sleeping pad, eliminating more gear and weight from your pack. The convenience of these advantages provides many reasons why hammock camping might be the right switch for an avid camper.

Although I am a strong proponent of the hammock tent, it does not work for everyone. Despite the comfortable setup, it does not provide as much ability for socialization. In rainy weather, it forces everyone back into their individual hammocks rather than fellowship in a shared tent. In addition, a tent allows for easy storage of extra gear and equipment away from the elements. A hammock tent can provide this, but extra clips, rope, or a gear hammock is often required to suspend gear above the ground under the shelter of the rain fly. This might detract some from making the switch.

Overall, I would recommend everyone to make the switch. Although it may not be worth it the purchase for short car camping trips, it is the obvious choice for any extended stay in the outdoors, especially for backpacking trips or where space or weight capacity is in short supply. If you are looking to switch up the way you experience camping, a hammock tent will change the way you see camping.

Kammok Mantis Ultralight Review

On a whim, I purchased a Kammok Mantis Ultralight hammock tent. At a price of $259, this kit offers a hammock, sewed in bug net, rain fly, and a set of ultralight straps. This offers an all in one package that comes in just below 32 ounces (or 19 ounces without the rainfly), making it ideal for anything from a weekend car camping trip to a week-long backpacking trip. The material is light, durable, and comfortable. It is made with a ripstop fabric that helps to prevent damage to the material. Initially, I was very impressed with the size of the tent. Everything, including the hammock, straps, bug net, rain fly, stakes, and guy chords, packs down into a pouch only slightly bigger than the average water bottle. The setup is very easy and intuitive, making an easy and quick set up and tear down. I have used it around six times and have been very pleased with its performance on each trip! It has yet to fail me and provides an excellent combination of convenience and comfort in the outdoors.

Although this set up might be towards the high end of your price range, there are many cheaper alternatives that will provide a comfortable hammock tent set up. There are many alternatives that each have different advantages and disadvantages. Check out these resources for additional information: Beyond the Tent | REI | Clever Hiker

 

 

Capturing the River

September 4, 2020

Written by Katy Ward, Outdoor Adventure Manager

The river. Complexly magnificent. It does not matter which river; they are all majestic in their own ways. The way the water flows, the rocks that have found their places at the bottom, the trees that seem to be holding onto the edges of the banks, the fish that frequent the shallows—each aspect is individually beautiful. But, together they paint a vivid masterpiece.  It seems now with our phones, screens, and constant communication that we have a harder time connecting with natural spaces. We want to take the quick picture and post about the experience. I would challenge each of you to soak up your next experience using all 5 senses. Rivers and water can be so comforting, and I hope you are able to get out on one and practice this wellness exercise!

Look

When you come to a river edge, take a minute. Look around. Watch as the water moves around the rocks and fallen trees. See the sparkle of the sun reflecting off the river. Gaze upon the breeze as it blows through the trees and bushes. Is the water fast? Or is it a nice steady flow? Is it crystal clear or a little murky? Watch the dragonflies dart around, only resting for a moment at a time on the water’s surface. There are so many things to take in and they are all simply beautiful.

Listen

Stop. Close your eyes and just listen to the river. Hear the water trickle and bubble. Concentrate on the sounds that the wind makes blowing through the trees and rippling the water. Listen to the crickets and frogs and birds while they sing their songs. Do you hear any billowing waves? Can you hear the peace in the air? It is calming and beautiful.

Now open your eyes and listen. Do the noises change now that you can see what is causing them? Be aware of them, but do not be scared, it is all-natural.

Feel

Step into the water, ankle-deep. Feel the current against your legs. If you close your eyes, you will probably feel the power behind the river, it might even unbalance you a little bit. That is okay, bend with the flow of the water. Run your hands through the river. It will give you a brand-new understanding of being in tune with creation.

Smell

Slow your breathing down and focus on the scents. The air on the river is most likely the freshest air you have ever smelled. It is crisp and new. The smells are probably the most underrated aspect of any trip, but especially on a river. The aroma will seep into your body when truly immersed and concentrated. It will help to relieve tension and stress.

Taste

The hardest of the five senses is taste because you definitely should not drink the river water. Please do not do that. But make sure to pack food and yummy snacks for your day on the river. Slim Jims and Fruit Smiles are a fan favorite with our personal trips, and they always seem to hit a little different when on the river. Take your time eating, notice every flavor, using your taste buds to their fullest capacity.

Use All Your Senses

A river can change you. It will change you if you give it the opportunity. It will push you to try new things and challenge the way that you look at the world. Look for the beauty, listen for the harmony, feel the heartbeat, smell the seasons, and taste the snacks. On your next trip, make sure to slow down and walk through each of your senses at some point, making your experience deeper and more meaningful. Capture the river for all it has to offer.

 

      The Iron Path

      July 17, 2020

      Written by Tim Lewis, Assistant Director of Outdoor Adventure

      This summer we visited NROCKS Outdoor Adventures in West Virginia to tackle the Via Ferrata. Privately owned by NROCKS, the Via Ferrata at Nelson Rocks is a climbing and traversing adventure using steel rungs and cables to move up the rock face rather than climbing on the rock itself. The term “via ferrata” is an Italian word simply meaning “iron path.” Via Ferratas trace their heritage back to WWI when soldiers constructed them to quickly move across the Italian Alps.

      Today they are a popular recreational pastime for the thrill-seeking adventurer. While the climbing does not require a specialized skill for climbing technique, choosing appropriate routes, or placing hardware, it does demand a certain level of physical and mental equilibrium, a skill essential to any climber and outdoor enthusiast.

      The Via Ferrata

      Upon arrival at the NROCKS lodge, we met our guide who framed the day for us and provided us with a thorough safety briefing. Next we harnessed up and grabbed our double set of carabiners and made our way to the cliff face. After a short, yet steep hike, we came to the base of Nelson Rocks where we discovered the conspicuous steel rungs and cables spiraling up the cliff face and out of sight.

      The first section introduced us to the technique and rhythm of the Via Ferrata without overwhelming us with too much elevation or exposure. After 15-20 minutes of climbing, we came to the edge of the first rock formation. A quick peak around corner revealed the massive valley below us and the rest of Nelson Rocks; the first taste of what was to come! At this juncture, we had the option of turning back as NROCKS strategically placed an exit point along the route. After taking a moment to take in our surroundings and truly put our trust in our harness and connection points, we continued along the opposite side of the wall we had just climbed, except this time several hundred feet in the air and surrounded by open valley below.

      The Bridge Crossing

      We continued traversing on the wall for 30 minutes or so, taking time to take pictures and appreciate the view. Shortly we came to the end of the second section and made it to the 200 foot long bridge stretching to the second cliff towering above us. This was the second and last exit point for the rest of the tour and a good opportunity to check our mental and physical preparedness for the next leg of the climb.

      Crossing the bridge was really something out of a movie and certainly one of the most exciting parts of the day! The swinging bridge was supported by incredibly strong steel cables that allowed us to clip in and slide all the way across without having to clip into multiple sections as before. Crossing the bridge can be done at your own pace and is a great opportunity to take pictures and trust your footing. Once we reached the second wall, we were committed to finish the last half of the climb.

      The Final Climb

      After 20-30 minutes of climbing we reached the edge of the second rock face where we would leave the valley and begin traversing the opposite side of the wall. At this point, we were still relatively exposed but no longer had the second cliff as a reference point; all we knew was that we were going up! After another 30 minutes or so, we came to the final leg of the climb, an optional 100 foot climb to the summit of Nelson Rocks. By this point, it seemed like a reasonable challenge and an experience not worth passing up. After a short climb we came to the very top of the Nelson Rocks fin which was no than 4-5 feet wide and hundreds of feet from the valley floor where we began that morning. The first thing we noticed was just how far down the bridge was from us. We had climbed so far and high since then! This was by far the most spectacular part of the day and the best place to pause and soak it all in. After 20 minutes or so of enjoying the view, we down climbed the 100 foot wall and then made our way to the forested slope nearby to finish the climb. We had conquered the Via Ferrata!

      Expect to see this trip in early September on our calendar. We hope you will join us for the trip of lifetime!

          Facility Series: Hydaway Outdoor Center

          June 5, 2020

          Written By Victoria Dissmore, Marketing Employee

          Pack your bags, all you outdoor-adventure lovers out there! Grab your bug-spray, granola bars, and sense of adventure and head down to Liberty’s very own outdoor recreation facility: Hydaway Outdoor Center. There are so many fun, outdoor opportunities at Hydaway, less than 5 miles from campus. If you don’t have a car, you can request an On-Demand Ride through Liberty’s transit system. There really is no excuse—adventure is calling!

          Camping

          One of the activities Hydaway offers is camping for Liberty students, faculty, and staff. You can reserve a campsite for Friday and Saturday nights during the school year, complete with a fire pit, plenty of tent space, and bear boxes for food storage. Each site is only $5 per night, and with your Flames Pass you can rent camping equipment, including tents and sleeping bags, free of charge.

          If you’re looking to go on an off-campus camping adventure, Hydaway can rent out all the camping equipment you need, including a hiking backpack, a camp cook set, and even a flashlight. Check out the website for a complete list of available items at a low cost.

          Hydaway Lake

          Another feature of Hydaway Outdoor Center is the beautiful Hydaway Lake. During the school year you can take part in a variety of lake-fun activities, including…

          • swimming
          • lounging on the beach
          • going down the waterslide
          • jumping off the floating dock (no diving!)
          • kayaking
          • canoeing
          • paddleboarding
          • fishing

          Full time students, faculty, and staff with a valid Flames Pass can check out boats and fishing equipment from The Outfitter to be used on the premises at no cost. The equipment can also be rented to take off campus at a low cost.

          Fishing

          The Liberty community and general public can spend a relaxing day at Hydaway Lake fishing an array of fish species, including largemouth bass, pickerel, sunfish (like bluegill and crappie), and, in season, rainbow trout. If you don’t have your own equipment, you can check out poles and tackle boxes from the Outfitter.

          For information about fishing rules and regulations, please visit the website.

          Zipline

          For all you thrill-seekers, take a ride on the Hydaway zipline! You’ll start by climbing up to the launching platform and securing your harness. From there, you’ll have two options: attach the line to your back and soar like a bird to the other side. Or, attach the line to your front so you’re in a sitting position as you zoom through the air. The line ends safely on grass, not in the water.

          Programming

          Students can go on a variety of trips throughout the school year as a part of Hydaway’s Outdoor Adventure program. Past trips have included white-water rafting, caving, spring break camping, and river tubing. Check out the website and stay tuned on social media for trip announcements and a calendar.

           

          The Liberty Mountain Trail Series is also a part of Hydaway’s programming. The facility hosts several different types of themed races in both fall and spring, including 5Ks, 2-milers, and half marathons. Participants get specially designed t-shirts for race day and a chance to compete for prizes.

          Challenge Course

          Hydaway’s very own challenge course is a great way to test your limits and practice critical thinking skills. Trained staff will guide you and your team through different activities, encouraging you to think outside the box and work together in order to complete your challenge.

           

          Activities will train balance, teamwork, self-trust, courage, and physical strength.

           

          Groups of 8–12 people are ideal for our sessions. The challenge course staff will work with you to customize your experience and make sure that you get the most out of your time. Ideal sessions last around 2–4 hours. Visit the website to learn more about the different experience packages your team can choose.

          Events

          Hydaway also hosts a variety of outdoor events throughout the school year, including…

          • Bonfire Nights
          • Zipline Saturdays
          • Wellness in the Wilderness

          Stay updated on Facebook and Instagram for event announcements.

          Facility Reservations

          If you’re looking for a place to host an event, Hydaway has great outdoor and indoor spaces available to reserve.

          • Hydaway Pavilion
          • Multi-purpose room and Kitchen
          • Bonfire Area
          • Woods Pavilion

          Visit the website for more information on seating capacity, available amenities for each facility, and how to reserve.

          As you now know, Hydaway Outdoor Center has a lot to offer! If you’re craving time in the great outdoors, be sure to visit when school starts again to make the most of this blessing!

              Hammocks: The New Way to Hang Out

              April 16, 2020

              Written by Joe Frey

               

              We have all seen them around Hydaway and the trails, most of us own one and we all love using them!  Hammocks.  There may be a bit more to this fancy piece of fabric than you know.  So let’s dive in and discuss the hammock; both as a means to “hang out” with friends and a great camping option!

              The History:

              To better understand the hammock it is important to know the history and how it has been used in the past.  Hammocks have been around for hundreds of years.  As history goes, the hammock was invented by Mayan civilizations as a way to protect them from the environment around them.  They were then adopted by sailors as a way to ease sea sickness during voyages.  Used widely in the 16th century all the way to our present time.

              In 2016 there was dramatic rise in interests among hammock.  The term “hammocking” became a trendy phase among millennials to describe a social way for them to “hang out” with their friends.  People realized you didn’t need to be camping in a forest, you could put you hammock up anywhere. With this rise in interest outdoor enthusiasts also began to use the hammock more as a means of camping.  Making the decision to leave the tent at home and only bring a hammock.

               

              Benefits of Hammocks:

              1. Health: It has been proven that sleeping in hammocks provides better circulation, better sleep, and eases muscle aches. Much of this is due to your body being in an “optimal sleeping position” and there being zero pressure points on your body. It also takes us right back to that “cradled baby” sensation that we remember from our early months of life.
              2. Adventure: Having a hammock can be a great motivator to get outside and find a new creative way to hang your hammock.  Hammocks are a great thing to bring on a hike as they take up little space and have many uses.
              3. Above the safety line: Whether you’re backpacking, camping, or just napping being above the ground will ensure you are out of the wet, mud, and critters.
              4. Multitude of Uses: Much of the increased use of hammocks can be related to their many uses.  Hammocks can be used as a chair, bed, blanket, and more.  Other uses can come from their straps and carbineers that many include.  After taking a course in wilderness medicine it is also very apparent that hammocks have many survival uses.  To learn more about the uses your hammock has be sure to check the manufacture’s suggestions for use.

              While this is a short list, I hope that it opens your eye to some of the many benefits hammocks can have in your adventures.  They are very useful tools and I want to encourage you to do your own to research to see how your hammock can best serve you.

              Check out these reviews from Popular Mechanics and The Adventure Junkies to start hanging out with the rest of us!