Liberty hosts Event geared towards escaping to the outdoors allows Liberty students to seek wellness

Liberty’s Outdoor Recreation team is trying something new this semester: hikes focused on mental and spiritual wellness. 

These monthly hikes, called “Wellness in the Wilderness,” are about 90 minutes long and geared toward students. Led by student workers, the hikes are intended to give students a way to escape main campus and venture into nature’s green arms.

On the first Monday of every month, students can meet at 4:30 p.m. in the Snowflex parking lot trailhead to participate in these hikes at no cost.

During the hike, students have opportunities for quiet reflection, journaling or reading the Bible. Phones and other devices are allowed, but the leaders ask students to turn them off and take a break from technology. Students are also asked to keep chatter down.

Timothy Lewis, the assistant director for Outdoor Recreation, said the purpose behind these hikes is to provide students a way to seek stress-relief. 

“We just wanted to have an opportunity to promote wellness, stress relief, nature, spirituality, things like that,” he said. “We like it just to be a very no stress, no expectations kind of event.”  

Students who participated in the March 2 hike began by meeting at the trailhead near Snowflex. From there, they set off for a two-mile hike. At roughly the halfway point of the hike, students were encouraged to find a place to sit and quietly reflect or meditate on God’s Word. 

“We encourage journaling, we encourage people to bring their Bibles, and just have that time to reflect or write down anything that comes to mind,” Lewis said. “And then we’ll circle back and bring everybody back to the parking lot.” 

At the end of the hike, students shared about their experience if they felt led to do so. 

The hike is based off of the energy levels of the students. If the group is feeling a bit more daring, the student leader will take them on a two-mile hike, but if they are more relaxed, they will only go for one mile. 

For students who are not outdoorsy or overly adventurous, Lewis said that the hikes are not focused on ability level or how willing a student is to explore. Rather, they are focused on taking time to think and process in the quiet of nature. 

Lewis encouraged students to not worry if they would be capable or not.

 “Come as you are, and we will accommodate you,” he said. “We’re open to all ability levels, and we really want to just encourage you to try something new.” 

For this event, it is not about how far or how well students can hike, Lewis went on to explain. 

“This hike doesn’t require any prerequisites, or any skills,” he said. “It’s just come in your tennis shoes, in your sweatpants if you want, and just meet us up on top of the mountain.”

The next hike is scheduled for Monday, April 6.

Smith is a news reporter.

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