By LAUREN TAYLOR
Over fall break, Campus Recreation’s new program, Outdoor Recreation, held its first Tier 3 trip in Fayetteville, West Virginia and stayed at the Ace Adventure Resort. The weekend began with Bridge Day, an annual event in West Virginia where B.A.S.E. jumpers take the leap off the New River Gorge Bridge.
Bridge Day is the only day of the year when B.A.S.E. jumping off the New River Gorge Bridge is legal.
The bridge itself is the longest steel-span bridge in the western hemisphere and the third highest in the United States. To visualize this a bit better, Graduate Assistant Danny Turner told the group that the bridge is as tall as the Statue of Liberty plus the Washington Monument with about 20 feet to spare.
On Sunday, the group hit the trails for a hike up to an overlook of the New River Gorge Bridge. The entire hike was about seven miles and opened to an expansive view of not only the bridge, but also the surrounding mountains and the New River.
“My favorite experience was hiking to the top of that cliff that overlooked the bridge because it was just breath-taking,” said sophomore English major Mallori Sorensen.
Monday brought the most adrenaline-pumping event: white-water rafting. The troupe suited up in rafting gear and then loaded up at Ace and headed out to the New River, where they dropped rafts in for a long day full of exhilarating and nerve-wracking adventures.
“The white-water rafting was intense at times, but the instructors always made sure we were safe and knew what to do. My favorite was the rafting; it’s something I never would have done without this trip. I really enjoyed it, and we all became closer because we learned and experienced it together,” said sophomore political science major Natalie LeMay.
While there were many big adventures, the break was also filled with many bonding moments for the students who attended.
“My favorite experiences are the little things. I really enjoyed our late-night fires, talking and playing Mafia, watching the B.A.S.E. jumpers jump and sitting on a cliff to watch the sunrise,” said freshman Emily Keehan. “Whether collecting leaves and quoting television shows or having talks in the hot tub, this type of trip gave so many opportunities to bond and make friends.”
According to the students who attended, the Fall Break Adventure Trip was extremely successful in both providing a fun alternative to going home or staying on campus for break and it cultivated more interest in the Campus Recreation department at UMW.
“After the fall break trip, I’d definitely love to participate in any other upcoming events that they have,” Sorensen said.
LeMay agreed, saying, “Campus Rec has a lot of opportunities I think a lot of people pass over or hear about and forget, but they are really worth it. I saw this trip and signed up on a whim, but I’m so happy I followed through and came out of my comfort zone. I’ll definitely pay more attention to future events and attend more.”
Tier 3 trips are described as the “biggest trips” and an “all-out outdoor adventure” on the OREC website. Students filled out an interest survey prior to registering, which gave ample time to prepare, research and get excited for the trip.
Since these trips are overnight and include so many different opportunities for the students who decide to attend, the space is limited and there is a larger fee than Tier 1 and Tier 2 trips carry. However, OREC promises, and the people who attended will contend, that the price is worth it for the amazing experiences. For OREC’s first Tier 3 trip, six students and three leaders attended and all returned with smiles on their faces.