Backpacking through Palo Duro Canyon and canoeing the Buffalo National River are two options offered by the University Campus Recreation’s Adventure Trip Program for students during fall break this year, a rec center representative said.
The trips are open to all students, faculty and staff, regardless of previous camping experience, said Steve Campbell, assistant director of outdoors programs.
“We teach people how to be comfortable and competent in the outdoors,” he said. “We make sure to provide a lot of instruction, time for learning and growth and developing your skills."
Ellen Thomas, a senior French and film-television-digital media double major, signed up for the Palo Duro Canyon trip, saying she was excited about the challenge of hiking through the canyon. Additionally, she said the trip gives her a reason to buy hiking boots.
Jim Couzzourt, customer service representative for Palo Duro Canyon State Park, said in a phone interview that the wilderness can be a dangerous place if a person is not well-prepared.
Wildlife like rattlesnakes, mountain lions, scorpions and tarantulas all inhabit Palo Duro Canyon, but Couzzourt said no one has been hurt in quite a few years.
“Use common sense, buy good equipment, pay attention to weather conditions, don’t lose your footing and stay hydrated,” Couzzourt said.
Campbell said all Campus Recreation camp staff members are well-experienced in the outdoors and have action plans prepared in case of an emergency.
Joyce Umbach, a park ranger for Buffalo National River, said in a phone interview the water in Buffalo National River is low, and students would have a hard time paddling in shallow places. She said as long as students use common sense in their decisions, they should have an enjoyable time in the park.
Students must register for the trips by Oct. 3 in the Rec Center front office.