29. November 2012 20:33
The fifth Leave No Trace (LNT) principle is Minimize Campfire Impacts. This principle is important when it comes to protecting the environment; many forest fires are started in the summer when campers don’t control fires appropriately and in many areas the appearance has been degraded because of the increasing demand for firewood. [More]
6. November 2012 19:12
Today we will be going over the fourth Leave No Trace Principle: Leave What You Find. While this principle may seem like an easy one to adopt, actually putting this into practice can be more difficult than one would think. All too often we pick something up that looks unique or cool and after a little while, it ends up in a box or tossed in the trash. Although this happens all too often, it’s these little things that are slowly changing the wilderness for the worse. [More]
9. October 2012 21:49
As expected, the sunset paddle was amazing! Talk about a perfect evening for a paddle, temp in the mid-70, not a cloud in the sky and the river basically to ourselves. [More]
4. October 2012 20:50
The second Leave No Trace (LNT) principle is Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces. This principle is vital to the preservation of the environment you are planning to travel through during your next adventure. When roaming outdoors, damage occurs when vegetation or other communities of organisms are trampled. [More]
11. July 2012 16:21
If you are interested in buying a road bike there a few questions you should ask yourself that will help you purchase a bike that will be the best fit for you. 1) Are you a new cyclist? What are you really going to use this bike for? 2) Are you training for an event? (Race, triathlon, or fun ride?) 3) Are you looking to commute to work or school? 4) What is your price range?...
21. May 2012 23:27
After returning from 11 days of climbing, backpacking and kayaking, I needed a couple of down days to recharge the batteries. Now that I am fully recharged, and have a little down time, I can tell you all about this amazing Outdoor Recreation Center led adventure.
The first few days of the trip we did some water preparation and climbing. Since we were all starting from ground zero and building skills within a curriculum, the ORC staff had us learn some basic safety procedures and water rescue scenarios in the Gibb Pool on campus. Conducting this training in a pool setting allowed for us students to get comfortable with the skills in a safe environment. After we completed a number of ways to right and enter a kayak or canoe in open water, we made our way to the climbing wall to learn some basic climbing skills and how to set-up a climbing area properly when leading a trip. The instructors were great at explaining not only how to get an area ready for climbing and the proper way to wear equipment, but they gave us reasons why this way is important for safety and uniformity within ORC trips. Each of our trainers taught these tasks a little differently and in their own unique way, while maintaining the basic principles. This type of continuity and cohesion from the staff gave us students a vision of how we should be working in the future.
The following morning we gathered at the ORC, packed our gear and headed out to Granite Point for some outdoor rock climbing. While on the way, roughly a 40-min drive, the instructors didn’t waste time, they gave us information regarding what to do during emergencies at Granite Point and showed us a couple of different launch points for kayaking trips the ORC leads throughout the year. Once we arrived at Granite Point, we gathered the gear and made our way up to the climbing location. A helmet area was designated first to ensure safety while the top ropes wer... [More]
30. April 2012 16:16
Being an outdoor enthusiast, when I heard about the opportunity to get trained in outdoor leadership, I couldn’t resist the opportunity. Aside from my personal desires to gain more experience in the outdoors, I currently work for University Recreation (UREC) Marketing as an intern assigned to the Outdoor Recreation Center (ORC) team and figured gaining additional outdoor leadership experience will only help me become a better UREC employee. Outdoor Leadership Training is an 11-day course provided by the Outdoor Recreation Center to instruct participants how to lead a group into the wilderness through training in backpacking, kayaking and rock climbing.
This past Tuesday was the pre-trip orientation where trainers from the ORC provided all of the students with an overview of what will be taking place during the training. Not knowing any of the other students participating in the course, I was glad when the staff trainers started the meeting with an ice breaker for everyone to get to know each other. They gave us outdoor activity scenarios and asked us to express our “comfort level” with the scenario provided. This was a great way for each of us to see where we are comfortable and where we still need some development. It was reassuring to see other people have some of the same situational comforts as I did. Next, the staff provided guidance on some aspects of the training like Leave No Trace, how to properly pack a backpack for hiking and what to bring and not to bring on outdoor adventures. We finished things up on Tuesday with a tentative schedule of events for the duration of the course (subject to change depending on weather).
Being a leadership course, each of the students teaches several aspects of the course. I chose to provide a brief history of Granite Point, where we will be conducting the rock climbing portion of training; how to read a topographical map, since maps ar... [More]
18. April 2012 21:49
What is a portable stove? – Portable stoves are small, compact, burner assemblies used during hiking or backpacking trips when normal cooking utilities are not available. While many different variations of portable stoves are available, this article will focus on non-self-pressurizing tanks and free-standing burners. This type of step-up allows for a minimal amount of items to carry in your pack and eliminates the need for pressurized bottles.
How do they work? – Typical portable stoves consist of a few different parts that, when combined, provide a powerful and easy to use stove in just about any environmental conditions. The main parts of the portable stove are the fuel bottle, pressurization pump, connection tube and burner. The fuel bottle contains a liquid fuel source in accordance with the burner, typically kerosene, gasoline, diesel or alcohol. Pressurization pumps allows for the user to pressurize the bottle for stove use. The connection tube provides a sealed connection between the pressurized fuel source and the burner assembly. Once these four parts are connected and properly primed, the stove is ready for use. Pressurized fuel is fed to the burner via the connection tube. Upon ignition, the assembly will burn the fuel, thus providing a gas stove for cooking. Many companies have unique fittings for the bottle, pump, tube and stove, so ensure you get matching equipment and test the equipment before taking it on a trip. Also, follow the instructions for the particular burner as steps may vary depending on individual burners.
When should you use them? – These portable units are great for camping, hiking and mountaineering. The set-up and tear-down for portable stoves is relatively quick and effortless. When hiking and mountaineering, size and weight are vital. These stoves allow for hours of use while minimizing the space used and weight added t... [More]
13. April 2012 20:13
What is a Cataraft? – Catarafts, commonly referred to as cats, are a specific type of raft that is used for fishing, white-water rafting and floating. Catarafts were made popular by the Russians, who used them on crazy outdoor adventures. Cats fit less people then on a raft of similar size and there is less freedom to move around – you are confined to the chair all day on the river. However, they are commonly used as a fishing platform and are great for rafting over rougher water.
How does it work? – Unlike a raft, there is no rubber floor that is pushed by waves or gets sucked into holes. Instead, there is the frame in between two tubes. What this means for you as a boater, is that you will have a harder time flipping your raft. Cats can be designed for a number of different functions and many cat owners have designed their cat themselves.
When should I use it? – When you should choose a cataraft over a normal raft is going to be up to your personal preferences. Depending on the type of water you will be encountering, the number of people or gear you want to carry or even how long your trip is, will determine the type of boat you should use. I would recommend doing some personal research on what is out there.
Where can you get it? –The ORC has catarafts available for rent. We have 2 available, and it costs $108 to rent for the weekend!
10. April 2012 22:14
Gathering around a campfire to exchange stories and spend time with friends is one of my favorite parts of camping. Watching the flickering flames and the smell of burning wood instills a sense of calm in me. However, what really puts my mind at ease is knowing that my campfire is not leaving a trace on the environment. According to Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, one of the most important rules to follow when building a campfire is to never burn your trash. Here are a few reasons why.
First, burning items like plastic bottles and bags, miscellaneous tape, batteries, or baby diapers releases numerous chemicals such as styrene, lead, and xylene—all known carcinogens. These carcinogens are then left behind in the ash created by the fire and are also released into the atmosphere. I sure don’t want myself or anyone else to be breathing in those toxins!
Another negative effect of burning trash is damage which accumulates over time. The trash leftover from a fire builds up in the environment causing long term effects. Animals are also attracted and conditioned to human food and trash and will go to extreme measures to seek these items out. Many times, this leads to animals becoming more aggressive and they are then destroyed to keep campers like you and me safe. Consuming human food also disrupts the natural feeding cycles of wild animals. This would occur much less often if explorers were mindful of the waste they leave behind.
Now, how can we go about being more mindful and leaving less waste? It’s simple: pack it in, pack it out. Campers should leave every campsite looking like it has been untouched by human (or gnome) hands. This can be accomplished by packing out all of our trash and either bringing it to a nearby trash receptacle or bringing it home where we can dispose of it appropriately. By planning ahead for our outdoor adventures, we have the opportunity to reduce the volume of our trash tremendously. Packing food in reu... [More]