Armstrong Students Travel to see Tallulah Falls

By Gabriel Williams, Staff Writer

Cat Spears (Middle) poses for a picture with students as they hike down the North Rim trail.

This past weekend, Armstrong students traveled to Tallulah Gorge, Georgia for a camping experience as part of a trip offered by Armstrong’s Outdoor Adventures Program.

Armstrong Adventures, an outdoor program sponsored by the Student Recreation Center, was initiated to actively engage students in fitness and wellness by participating in various outdoor activities. This program has been active on campus for approximately six years.

Tallulah Gorge State Park, a 2,689-acre Georgia State park, is indigenous to nature’s most beautiful wildlife including Bears and the Peregrine Falcon, the largest falcon over most of the continent. Other great features of the park included extensive trails and lakes, a beautiful sand beach, and historical statues and monuments.  

The most memorable sight visitors come to witness is the suspension bridge that sits 80 feet above the spectacular and intense Tallulah Gorge waterfall which is approximately two miles long and 1,000 feet deep.

Cat Spears, Armstrong’s Outdoor Adventure & Facilities Graduate Assistant, served as the trip leader and coordinated several different camping activities.

For one camper, Olivia Roddenberry, a senior biology major, the trip was a great experience considering this was her first trip with Armstrong Adventures. “I really had a lot of fun hiking down to the Gorge even though I was mad at the steep stairs” Roddenberry stated.

Forrest Collins, another senior biology major, stated “Walking over the Gorge and seeing the moon left me in suspense.” Collins has participated in several outdoor trips including an overnight caving experience in Cumberland Caverns located in Tennessee.

In addition to walking over the suspension bridge, campers learned how to properly set up a camping tent which seemed more complexed than conceived.

One of the activities Spears coordinated involved learning about the seven principles of “Leave No Trace Behind”, a concept designed by the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) to help educate recreationists about sustainable and eco-friendly ways to minimize human impact to the environment.

According to NOLS, this includes “leaving what you find” to restore the environment back to its original setting for other visitors. Even though it is tempting to pick up a rock and keep it for personal matters, it is recommended to just take a photo with that item.

Spears also showed campers how to prepare instant and healthy camping meals including “Gadoo-Gadoo Spaghetti”, a classic Ramen Noodle recipe topped with Peanut Butter sauce and other spices. Campers were very impressed with the texture and feel of the recipe.

Furthermore, students got a chance to hike down the North and South Rim trails to get a better view of the awe-inspiring and breath-taking Tallulah Gorge.

Now that Armstrong has consolidated with Georgia Southern University, students may now participate in the adventures programs offered by both the Statesboro and Savannah campuses. Southern Adventures, Georgia Southern’s Outdoor Adventures Program, has offered many exciting trips to its own students such as Rock-Climbing, Sea-Kayaking, and Canoeing.

Collins stated, “I’m excited to see special perks like these along with free printing and access to other special programs and events being offered to students across all three campuses.”

While this year’s expedition served as Spears last trip as a graduate assistant, she is confident that the next graduate assistant will provide students with more great experiences of the outdoor world.

“I have enjoyed seeing students multiple times on my trips” Spears stated.

“I would like to see Southern Adventures partner up with the new graduate assistant and offer a shuttle bus for students to commute to trips on both campuses” Spears added.

As employers implement tougher guidelines into the job recruitment process, it is important that one participates in as much programs and activities as possible to not only benefit themselves internally but to also build a well-rounded profile to present to employers.

Collins stated, “Accolades are nice, but experiences shape you.”

The best advice Roddenberry could give to incoming students is “to be involved and do as much as you can to put on your resume.”

It is imperative students take advantage of opportunities like these to build experiences and possibly connect with others that can help them in their educational career.

More information about upcoming trips for the remainder of the semester may be found on the Armstrong website.