Southern Adventures Spring Trip Overview

Southern Adventures

Kurt Hanlon

Southern Adventures, the universities premier resource for outdoor recreational activities, is planning on taking “Adventure Trips” to a variety of different locations this spring, including some trips the program has not attempted before. Ranging from Florida to Texas and all the way to Utah, these trips will provide students with a range of outdoor activities, including kayaking, caving, and skiing.

According to Michael Willett, Southern Adventures Program Director, the fall semester has been a busy one, with a multitude of different trips over a short amount of time. “This semester, we’ve already gone rafting, surfing, backpacking, bioluminescent kayaking, rock climbing, mountain biking and a full moon canoe trip coming up.”

In December, participants will take a backpacking trip to Big Ben National Park, located in Texas and right along the border of Mexico. “It runs right along the Rio Grande, so we’ll be able to get into the water,” says Willett. “It’s a pretty neat place.”

The program will start off the spring semester with a kayaking trip to Cape Canaveral, Florida, where participants kayak right off the coast in sight of launch pads used by NASA. New to the program this spring is a 4 day trip to Zion National Park in Utah, where participants will engage in backpacking and canyoneering.

Another spring trip to Florida, which has been historically popular with participants, is kayaking with manatees. “Basically we’re kayaking in a little lagoon filled with a bunch of manatees,” says Willett. They’ll come right up and bump your boat.”

Willett is particularly excited about another new trip this spring; a week long ski trip in Winter Park, Colorado. While students must pay for the cost of the flight and a trip fee that is steeper than closer trips, Willett is confident that the price is worth it, and almost too good to pass up. “It’s the best deal you’re going to get,” says Willett. “Lodging, ski rental, and lift ticket all for around $700. If you were to fly out there on your own, and pay for four days of all that, you’re going to be paying well over a 1000 dollars right there.”

The majority of Southern Adventures budget comes from the recreation fee, already included in student tuition. This allows the program to charge significantly less for trips than a non-student would find available. “[Tuition] is why we only charge $50 dollars for a 4 day trip to Florida,” Willett explains. “That’s nothing for what you’re getting.”

Transportation is provided by the program. Aside from the upcoming ski trip, Southern Adventures drives to all of its trip locations.

Students don’t need to worry about coming unprepared to a trip. Pre-trip meetings are planned well in advance of the actual event, where the directors will go over things students are recommended to pack, including appropriate food and equipment. “We definitely prepare our participants,” says Willett. “We don’t just send them out there and hope for the best.”

Students can inquire and register for trips at the Southern Adventures Center, located behind the RAC and accessible through Old Register Road.