WKU ORAC to take students on spring break backpacking trip

Izzy Lanuza, News reporter

This spring break, the WKU Outdoor Recreation Adventure Center will be taking nine students on a 13 mile backpacking trip through Cherokee National Forest on a section of the Appalachian Trail. 

Samuel Talbert, ORAC outdoor coordinator, hopes to teach students necessary backpacking skills for any trips they take in the future.

“We have lots of experiential education lessons planned,” Talbert said. “By the end of the trip everyone will have learned all the skills necessary to backpack on their own safely and responsibly if they ever choose to do so in the future.”

Students that go on this trip will learn how to pack backpacks, cook in the backcountry, set up and take down camp, the “Leave No Trace” Principles and how to travel in a group. 

“Education is an important aspect of all the trips we offer,” Talbert said. “We want to emphasize the fun aspect of recreating outdoors while using it as a nontraditional classroom setting to teach people in ways that their minds aren’t necessarily engaged in a classroom setting. And we’ll play lots of fun games, tell lots of stories and riddles while we hike, and share delicious meals together.”

Students’ biggest concerns when signing up for this trip included sleeping outside for four days in a row and being able to carry everything they will need in one backpack. 

“[These] are pretty common concerns,” Talbert said. “Everyone will get used to the process during the first day we start hiking.”

The first day of hiking is when everyone will adjust how their backpack fits and get a good sense of what is comfortable for them. Talbert said everyone will also sleep well, since they will be getting a good amount of exercise during the day. 

“Your body’s rhythm gets more in tune with the rising and setting of the sun since you aren’t surrounded by artificial light sources or staring at phone or computer screens for multiple hours a day,” Talbert said. 

The last day to sign up for the trip is Wednesday, March 8. There are only three more spots available for students.

Reporter Izzy Lanuza can be reached at [email protected].