Rec Center offers outdoor travels

Rec+Center+offers+outdoor+travels

Photo courtesy of Rec Center Facebook

Francie Johnson

For some college students, spending time in the Great Outdoors means simply lying out by the pool – but it doesn’t have to. The UA Outdoor Rec Center, established in 1999, hosts many day-long and weekend-long outdoor adventures, allowing students to travel and explore the wilderness in Alabama and neighboring states. The majority of trips are beginner-friendly and require nothing more than a sack lunch, a change of clothes and a good pair of shoes. The trips center around a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, rafting, rock climbing and more. Here are the trips currently on the schedule for the rest of summer and early fall.

Rock Climbing

Date: Sand Rock: July 12, Palisades:  August 2

Price: $35

Sand Rock, Alabama, located northwest of Gadsden, Alabama, sits atop Lookout Mountain overlooking Weiss Lake. The area houses a variety of climbing options for all experience levels, from beginner to expert. The Outdoor Rec Center’s beginner-level trip, led by experienced climbers, will feature top rope climbing, a technique in which the rope is placed in anchors at the top of the wall and climbers are belayed from the bottom.

Palisades Park is located in Blount County, Alabama, and has been referred to as “Blount Count’s Best Kept Secret.” Nestled in the foothills of the Southern Appalachians, the park offers visitors the opportunity to climb Ebell Mountain. Like the Sand Rock Climbing trip, no prior climbing experience is required to participate, and climbers will use the top rope climbing method.

Ocoee Rafting

Date: July 19

Price: $50

The Ocoee River, located in Tennessee, boasts a famous whitewater rafting background. The river hosted the whitewater slalom events of the 1996 summer olympics, but one need not possess olympic-level rafting skills – or any prior rafting experience whatsoever – to participate in this trip. This rafting experience will take place on the five-mile long middle section of the river, which consists almost entirely of Class III rapids (rapids are ranked from Class I-VI). Including travel time, the trip will last anywhere from 9-12 hours, with 3-4 hours spent rafting. Participants should bring a sack lunch and wear clothes that can get wet.

Tumbling Rock Cave

Date: September 7

Price: $30-40

Tumbling Rock Cave in Jackson County, Alabama, hosts a variety of attractions, including a saltpeter mine from the Civil War, many flow formations and a totem gallery full of hundreds of stalagmites, stalactites and columns. Tumbling Rock Cave is also home to a 396-foot-tall chamber called Topless Dome and Kings Shower waterfall, one of the tallest underground waterfalls in the United States. The cave is a total of six miles long from beginning to end, and participants of this Outdoor Rec trip will explore three to four miles of that, spending five or six hours in the cave. The trip requires no technical skills, and anyone can participate. Trip organizers will provide headlamps, knee pads and gloves, but students should bring a change of clothes, a water bottle and sturdy shoes.