By Holly Renner
Enchanted Rock is a place of reflection, serenity and relaxation or — in this case — extreme adventure.
Baylor’s Outdoor Adventure will embark on a weekend excursion to Enchanted Rock, Reimer’s Ranch and San Marcos River from Oct. 18 to Oct. 21 to give students an opportunity to experience the adventurous side of Texas through various outdoor activities.
“It’s a lot of fun because the students are able to test out so many new things in one experience,” said Cody Schrank, director of Outdoor Adventure. “It’s not a trip that’s like a five-star resort. It’s total participation.”
Participants will set up their own tents, cook their food and carry their own gear.
Schrank said the program was designed this way so students could feel confident in their next camping endeavor.
The last day for registration is Sunday.
The nine available spots are full, but students can hold a place on the waiting list by signing up at the front desk in the McLane Student Life Center.
The event costs $135 per-person, and it includes meals, instruction, equipment rental and transportation for the weekend.
Schrank said this event is an equipment-intensive trip featuring stand-up paddleboards, harnesses, kayaks, bikes, helmets, boats, tents and stoves for cooking.
In addition, four trained guides, specialized in each activity, will lead the trip along with Mark Mullert, coordinator for Outdoor Adventure, and Daniel Jepson, Baylor Marina manager.
Schrank led the same trip during fall break last year, and said the event was such a success that Outdoor Adventure decided to hold it again.
“It was definitely a fun and good taste of Texas for Baylor students who haven’t seen these things,” Schrank said.
Mullert said Outdoor Adventure likes to change things up each year, so returning participants can have a new experience.
Last year, activities included hiking, biking and rock climbing.
This year, Outdoor Adventure will incorporate stand-up paddle boarding, mountain biking through Purgatory Trail in San Marcos and white-water kayaking.
Students will meet in the Student Life Center at 4 p.m. Thursday, to begin their fall break adventure.
The team will start the journey on Oct. 19 at Enchanted Rock State Park, located in Fredericksburg, where they will camp, hike and climb all day.
Transportation will be provided by Outdoor Adventure.
Exclusive to Baylor students, this trip provides the opportunity to bond with new people over the three-day period.
“Some students are afraid they don’t know other people on the trip,” Schrank said. “But it’s like a mini-summer camp experience.”
Over the course of the weekend, Outdoor Adventure will offer white-water kayaking on the class-two rapids in San Marcos, where the staff will teach various rescue techniques, such as what to do when a kayak capsizes.
This trip does not require students to be at an advanced fitness level for all activities, though advanced routes can be taken.
“We don’t want students to feel intimidated,” Schrank said. “We allow them to challenge themselves. They choose the challenge.”
Schrank said beginner participants can climb right next to advanced participants, so every person can choose his or her own pace.
However, this program can be physically challenging.
Schrank said last year’s group called the program the “beginner hardcore trip.”
In the midst of challenging physical activity, there is a time for rest. Mullert said when he and Schrank led the same trip last fall break, he woke his students before the sun rose, and they hiked their way up Enchanted Rock.
“This is supposed to be a break,” Mullert said. When they reached their destination, Mullert told them to sit, journal and relax in silence.
He said it was a time to neglect thoughts of school or other stressors and to just exhale.
Baylor graduate student Becky Louber participated in the fall break trip last year and said that if she could, she would do it again.
“The experience was great overall because there were different levels of ability, so anyone who was willing and excited could do the actitivities,” she said. “There was not a point where you felt like you couldn’t do it or didn’t fit in.”