Baylor offers spring break adventure to students

Students hiking during one of Baylor's spring break adventure trips last year. This year students have the chance to explore the Grand Canyon, the Paria Canyon, Colorado or the Pecos River. Photo courtesy of Jeremy Yarbrough

By Julia Vergara | Staff Writer

Baylor’s Spring Break Outdoor Adventure Trip registration is officially open, offering the chance to explore the Grand Canyon, the Paria Canyon, Colorado or the Pecos River.

Jeremy Yarbrough, senior coordinator for Outdoor Adventure, said these trips provide participants with an opportunity to challenge themselves and share this experience with other Baylor students.

“You know, it’s school, school, school and to be able to take four or five days just to relax — It just kind of helps rejuvenate and recharge students for the rest of the semester,” Yarbrough said.

The options for the Spring Break Outdoor Adventure Trip are very different from each other. However, they all offer an incredible time to get away, to unplug and to be able to have a real break, Yarbrough said.

Yarbrough said the Grand Canyon trip includes four nights and five days of hiking down into the basin, camping there and then hiking back up. Initially, there will be one big group that will then split up to take two different routes into the basin.

The Paria Canyon is considered a “slot canyon,” or a very narrow canyon, Yarbrough said. On this trip, students will start off in the narrow part of the canyon, hiking along the Paria River, which feeds into the Grand Canyon.

“The walls can be as wide as your shoulders and 200 feet tall and as you get closer and closer to the Grand Canyon, it widens up and you’re in that same typography as the Grand Canyon,” Yarbrough said.

In Colorado, participants will be going snowshoeing and ice climbing, Yarbrough said. The ice climbing portion will take up two days in the Ouray Ice Park, a man-made, world-renowned ice climbing park. Students will spend the first day on a “beginner wall” then move on to much larger ice climbing pitches down in the canyon.

Those on the Colorado trips will be spending a day snowshoeing out onto a lake and two nights snowshoeing out to back-country huts, Yarbrough said.

“So they’ll actually take their backpacks, sleeping equipment and food and they’ll backpack to a back-country hut, spend the night, come back out and then do that another day,” Yarbrough said.

While there is no prior experience necessary to go on any of the Outdoor Adventure trips, Yarbrough said they ask that students registered for the backpacking trips — the Grand Canyon, Paria Canyon and Colorado — are able to run the Bear Trail’s 2.25 miles in under 25 minutes.

The Pecos River trip is going to be a 60-mile canoe trip in what is known as one of the last real wildernesses in Texas, only about 40 people go on this section of the river every year, Yarbrough said.

Devan Mayer, graduate assistant and Outdoor Advenure guide has been on the Pecos River trip several times and said it is a unique experience. Not only do participants get to run rapids, but there is an abundance of wildlife along the river. Mayer said that she has seen wild horses, deer, cows, birds and other animals seeking refuge in a desert.

Yarbrough said that there are also a lot of Native American pictographs, carvings and rock art along the canyon walls.

“We basically load everything we have in our backpacks, plus a few extra luxuries that you can’t take backpacking, and then we put it in dry bags and paddle down the river for 60 miles through a part of Texas that not a lot of people get to experience,” Mayer said.

As of Tuesday, spots for the Colorado and Paria Canyon trip are filled up; however, students can still be put on the waitlist. The Grand Canyon trip has eleven spots open and the Pecos River trip has eight spots open.

The registration deadline is Feb. 23. Yarbrough said that in order to register, students just have to go to the Student Life Center’s front desk to pay and get set up.

The Grand Canyon, Paria Canyon and Colorado trips all cost $550. The Pecos River trip costs $500 due to being a day shorter.

“I think students look at the price and go ‘$550, that’s a lot,'” Yarbrough said. “Well so this morning, I Googled ‘What would it cost if you wanted to go ice climbing?’”

Yarbrough said going ice climbing for two days would cost about $440 and one of the routes in the Grand Canyon would cost about $1400.

“So for $550, that’s food, transportation, lodging and all the equipment needed,” Yarbrough said. “It’s really a valuable experience cost-wise.”

Yarbrough said all of the trips will be led by one professional staff member or graduate assistant. There will also be two or three undergraduate student guides that have been trained with Outdoor Adventure for many semesters.

Mayer said as a guide, her favorite thing about the trip is receiving a group of people that have never met in their entire lives and watching new friendships form.

“You go into a wilderness setting, complete strangers and you come out some of the best friends,” Yarbrough said. “There’s something about facilitating this new friendship that is awesome about being a guide.”