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“Outdoor Adventures” are a guaranteed blast

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For many students at the University of South Alabama, the term “Outdoor Adventures” unfortunately does not mean anything. But to others, it holds great value. Outdoor Adventures is just one of the many perks to being a student at USA.

Outdoor Adventures is a branch of Campus Recreation that provides countless opportunities to connect with beautiful nature and fun people.

Randy Hunter, the coordinator of the Outdoor Adventures trips, does a wonderful job every year of organizing and undertaking these expeditions. He fills each month with various trips to choose from, and he never disappoints when it comes to entertainment.

The excursions are of very little cost to students or anyone else who wishes to participate, and nearly every commodity is provided for by the department. Tents, sleeping bags, backpacks, etc. are all available when necessary.

One of the most recent trips was the Appalachian Trail / Nantahala River trip. This specific trip took place in gorgeous Bryson City, NC, and was scheduled perfectly—right after the conclusion of summer classes, so you can relax and begin the remainder of your summer vacation on a high note.

The trip commences with a nine-hour drive up to Bryson City. But time flies when you’re having fun. The ride is full of bonding and anticipation.

After arriving at the trail, you unload and hike the remaining portion to the top of the mountain, from which there is a spectacular view overlooking the surrounding mountaintops. Here you set up camp and spend the rest of the day and night relaxing and socializing, sometimes meeting fellow hikers who cross your path.

One extraordinary aspect of this campground is the fire tower. After garnering the courage to walk up the steep stairway, you can spend the night at the highest point of the trail, enveloped in the surprisingly cold summer air with the entire starry sky before your eyes. And you can top all of this off with a glorious sunrise visible at eye level.

Following the pack-up and hike/drive back down the mountain, you arrive at the Paddle Inn Rafting Company where you set up camp a few feet from the Nantahala River. You then meet “Mom” and the other employees of the Paddle Inn while you prepare to raft for a couple of hours on the water.

With the rafting sure to work up an appetite, you are then free to choose among the various tourist food spots for dinner and settle in for the final night. Packing up the following morning is a heartbreaking affair, leaving you only with memories and stories to get you through to next year.

Clearly, Randy does a great job with assuring these trips are fun-filled. Not one moment can be described as dull.

Incoming Freshman Mikayla Sedlacek exclaimed, “I love Outdoor Adventures!” on the ride up to Bryson City with her parents, sister, and friends. She and her family, including her dad, Scott Sedlacek, a chemical engineering major, have attended multiple Outdoor Adventure events, including the Appalachian/Nantahala trip two years in a row, the zip-lining trip and the swim with the manatees.

Outdoor Adventures is a great way to travel to different areas in the South and meet new people who enjoy getting out and having a good time. It is even possible to meet your future best friends on these trips!

These adventures are truly some of the greatest aspects of USA that everyone should take advantage of.

Written by Adrianna Maniaci | Contributing Writer

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