Outdoor Adventures: Get Fit While Getting in Touch with Nature

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By Molly McIntire

McCloud Falls-462

Photo courtesy of Texas A&M Rec Center Outdoor Adventures

Summertime in Texas is the perfect time for camping, hiking, and kayaking. The Outdoor Adventure Department at the Texas A&M University Rec Center can help you do all of that and more. Fondly referred to as Bryan College Station’s best kept secret by Jason Kurten, director of Outdoor Adventures, the Rec has the programs, equipment, and staff to help students and families plan summer activities. Most Rec services are open to anyone, not just students, faculty, and staff at Texas A&M. For more information on the following services and events, and for updates about upcoming summer trips, visit www.recsports.tamu.edu.

First Friday Courteous Mass Ride gives bike riders a chance to learn about bike etiquette, laws for bike riders, and different techniques to help riders of every level have a more comfortable and enjoyable ride. Coordinated by Bike 979 and College of Architecture’s Student Urban Planning Association, this guided ride begins in College Station and proceeds to Downtown Bryan. A free event for anyone in B/CS who is interested, the ride will take place at 5pm on June 2.

Reimer's Trip

Photo courtesy of Texas A&M Rec Center Outdoor Adventures

Custom Adventures are also available to anyone looking to host or plan a special event. Outdoor Adventures will help you plan and create custom and private programs including: renting the climbing wall for a birthday party or a welcome event; reserving a private clinic to learn more climbing techniques; or letting the Outdoor Adventures staff plan, organize, lead, and feed your next leadership retreat. For pricing and scheduling details, contact Jason Kurten at (979) 862-1999 or jkurten@tamu.edu.

Rent Outdoor Equipment at any time for your next hike, campout, or day trip. Equipment can be rented by the general public. Outdoor Adventures offers a full line of camping gear including tents, sleeping bags, backpacks, cooking sets, and more. In addition to camping gear, they rent outdoor sports equipment and watercraft including canoes, kayaks, and stand up paddleboards. Any cleaning or damage incurred will result in a fee. Upon renting equipment, you will be asked to sign a contract, and upon return, you will be asked to check in with Outdoor Adventures. This will include setting up and inspecting tents. Equipment prices can be found online.

Indoor Rock Climbing is open seven days a week during the regular semester, with the exception of holidays, and is available to members and nonmembers. Nonmembers are required to pay a usage fee. If you know how to belay (handle the ropes while climbing up and down the wall) you will need a skills check first to get started. Skills checks are renewable during each academic semester and can be performed during regular business hours. If you have never climbed before, you’ll need to sign up for an orientation class to get started. If you don’t own your own equipment, you can rent the Rec’s equipment. The Bouldering Wall is open during normal Rec hours. To get started, you will need to drop by one of the desks in the Rec Center to sign a waiver and watch an informational video. A complimentary wristband will be issued once you are cleared to boulder. Prices for climbing and climbing gear can be found online.

Big Bend(1)

Photo courtesy of Texas A&M Rec Center Outdoor Adventures

Outdoor Resources are available to anyone looking for more information about their next trip or destination. Outdoor Adventures serves as an information resource on outdoor activities, locations, and equipment. Information is available on Texas parks and recreation areas, Texas rivers, lakes, rock climbing areas, hiking trails, fishing areas, and a wide variety of activities such as backpacking, canoeing, kayaking, and wilderness camping. The Outdoor Adventures staff is available to answer questions and assist customers with personal trip planning.

Venture Base Camp is a two-session camp geared towards incoming students at Texas A&M. Each session includes four days of hiking, rock climbing, and river excursions. Campers will get the chance to stay in dorms and learn about Texas A&M traditions and develop the skills every incoming Aggie needs to know. Similar to Fish Camp, Venture Base Camp is an outdoor-based alternative that will take place in July: Session 1 begins July 10, and Session 2 begins July 17.