Athens, OH 24 February 2014 – This past weekend was an opportunity for me to try something new – I went backpacking! Ohio University Outdoor Pursuits is an organization based within the Ping Recreation Center and is best known for operating the climbing wall at the entrance. They also offer many other services such as equipment rental and several trips of varying lengths and difficulty throughout the year. I’ve wanted to give backpacking a try for a while now so a (very reasonably priced) weekend Intro to Winter Backpacking trip sounded like just what I was looking for. Outdoor Pursuits supplied the food and any gear that I didn’t have and we were off to Zaleski State Forest.
The trip was even better than I had hoped. Despite the hike I signed up for, the weather was the surprise beautiful weather that Ohio sometimes decides to tease us with in February. The group had varying levels of experience, and we took the hike at a leisurely pace that gave us all a chance to stretch our legs after being cooped up inside during the last few cold weeks. We hiked out to a campsite and stayed the night there before traveling on to the site where we would camp Saturday night. Saturday afternoon was also probably the best nap of my life. Sunday morning we hiked out and were able to make it back to Athens about half an hour before it began to sleet. Can’t complain about that luck!
Being unplugged from society for a couple of days was a fantastic escape from the fast-paced life of a college student. The seven of us were able to create our own schedule, spend unchecked amounts of time sitting admiring the fantastic views of Southeast Ohio, and swap stories while cooking simple meals around a campfire. It was refreshing to get away before coming back and getting a re-energized start on studying for midterms.