Tag Archives: outdoor activities

Hiking Radar Hill

Haley Nau

Haley Nau,
Senior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 8 September 2019

It’s fall in Athens! One of my favorite things to do this time of year is hike one of OUs famous hiking trails: Radar Hill. It’s located on a hill behind The Ridges off a back road. There are no markers for it besides a gravel parking lot and an ajar gate that signals the trail head.

The trail takes you mostly through open grassy fields which is perfect in the fall because the bugs and heat have died down, but deer are always roaming about. The tall grasses also turn a golden color that catches the light any time of the day.

The best time to go though is in the evening when the sun is about to set. Due to the open grass fields, you can get a spectacular view of the open sky as it changes colors.

The hike ends at the top of a hill that overlooks the hilly countryside surrounding Athens. Typically, there are groups of people (and maybe a few dogs) scattered about the top sitting on logs or rocks waiting for the sun to set. It is a rewarding ending to a not too difficult hike. I can’t wait to hit the trail once again!

Activities I Found This Fall

Jason Wherry

Jason Wherry,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 7 October 2019

I am blown away by how quickly my Senior year has progressed so far. Ohio University’s annual Reading Day has come and gone (one of my favorite holidays to spend on campus) reminding me that the semester is almost halfway over, a catalyst to get my body moving outside before the weather gets too chilly.

The Fall is arguably the best season to spend time outdoors and recently I have been trying some new activities like Climbing and Slacklining. Bouldering at Witches Hill in Athens has been immeasurably fun and I highly recommend taking a hike there to get some fresh air.

Slacklining at various spots on campus has kept me close to the Bobcat family this semester as I have met a bunch of people and introduced some of them to this quirky hobby of mine.

Slacklining

For those of you that do not know what a slackline is, imagine a long and narrow trampoline made out of nylon/polyester that is suspended in the air by two anchors at each end. Traversing the slackline requires a combination of balance, core strength, and focus. Pictured above, I am taking some of my first confident steps on a 2-inch (width) slackline in the middle of College Green.

I took a camping trip down to New River Gorge in WV with some friends who convinced me (a novice climber at the time) to join them and experience a culture that is new to me.

Throughout the long-weekend that we stayed there I tried to climb many routes, but only climbed one of them successfully. The climb that I did is categorized as a ‘Deep-Water Solo’, meaning that you are not harnessed into a rope system and rely on the water below you as the only protection against injury from falling.

The next two images show myself climbing a route to a ledge where my friend patiently waits. What was my favorite part of this route you ask? Jumping off the 35 ft cliff into the refreshing water and realizing that the simplest things, like climbing natural structures, can make me the happiest.

Rock Climbing

Rock Climbing

Taking a leap into different activities so far this semester has diversified my physical activity and expanded my social circle in ways I did not imagine. After living in Athens for three school years I had subconsciously stopped reaching out to try new things and looked at life through the same lenses. As a Senior majoring in Computer Science, I believe in challenging yourself both in academics and personal growth to experience the most in your college years and prepare yourself for whatever opportunities life presents you with.

Going Fishing around Athens

Logan Veley

Logan Veley,
Junior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 28 September 2019

For me, nothing reduces stress like being outdoors. When coming back to Athens for fall semester classes, I was looking forward to spending time in the recreational areas surrounding Athens. Growing up in a rural area, these opportunities to spend time outdoors in places close to campus truly helped me feel at home. For example, I always enjoy hiking and exploring the area around Dow Lake, but recently I chose to look into different outdoor opportunities around Athens.

After a short drive out of Athens, I arrived at a new location, Lake Snowden. I had never visited the area, but I was excited to explore another fishing spot. With the sun shining, I was glad to soak in the quiet and peaceful environment. I traversed the levee consistently casting and deciding on which lures to throw. After some time, I was able to reel in some bass and enjoyed every second of my time spent there.

Fishing

One aspect that always stands out to me is how quiet Athens is. This time spent outdoors is my way to mentally unwind from my coursework. Additionally, I love sharing this time with others. Being able to share this time laughing and relaxing is one of my favorite things to do in Athens.

I am always glad for the opportunities available outside of campus. In my opinion, Athens and the surrounding area are some of the most beautiful parts of Ohio, and I am excited to continue exploring throughout my junior year!

Parks in Winter

Wesley Book

Wesley Book,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 2 February 2019

One of the things I love about winter in Athens is the scenery surrounding campus. When the snow is falling, or has fallen, all the rolling hills that create this beautiful area look even more beautiful.

I love the outdoors, especially hiking, and there are a few parks around Athens that present a handful of trails that contain some picture-perfect views. Hocking Hills State Park isn’t too far away from campus, and holds some of the most beautiful hilltops when the snow first falls.

Zaleski State Forest is closer than Hocking Hills, and is just as beautiful. Since all the leaves have fallen, the best thing about Zaleski during winter is that you can see from ridge to ridge, giving you the opportunity to capture the rolling hills point of view.

Another state park near Athens is Burr Oak State Park. This park is just as beautiful as the others, except it comes with a lake. Since temperatures have been extremely cold and have stayed cold, the lake freezes over and the snow lays on top of the lake, creating a beautiful picture. We were even able to do some ice fishing along the way.

The Best $140 You Could Spend At Wal-Mart

Sean Neff

Sean Neff,
Senior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 25 April 2018

Over the last four years of my eventful time here in Athens, I’ve made quite a laundry list of incredible memories and incredible friends. One of my fondest memories is from last summer in the heat of late June. Out on Lake Snowden (about 15 minutes south of Athens) my friend and I decided to christen our new shiny Wal-Mart purchases.

Two days earlier, we stumbled upon a summer sale in the outdoor section of the State St. Wally World. A bright blue Sundolphin Kayak for $120… a steal for even the cheapest type of new kayak out on the market. We debated buying the small 8 foot watercraft for a few minutes as well perused through the cereal aisle…and as we finally hit the Captain Crunch, we decided to pull the trigger and buy the kayak. Our biggest problem was this: even though I only weigh 148 pounds, two grown men could not fit in the kayak comfortably. So to make up for this issue, we also bought a $20 child-sized dinghy raft.

So back to Lake Snowden… with a bright blue kayak and a child sized raft in tow, two college students with two fishing poles and some tackle headed out to purge the lake of its famously large, but tough to catch, channel cat fish.

We spent almost 12 hours from sun up to sun down paddling into every cove and fishing hot spot catching a massive haul of keeper-sized cats. As the fishermen with their $150,000 specially-designed high-tech fishing boats passed by and saw two sun-burnt college punks with 10+ large catfish in their Wal-Mart kayak, their mouths dropped and their wallets cried. We delightfully filleted and grilled up our catch for the day, and shared our bounty with our troop of friends back in town.

Catfish

Now, as the spring of 2018 continues to roll by into the early stages of summer, I have a kayak of my own. Unfortunately I didn’t get this one on sale, but it was still only $140. Now instead of a blue kayak and a kiddy dinghy out on Lake Snowden… there is a blue kayak and a twin orange kayak still raking in huge hauls. Except now we tend to throw back more than we keep. Yet still, I think it’s the best $140 I’ve ever given to the Walton family.

Camping with Friends

Quinn Mitchell

Quinn Mitchell,
Junior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 19 March 2018

During this year’s spring break, I went backpacking with some friends. Our original plan was to go to Dolly Sods, West Virginia. However, after looking at the weather forecast, we reluctantly admitted that it would be a tad too cold and snowy to camp for four days. With our plans ruined, we needed to find somewhere a little warmer, but hopefully just as beautiful. With our options
limited, we chose Zaleski State Forest.

Once all our classes ended on the Friday before spring break, we met up and went on a quick trip to the grocery store. Getting food and packing up took much longer than expected, so we didn’t get to the trailhead until dark. This meant we had to hightail it for a few miles until we found a nice campsite.

Once we finally found a site and set up our tents, it was time to eat. This was an important night in my life in terms of camping. It was the night I learned that tortellini is an amazing food to eat while camping. (If you learn nothing else from this post, please remember this).

The rest of the trip was just as enjoyable, even if it was a little cold. Every time I get to go camping is great, but this was especially enjoyable because I brought some of my oldest friends on their first backpacking trip.

The Great Outdoors

Andrew Noll

Andrew Noll,
Junior, Engineering Technology & Management

Athens, OH 8 December 2017

My entire life, I have been quite the outdoorsman. I attribute some of that to my parents who took us camping twice a year with several close families.

In addition to that, I used to go “creeking” and catch all sorts of animals. I would keep these animals and study them for a few days, feeding and caring to them as needed, then I would release them back into the wild.

I was very close to entering a major in bio or even environmental engineering. I do not regret my decision to chose engineering technology. However, in the future I could see myself getting into an industry that can work with or protect the environment.

As I’ve grown older I’ve moved onto different kinds of outdoor hobbies. I started fishing religiously, hunting, cliff diving, backpacking with my pup or even doing “man vs. wild” with my friend.

The two things that made me appreciate nature the most were hunting, and the man vs. wild camps where we went out for 3 days with just a pot, a bb gun, and two knives.

Now a lot of people ask how I could hunt animals yet love nature? Everyone has an opinion and I respect that. I am not here to argue why I believe hunting is okay, but I truly believe it has made me more in tune with nature and helped me understand its complicated beauty.

I might sit outside and freeze all day without seeing one deer, but I get an opportunity to study nature that non-hunters cannot experience. I learn about varieties of plants and animals. I understand weather patterns and how animals react to it. I see the delicate balance of the ecosystem, and the interaction between animals at its simplest level, in which no book can teach.

For example, something I see too often: chipmunks will chirp loudly and scatter into holes, then 10 seconds later a hawk will fly by. It is that sort of communication and realization of nature’s community that has made me enjoy hunting so much.

Whether I am hunting, cliff diving, hiking, camping, etc. nature has never failed to amaze me. At every turn, I will educate people on its importance advocate for its sustainability for future generations.

Here’s a short video I made about my love for nature and the outdoors.