Tag Archives: outdoor activities

Fall in Athens

Sean Neff

Sean Neff,
Senior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 29 September 2017

Some say the fall leaves in Boston are the sight to see. Yet even though I’m biased, I tend to disagree (rhyme intended).

As the temperature drops and the days get shorter, the weekend exploration in Athens gets even more exciting. One of my favorite parts of going to school here
at Ohio University is the amazing history and scenery of southeast Ohio. The beautiful array of color that covers the hills is something that always stops me on my walks to Stocker Center or the ARC. By the time the weekend rolls around, my itch to explore southeast takes me away from the books and onto the backroads.

One of my favorite places to visit and hike is in Zaleski State Forest just west of Athens in Vinton, County. Zaleski State Forest is home to some of the best hiking trails in Ohio and has a lot of interesting historical places. One of the most frequented places is the Moonville Tunnel, which is an old railroad tunnel that is reportedly home to numerous ghosts. Although I never have seen any ghosts on my trips there, the civil engineer inside of me enjoys examining the
structure of the old tunnel and all of the engineering work that took place for its construction.

Fall semester at OU is also the semester of senior design projects for most civil engineering seniors. For my senior design project, my team and I are designing a complete residential subdivision with roadways, sewers, and lots for homes. The design also includes surveying the topography of a land parcel in Alexandria Township.

Even though senior design takes a lot of my time, the activities and adventure in Athens makes the journey worth it. Just a few hours spent in the wilderness of southeast Ohio takes me away to a time where cars weren’t self-driving and cell phones weren’t the center of our lives. Yet, coming back to school just motivates me even more to create and think outside the box in life!

Springtime in Athens

Nathan Arnett

Nathan Arnett,
Junior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 24 April 2017

After a sometimes seemingly endless couple of months of walking to class in the cold and having to find indoor activities for the weekend, springtime in Athens almost never fails to come around abruptly and it is always welcome! It always seems as if the weather is never going to break, and then all of a sudden, it will and the general ‘vibe’ on campus picks up so much. It is so nice to see people back on the greens throwing a frisbee or baseball on the way to class, or being able to study outside for a nice change of scenery.

In addition to just the weather being nicer, it opens up all the possibilities for recreation that haven’t been available since the Fall! This includes going to Stroud’s, which is a lake/park near campus and a great place to picnic, fish, or just relax during a break between classes or on the weekend.

Also, springtime is a great chance to hit any of the local popular hiking trails. It is always a good time to be able to get some friends together and take a hike and overlook all of Athens and the Ohio University Campus.

Lastly, maybe my favorite thing about springtime is the blossoming of the cherry trees along the Hocking River. For those of you who may not know, there is a very well-maintained bike path that stretches for 21 miles throughout Athens county, and a part of it runs right along campus and the Hocking River. This section is lined with dozens (if not hundreds) of cherry trees that bloom beautifully in the spring. It is my personal favorite part about spring—to just be able to take a casual stroll or bike ride along the bike path along the river with the trees in full bloom. Athens in the spring is just such an amazing place!

Getting Outdoors Around Athens

Matt McKenzie

Matt McKenzie,
Junior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 25 March 2017

With the warm weather of spring just around the corner, I look forward to spending some more time outdoors when possible. Anytime I find free time between classes and my work in engineering extracurriculars, I like taking some time to get outside and enjoy some fresh air. Whether I go play soccer, hike, or donate my time to organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, being outdoors to me is relaxing and sometimes needed with the pressure of school.

One of the recent activities I was able to enjoy was exploring Sells Park. I had never been there before and I ended up hiking around for about two-and-a-half hours, exploring all the neat outcrops and hilltop views. Growing up in Pittsburgh, I am quite used to hilly terrain and I have always liked climbing my way to the top of the hills, and just looking out over everything below.

The other thing that I try to get involved in at least once a week is intramural soccer. I grew up playing soccer and had played all through high school, but it was something I had to give up coming to college, so I enjoy the times I am able to get back out on the field for a little.

As I was an intramural soccer referee my freshman year, I met many people who still contact me to play with them to this day. The best part about that is I don’t have to worry about starting a team or whether enough people will show up to the games, if I’m able to I can just show up and play.

For me, just getting outdoors is fun and relaxing so with the warmer weather to come, I look forward to spending a little more time doing things outside without having to worry about freezing while I’m at it.

Star Gazing

Jannat Al Barwani

Jannat Al Barwani,
Junior, Aviation Management

Athens, OH 22 February 2017

I usually don’t like winter because I can’t tolerate the cold weather. Not only that, but I find winter very depressing. Once I feel like winter is coming, I picture myself staying indoors most of the time and waiting for spring break to come.

This winter, I tried to change my perspective about the winter season. I thought that I should do some fun and entertaining activities that people would usually participate in during the winter season. The first thing that popped into my mind was sledding. We unfortunately didn’t get that much snow this year.

I tried thinking of other activities to do but couldn’t come up with anything. So, I decided to look into the activities that the university offers and that’s when I found that Ping Center offers a stargazing night during Sibs weekend. I told my friends about it and we all decided to go together.

Th one who was hosting this activity was named George Ebert, a professor who teaches astronomy and used to work at the old Ridges. We went to the Ridges at 8:00 pm and it was very cold. We took a walk into the woods until we reached the top of the hill and the scenery was simply beautiful. We were all fascinated by the breathtaking view of the night stars.

Professor Ebert taught us about the starts, their names and which constellations they were in. He said that no matter where we stood, the stars are always in the same place. The north star will always be in the north and the south star will always be in the south. He mentioned that the north star is not the shiniest star like most people think. Once we were done star gazing, we all went to the bone fire and drank hot chocolate with marshmallows in them…Not a fan of marshmallows either.

Spring Break in Vegas

Paige Preske

Paige Preske,
Senior, Industrial and Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 7 March 2016

This spring break I traveled all the way out west! I spent two days in Las Vegas enjoying what the city had to offer. The second part of my vacation was spent climbing and hiking through national parks in Utah and Nevada.

Spring Break

I was lucky enough to have weather in the high 70s and sunny the entire week. The biggest difference I noticed between Ohio and Nevada, besides the obvious temperature difference, was the dry air. It made me very thirsty!

One of the parks I explored in Utah was Snow Canyon State Park. This park has amazing views of red and white Navajo sandstone. The park also has lava tubes throughout the park. I have a very big fear of heights but this park had very simple and beginner trails I could walk.

Another park that I visited was Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. This park has lizards everywhere and in all sizes. The park is rich in history with 3,000 year-old Indian petroglyphs on the sandstone. I really enjoyed looking at the petroglyphs because it is so amazing how they got on these rocks 50 feet in the air.

Spring Break

The last major thing I did over my spring break was go golfing. The golf courses out in Nevada are beautiful with mountains surrounding every part of the course.

Winter Outdoor Recreation Opportunities

Jordan Sapp

Jordan Sapp,
Senior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 22 February 2016

“What is there to do on the weekends when you go to Ohio University” you may ask? Well, that is a great question. It is quite often that the weekends call for some time away from the books, spent outside in nature. Ohio University offers some of the best outdoor activities that are not often found at a university.

A few weeks ago, we were hit with an intense blizzard bringing down close to eight inches of snow. Some were snowed in, but my friend Jake and I had different plans. We decided to drive two hours south of campus to ski slopes at a place called Winter Place. We spent the entire day riding up ski lifts and dropping down some great slopes.

Chair Lift

Whenever I get the chance to break out the snowboard, I do not hesitate, but go straight for it. It is really awesome to have a friend like Jake who is so willing to spontaneously hop in the car and head for the hills, literally.

This past weekend, the exact opposite happened with the weather, it was 70 degrees on Friday and Saturday. So, once again I had to take advantage of the awesomeness Ohio University offers in its outdoor options.

My friend Steven and I drove over to Strouds Run State Park, about a five minute drive from campus, and enjoyed the glorious sunshine. We went for a four mile run and then chilled out in our hammocks. The greatest part of the day was while we were walking back from our run, we spotted a Bald Eagle fishing in the lake.

Bald Eagle

It was the first time I have ever seen an eagle in its natural environment. It was such an awesome experience that isn’t offered at any typical university.

Taking time away from studies is one of the most important things to a healthy student lifestyle, it just so happens that Athens has some of my favorite things to do during my breaks!

Alexa Hoynacke

Alexa Hoynacke,
Junior, Industrial and Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 22 February 2016

An activity that I have been very involved in at Ohio University since coming here as a freshman 2-1/2 years ago is Ohio University Outdoor Pursuits (OUOP).

Two weeks before starting freshman year I participated in the OUOP New Adventures program. Along with 7 other freshmen, I went on a 4-day rock climbing trip in the Red River Gorge. I had rock climbed a little bit in high school, but this was my first time on real rock. This experience was absolutely amazing and I met one of my best friends in college on this trip. I recommend that every freshman look into this program.

In this picture I am belaying my friend Charlie on a route in the Red River Gorge. This was a trip we took last summer.

Rock Climbing

Since participating in New Adventures I have had some awesome experience with OUOP. I have gone on kayaking, backpacking and caving trips. I currently am an OUOP rock wall supervisor. I am very lucky that I found a job doing something that I love.

This past weekend was the Spring Climbing Competition. About 40 people from around the state participated which was an awesome turnout. I worked the competition so I help judge our intermediate division and helped run the event. OUOP offers something for every student and I am so happy I got involved my freshman year.