Tag Archives: outdoor activities

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.

Hiking, Biking, and Bouldering: Athens in Autumn

Daniel Riordan

Daniel Riordan,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 6 November 2017

During the fall semester in Athens, Ohio, a funny thing happens where nearly every day is warm enough for shorts or cool enough for a wind breaker. The winter weather rarely ever hits before the end of Finals Week, so every weekend or free afternoon offers an opportunity to get outside and have some
fun.

The Hockhocking Adena Bikeway (in other words, the Athens bike trail) offers bikers, joggers, and walkers a scenic route on winding pavement under the canopy created by the autumn-colored trees lining the path. I’m a huge fan of the spot, and whether I’m feeling a short six-mile round-trip bike ride or if I’m feeling adventurous enough to go further, I do my best to head over there a few times a week.

Even if you don’t have access to a vehicle that can take you far from Athens, plenty of hiking opportunities very close to Athens are best experienced this time of year.

I’ve enjoyed my first trip down a mountain bike trail near The Ridges, but the best memories of the area are from going on runs up to the top of Radar Hill and back with my roommates. The trails at the Ridges, especially the one leading to the top of Radar Hill, are my favorite places to escape and get a breath of fresh air this time of year. The rolling green hills are pretty to look at, and I can’t think of a more beautiful and more convenient way to get a calf workout than exploring them.

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!

Summer Road Trip

Quinn Mitchell

Quinn Mitchell,
Junior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 3 September 2017

This past summer I spent a little more than a month on a road trip with one of my best friends, Keegan. The point of the trip was to explore as much of this country and its national parks as we could. We visited North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado.

While in these states, we got to see some of the most incredibly beautiful natural landscapes that the United States has to offer. In between campsites, we spent a little bit of time in cities. We were mostly visiting old friends who had moved across the country. These friends include Ohio University alumni, old roommates, and Keegan’s parents’ friends from college. It was an awesome opportunity to see people we hadn’t seen in far too long. It was also nice to sleep in a bed every once in a while.

The following are some pictures from the month on the road:

Summer Road Trip

Keegan and I are standing in the hollowed base of a redwood tree, which towered far above us.

Summer Road Trip

This picture was taken as we canoed toward Mount Moran in the Grand Teton National Park.

Summer Road Trip

This is a long exposure of the night sky over Yosemite Valley. You can see El Capitan and Half Dome.

Summer Road Trip

It was extremely humbling to be so close to wildlife, especially a massive bison. It’s a very effective reminder that humans are by no means the biggest animal in the woods.

Travelling to so many awesome places gave me a whole new appreciation for our massive country. It was absolutely one of the most rewarding experiences of my summer. I cannot wait to take another trip like this one.

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.