The feature story in this issue of Utah State Today is written by Whitney Russler, a recent Utah State University public relations and corporate communications graduate from the Department of Journalism and Communication. She is a part-time staff member in the office of Public Relations and Marketing.
Assigned the task of writing about Utah State University's Outdoor Recreation Center, I decided there was no better way to write about the program than to experience it for myself.
As I stepped out of my car armed with my backpack full of snacks and a towel, I joined the other novice canoeists anxiously gathered in the Romney Stadium parking lot. I immediately met guides Chelsea Nelson and Todd Murdock, who made me sign my life away in one quick motion and off we went to canoe at Bear Lake
The drive up Logan Canyon was beautiful as we passed mountain climbers conquering rocks and the beautiful scenery of Logan River cascading along the road. I turned to the people sitting next to me and spent some time getting to know my fellow canoeing friends, all of whom were summer citizens.
Once we arrived, the eagerness to get on the water was felt by all and I helped Chelsea and Todd unload the canoes and put them on the water. The day was perfect, some clouds in the sky making it not too hot.
Todd, Chelsea and I climbed into our canoe and headed for the other bank where birds are known to hang out. We paddled along in the lake and Todd managed to jump in the water without tipping the boat.
Todd turned and said to me, "It is so beautiful here and the color of the water is unreal."
I remember once reading that Bear Lake's limestone particles suspended in the water give the lake its brilliant turquoise hue.
To my surprise, Todd told me it was his first time actually being on Bear Lake. This reassured me that the ORC tries new things all the time and is willing to take requests from people.
As Todd went off for a swim, I started teasing him about the Bear Lake monster and he quickly jumped back into the boat.
Chelsea and I sat back and chatted about our summers and soaked up the soothing sunlight. The water was calm and peaceful with barely any motor boats or people on the lake.
Eventually we started heading back to shore to meet up with the others, some of whom were swimming or resting on shore.
George King, a fellow canoeing friend, turned to me and said, "Wow that was great, I couldn't have had a better crew or better weather."
I nodded and smiled at George and the others while I pulled the boats onto shore closer to the trailer. Todd and Chelsea quickly started loading the boats and we headed back to town.
The drive back to town was quiet as everybody pensively observed the lake we'd just canoed. Without saying anything we all knew everybody had a good experience.
I smiled as the van started to slow down and Todd pulled into the Quick and Tasty. My first ORC experience couldn't have ended better than with a trademark homemade raspberry shake made with fresh berries the region is well known for.
The Outdoor Recreation Center's services emphasize leadership and education through an outdoor adventure medium.
The ORC aims to be one of the nation's premier Outdoor Education Leadership programs by serving students and the public through diverse educational programs and providing rigorous experiential learning experiences that foster independent problem solving, leadership and communication skills.
Services the ORC provides are non-credit classes, common adventure trips, a ROPES course, back-country yurts and an equipment rental program to support all other programs.
Throughout the summer and school year the ORC offers various trips, including a recent moonlight hike into the towering Wellsville Mountains.
"The moonlight hike was a beautiful experience," said Adam Christensen, an ORC employee and student. "We had a wonderful, dynamic group and we all felt like part of a team."
The ORC is a great way to meet people and learn about the terrific outdoor life that Cache Valley offers.
"The ORC gives me the opportunity to go on trips and explore the beauty of the local areas," said Christensen. "If it wasn't for the ORC I wouldn't be at Utah State University."
For more information on the ORC and its various activities, visit the center's homepage.
Writer: Whitney Russler (435) 797-1350, firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact: Outdoor Programs/ORC (435) 797-0551
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