The Portland State Outdoor Program has big plans this summer, and they’re starting quickly with three trips planned in July.
“We want to get folks outdoors, get out of the city for a bit, get some fresh air and meet other people,” Equipment Attendant Allie Ritz said. “It’s kind of a fun element and way to meet other people, especially at a big university where it can be kind of hard. We also want to bring awareness to the environment.”
The first outing is a day trip to the Carver area, and includes instruction on basic rock climbing techniques. It can be challenging even for experienced climbers. Anyone who is interested has until noon on July 12 to sign up, and a required pre-trip meeting is at 5 p.m. the same day.
The second trip also includes climbing, on July 21 at Bulo Point. Then, on July 28, the program is putting on a four-mile hike that leads to swimming and snorkeling at Eagle Creek. Wetsuits and snorkeling gear will be provided.
“Eagle Creek is a beautiful spot to be,” Ritz said. “It’s a really popular trail. This is the first time we are having snorkeling, and we are really excited for that.”
There are three more trips in August, including cycling and hiking. A trip to the beach is also on the schedule for those seeking relaxation. This is the second year that the program has put on these trips, and their popularity continues to grow. The seats will fill up fast, and the program is becoming more diverse. Instead of just hikes, like in the past, different trips are being added.
“Our trips are more exciting this summer because we’re getting into more, like rock climbing and snorkeling,” Ritz said.
Another reason these activities have been so popular is because they allow students who aren’t from the Northwest a chance to see the Oregon outdoors. Ritz, who isn’t from the Northwest, enjoys getting out of the city, exploring and getting fresh air.
The program isn’t only for experienced hikers or climbers. A lot of beginners participate and then come back for as many trips as possible.
“I was working with participants when it was their first time, and it was a struggle for them,” Ritz said. “Working with them and encouraging them, to see these people not give up when they were struggling, the smile on their faces at the end of the hike, and seeing them return on the next trip. Being a part of them accomplishing something—that was exciting.”
All trips cost $35 for PSU Academic and Student Rec Center members and $70 for non-members. For more information on the program and the six trips this summer, go to pdx.edu/recreation/outdoor-programs-trip-schedule.