ORC offers outdoor adventure to eager participants

RYAN BLAKE, Evergreen reporter

Students staying in Pullman for the summer have many opportunities to explore outdoor activities through programs put on by the Outdoor Recreation Center (ORC).

All WSU students and Pullman residents over the age of 18 physically capable of completing a trip are eligible to participate, according to the University Recreation website.

Trips cover a wide variety of outdoor exploration including biking, backpacking, kayaking, rafting and paddle boarding. Based on skill, trips are categorized into a five-tier rating system.

Level one requires low levels of physical conditioning and is ideal if you have no prior experience or skill. On the opposite end of the spectrum, level five requires excellent physical conditioning with previous experience required and a high level of technical proficiency, according to the website.

Of the 27 trips the ORC offers this summer, 20 are level one, six are level two and one is level four. So, students and community members without any prior experience will be able to participate in the majority of the trips.

Before participating in any of the trips though, participants must sign an assumption of risk and release of liability form.

The cost of a trip can range anywhere from $15 to $275 for students – a discounted rate compared to the cost for community members. Food and gear are not accounted for in the cost for all trips and must be provided by the participant. However, gear can be rented from the ORC.

One of the more extended trips is the North Cascades Kayak Tour. This trip is a level-four program spanning six full days beginning June 29, according to the website.

The expedition takes participants on a guided kayak tour across both Ross and Diablo Lake. One of the days includes a hike of the area to explore the North Cascade’s ecosystem.

The trip is rated level four because it requires high levels of physical conditioning from participants. It’ll be a workout as participants will be required to paddle 10 to 12 miles a day for four consecutive days and hike steep mountain terrain with gear.

There will be a mandatory five-hour information session prior to the trip to go over the itinerary and all the gear necessary to participate, according to the website.

The meeting will also include a pool session where trip guides will teach specific kayaking skills to ensure all participants are able to keep themselves and others safe during the trip.

Participants can expect to learn skills from basic paddling to reversing a capsized kayak. Instructors will evaluate all members and reserve the right to withhold any person from going on the trip if they believe they are a safety liability to themselves or to others.

The North Cascades Kayak Tour costs $150 for students and $250 for non-students. The fee covers kayaking gear, camping equipment, transportation, permits, portage fees and trip guides. Food for the week must be provided by participants.

Cancellations for all ORC trips must be made two weeks in advance to receive a full refund, according to the website.