Florida has become the newest destination for CORE this weekend as they head out for a two day trek along the Suwanee River.
The trek is approximately 11 miles long, dividing the trip into two parts– five miles on Saturday and six on Sunday.
The selected trek is a great beginner’s course according to Thomas Taylor, assistant director of outdoor programs. Hikers can expect easy paths and currents, as well as screened shelters for camping.
According to Sean Wilkinson, the rental center and trips graduate assistant, the trip is considered a backpacking trip, meaning everything needed will be put inside a backpack and carried throughout the trail.
Activities for CORE trips vary depending on the location of the activity. The trek along the Suwannee River, however, is all about taking in nature according to Andrew Grayson, senior business management major and CORE trip leader.
Trip leaders want to show participants how to leave the real world behind and enjoy nature.
“The main activities for this trip will be showing my participants all of the different fauna and wildlife along the Florida Trail, including Live Oak Trees over 300 years old as well as hiking along the bluffs bordering the Suwannee River,” Grayson said.
In addition to the fun-having aspect of the trip, leaders are focused in showing those who attend outdoor safety and how to use gear provided to them properly /
“There are so many reasons to take part–a connection with the outdoors, stress relief, overcoming challenges, healthy living and meeting new friends,” Wilkinson said.
In addition, Grayson hopes the participants will learn about the Leave No Trace principles, an organization who teaches outdoors men and women how to leave nature as they found it.
The trip fee is $20 for students and $25 for faculty and staff. For the first time this semester, students, faculty and staff are able to bring guests not affiliated with VSU on CORE trips. The price for guests is $25 as well.
According to Wilkinson, the fee includes everything a participant needs for the trip and something else to take home.
“The price of the trip includes two outdoor trip leaders who accompany participants at all times, transportation to and from the trail, a group photo, all of the gear needed for the trip (backpack, tents, sleeping bags, headlamps, etc.), and what everyone is looking for– a sweet new profile pic[ture].”
The staff of CORE hopes this trip as well as their other trips will give participants a new experience. A variety of animals have been seen on the trail, and according to Taylor, hikers have the potential to see deer, egrets, turtles, eagles and possibly a Black Florida bear.
Taylor encourages students and staff to participate in CORE activities, especially trips to the Suwannee River.
“The Suwannee is less than on[e] hour away and is known for its beauty,” he said. “Whether it is hiking, camping or canoeing – it’s a great location and people come from all over the US to visit this location.”
Upcoming events for CORE include a canoe trip to the Suwannee River on Feb. 15 and 16.