Grayson Highlands Wild Ponies Backpacking | Photo From Campus Recreation | Wright State University
Wright State University campus recreation takes a group of students to Virginia to connect with nature and catch a glimpse of the hundreds of wild horses in the area.
Preparation for the trip
From Friday, March 31 to Sunday, April 2, a group of 10 Wright State University students backpacked in Grayson Highlands, Virginia.
Like other WSU outdoor recreation trips, the Grayson Highlands trip provided an affordable option to students (priced at $150 for students and $250 for guests) making it one of the most affordable outdoor trips that the Outdoor Resource Center offers. The recreation department uses the money toward a fun and endearing experience that the group planned since January.
Trip leaders Maureen Roddy and Andrea Reed helped plan the trip, made decisions regarding weather conditions and made sure participants remained safe in an introduction to backpacking and hiking in this never-before-done trip by outdoor recreation.
In preparation for the trip, ORC expected participants to bring everything specified on a packing list and hike multiple miles each day in the days leading up to the trip.
The trip and and bad weather
After the eight-hour ride in the ORC van, participants were ready to hit the trails in Grayson Highlands.
However, the trip did not go exactly as planned. According to Roddy, a storm made sleeping in tents at the campground difficult with rain and hurricane-level winds Saturday night, which meant the group would have to stay the night in a motel.
In spite of this, the group made the most of the situation and spent Saturday in the Highlands, hiking five miles in total on a portion of the Appalachian Trail and getting to see some of the elusive wild ponies of the area.
“Getting to see wild ponies was definitely the highlight of the trip. We didn’t see any of them until the very end of our hike on Saturday, so when they finally appeared, it was very exciting,” Roddy said.
Reflection of the experience
Participant, alumni and software engineer Jonathon Goble reflected on the experience.
“750 feet of elevation gain in two hours is no joke. Also, the wind was so strong at times that you could lean into the wind and not fall over, but it was worth it for the view and the experience,” Goble said.
Goble attended many ORC trips, including the whitewater rafting trip and Red River Gorge trip, along with a few local campouts and hiking trips. WSU allows for alumni to continue to take ORC trips after graduation.
Roddy echoes the benefits of attending such a trip.
“I have learned so many new things, have been able to meet tons of different people from Wright State and have made countless memories. Also, you will never find prices like the ones we offer for trips,” Roddy said. “We try to make them as inexpensive as possible for participants. If you don’t like backpacking, then you can always try a kayaking trip or a climbing trip.”
ORC has not scheduled the wild ponies trip for next year yet, but students can see if the group will offer the trip and access other opportunities on the ORC website.