Go outside for journey | Life & Arts

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Beginners or not, Aggies looking for adventure can get started with Outdoor Adventures at Texas A&M’s Student Recreation Center.

A&M’s Outdoor Adventures offers skill clinics, equipment and organized trips to bring people closer to the great outdoors. Fly fishing, rock climbing and kayaking classes begin September 18 and pre-registration is required at recconnect.tamu.edu. From beginner to advanced, all clinics, rentals and excursions are open to students, faculty, staff and the general public. Fees range from $21 to $40, according to their website.

Skill classes are held at the West Campus Recreation Center, while day trips and extended trips to San Marcos, Dripping Springs and even out-of-state backpacking trips are planned for the fall, said Cameron Fuentes, tour director for the A&M-run Recreational Sports program, a division of the student affairs.

“Our main programs are the indoor climbing facility, the bouldering walls and the rental centers,” said Fuentes. “We also have trips and clinics, which is a third leg of our program.”

No prior experience is required for a clinic or travel, Fuentes said. Specialized clinics for beginners are offered for rock climbing and kayak paddling. Excursions and clinics for more experienced adventurers are also offered, and anyone can rent the gear they need, she said.

“We have a backpacking program for beginners,” Fuentes said. “The expectation is that no one has ever backpacked before, so we’ll cover from start to finish.”

The Outdoor Adventures program hosts several weekly classes each semester to give students a break from books and make the outdoors more accessible, Fuentes said.

“We have about 15 trips around climbing, paddling, hiking and camping,” Fuentes said. “We have a wet-water kayaking clinic, a kayaking fundamentals clinic, or a fly-fishing clinic.”

Rock climbing trips to Reimers Ranch near Austin will be held this semester, along with paddle boarding on the San Marcos River and an introduction to backpacking planned for Lake Georgetown in Arkansas, Fuentes said.

“We do things locally, and then we also do things that are in Texas, and then we also do an out-of-state program,” Fuentes said.

Outdoor Adventure was created to bring people one step closer to nature through new experiences and adventures. A&M’s program has been recognized nationally for program quality and innovation, according to recsports.tamu.edu, with more than 50,000 students, campus and community members utilizing the programs each year.

“It’s a lot more accessible to get involved with nature than we think,” Fuentes said. “We want a lot [participants] takeaways like the accessibility of nature, the community that creates outdoor recreation, and outdoor development.”