OREC spends the break skiing, camping, canoeing


photo provided by Shane Bono

Over spring break, Trinity’s Outdoor Recreation group (OREC) led two different trips that gave students the opportunity to get out and explore the outdoors with other members of the community.

The first trip was a ski trip to Colorado, a new addition to the usual Spring break trips organized by OREC. The group of eight, led by OREC leaders Shane Bono and Max Towers, began the trip with a drive to Palo Duro Canyon State Park, where they stayed and camped for a day. The group woke up and drove the rest of the way to Breckenridge on Sunday, March 11, where they set up shop for the next few days.

Shane Bono, Madeline Hanes, Ethan Courtman and Max Towers pose a selfie at Breckenridge. photo provided by Shane Bono

“We stayed near the base of the Breckenridge Ski Area. We also skied at Keystone and the Arapaho basin,” Bono said.

Bono says that back in the ’90s, OREC was known for going on crazy excursions, which he used as inspiration for planning the trip.

“OREC is growing, so I thought, why not grow the trips as well?” Bono said.

He sat down with Kristen Harrison, the associate athletic director for recreation, last semester and started planning the trip. Unlike other OREC trips, this trip required an early verbal and monetary commitment.

“We ended up charging $400 per person, including the leaders, plus ‘options,’ which included lessons, helmets, snowboards, and things like that,” Bono said.

Despite the steeper prices for more options, the group was able to do more than just ski. First-year Olivia Littlefield, who attended the trip, enjoyed exploring the area around Breckenridge.

“We went thrifting after skiing and we shopped around the stores in Breckenridge. We even cooked some amazing burgers after skiing the second day at Keystone,” Littlefield said.

The group finished their trip with a night of camping at Caprock Canyon State Park before heading back to Trinity.

“It was a lot of work but the trip was a huge success! We had so much fun and I felt like we covered the basics of all outdoor things: navigation, extreme terrain, camping, first aid, wildlife, meal prep — you name it,” Bono said.

The second OREC trip was a camping trip to Big Bend, a national park located in Southwest Texas. The group spent three days canoeing down the Boquillas Canyon on the Rio Grande.

The group left on Monday, March 12, and returned to campus on Friday, March 16. Twelve students took the trek — four OREC leaders and eight participants. The trip to Big Bend was also cheaper than the ski trip; participants paid $80 for the five-day excursion.

Ian Witecki, senior OREC leader, canoes in the Guadalupe Canyon. photo provided by Maddy Walshak

Sophomore Maddy Walshak helped lead the trip.

“Before we canoed down the canyon, we spent the first day at Big Bend doing some day hikes and visiting the famous Big Bend Hot Springs at night,” Walshak said.

The group hiked down to a famous lookout point and visited the hot springs under the stars.

“The stars in Big Bend are unlike anything I’ve ever seen before — you can even see the Milky Way! We jumped between the hot springs and the freeing Rio Grande while trying to make out different constellations. It was a mind-blowing experience,” Walshak said.

Students on the trip climb in the Guadalupe Canyon. photo provided by Maddy Walshak

The group canoed down the Rio Grande and stopped to cliff jump along the way. They dove into the river, and played an ultimate frisbee game in the water.

OREC’s next trip, a hike in Friedrich Park located in San Antonio, is planned for March 31.