The people closest to me wouldn’t describe me as your typical “outdoorsy person.”
This is a simple truth, and I’ve come to more or less accept my identity as an embarrassingly pale couch potato over the course of the pandemic.
After all, I personally feel it’s gotten exponentially more difficult to get outside for much more than an aimless, mildly boring walk with every COVID-19 restriction and mandate.
While I’m not particularly prone to physical exertion in any capacity, and online school has all but turned me into East Campus Apartments’ resident hermit, I will admit I’ve been itching to get outside.
I desperately longed for a change of scenery, a boost in serotonin and a way to get my mind off of school.
So when my friend stumbled upon a UREC-sponsored day hiking trip and invited me to sign up with her, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
Now I know I said I’m not a very outdoorsy person, but I am someone who thoroughly enjoys nature and, well, the concept of the outdoors.
This being said, I had been thinking about picking up hiking over quarantine as an actually productive hobby as opposed to turning my brain off and building my Animal Crossing island for days on end.
However, widespread park and trail closures (and my uncertainty about trying anything new) at the height of the pandemic definitely caused me to shy away from putting myself out there, so I carried on with my mind-numbing quarantine daily routine.
So, honestly, the UREC trip was somewhat of a godsend in my eyes — and a perfect solution to my severe vitamin D deficiency.
Not to mention it was free, so of course, I had to book a spot.
I packed my bag and headed out with the UREC crew and our pleasantly small group of three hikers, including myself, on the morning of March 27. We drove to Acadiana Park near Lafayette and proceeded to spend the entire day chatting and hiking in nature trails.
I didn’t really know what to expect from the trip as I’d never been on a University-sponsored excursion, much less a UREC trip. This day hike truly exceeded any of my expectations though, creating a perfect, virus-free balance between all the things I had been looking forward to for months — picking up a fun new hobby, making friends with like-minded people and getting my mind off the monotony of my Zoom schedule for at least a few hours.
The trip was honestly therapeutic, though I’ll admit I was scared it would be anything but calming for me.
I initially had a tiny bit of insecurity about never having hiked before. Thankfully, though, the UREC staff members are super accommodating and personable, and I was glad to see the trip was set up to be suitable for all skill and experience levels.
I remember, before the onset of the pandemic and the ensuing garbage fire of a public health crisis, seeing a lot of advertisements for UREC trips: hiking, kayaking, biking and beyond.
These opportunities dwindled for obvious reasons, and I honestly completely forgot about them until this hiking trip was presented to me.
Based on my experience, I personally feel these trips are underrated. As we reach a point where more and more trips become possible and more opportunities for adventure present themselves, I think more students should look into these excursions.
If you’re anything like me, I can guarantee you could use the serotonin boost from walking through a densely-treed forest sprinkled with purple and pink wildflowers, choosing to forget about degree audits and Moodle for as long as possible.
I know I probably sound like I have some grandiose UREC sponsorship, but alas, I do not; I’m just sincerely looking forward to its future trips to get out in nature — and far away from Zoom classrooms.
Emily Davison is a 19-year-old anthropology and English sophomore from Denham Springs.