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Get Ready: The Great Outdoors


By Andriana Trang '12

Published Oct 1, 2011 12:00 AM


  Photos courtesy of Joe McLeod.

A morning kayaking trip down the Colorado River to the gates of the Hoover Dam, a mid-afternoon rock climb, followed by a nighttime hike to hidden hot springs, and then bedtime under the stars. It sounds like an ideal vacation, away from the sounds and sights of city life. Well, it would be, if it were that easy to put all the moving pieces of a great outdoors vacation together.

UCLA Recreation's Outdoor Adventures program aims to make it that easy. The program offers a variety of trips like overnight camping in Yosemite, backpacking in the Hetch Hetchy Valley, camping in Big Sur, snowshoeing in the San Jacinto Mountains, canoeing in Arizona's Black Canyon and daytime hiking to the Hollywood sign.

Professional guides — UCLA students and faculty — coordinate logistics like transportation, permits and fees, and food.

Daniel Melling '12, an experienced guide, explains, "The trip is all planned for you, so you can just enjoy the scenery. And because of the amount of knowledge that the guides have, every trip you're going to do things that you might not otherwise, because we know about certain trails or hot springs or restaurants on the way."

While most of the participants are current undergraduate UCLA students, the guides at Outdoor Adventures enthusiastically look for more alumni, faculty and staff participation.

"The trips are not just for students — they're for everyone. We've had older couples who want to go to these places, but don't necessarily want to organize it themselves," Melling says. "If people have any concerns, they can always call the office and we can help them find trips that will be the most fun and appropriate for them."

UCLA Recreation Outdoor Adventures. Various trips in the West and Southwest. Price: $35-$400, depending on adventure. For more information, call (310) 206-1252 or visit www.