Outdoor Rec to go kayaking in Alaska over summer break

Audrey Nelson

All of Outdoor Recreation Services’ extended trips are booked for this year… except one.

Nine spots are left on the kayaking trip in Alaska. Participants will have the opportunity to kayak in Prince William Sound, a sea on the southern coast of the state.

The group will drive from Ames to the Twin Cities. From there, participants take a non-stop flight to Anchorage, Alaska where a shuttle service will take them to Whittier, Alaska, a small town on the coast. A motor boat will then take the participants out into the sea and drops them off-along with their food, tents, and gear. From then on, the team is on their own. In cases of bad weather or other emergencies, a leader keeps a radio to contact the company if they need to be picked up.

It takes about five to six days for the group to kayak back to Whittier. Participants kayak approximately 10 miles each day, and camp by the water at night.

Prince William Sound is filled with wildlife, including bald eagles, salmon and, if you’re lucky, a whale or two. Glaciers and mountains sit beside the sea, making the view something to remember.

“It’s everything they say it is. Alaska is just—it’s unbelievable. It’s breath taking to say the least,” said Jerry Rupert, assistant director of Recreation Services.

Students who have paid their activities fee are considered pass holders and they receive a discounted rate to take the trip. The non-pass holder price is $1,964; the discount brings it to $1,499.

Registration for the summer 2018 Sea Kayaking trip to Alaska is open now until Mar. 13. The trip start Jun. 18 and ends Jun. 25.

For students wanting to go on the other extended trips that are already booked, there is a waiting list. If someone cancels, an email is sent out to everyone on the list at the same time. Outdoor Recreation operates on a first come first serve basis, so whoever responds first receives the open slot.

Spring break trips include surfing in California, snowboarding in Wyoming, snorkeling in Florida and several more. To sign up for the waiting list or any of the trips, contact the front desk at 515-294-8200.

For some, extended trips may be out of their budget. However, Outdoor Recreation offers weekend trips, many of which still have spots available. These trips include but are not limited to: rock climbing in Minnesota, backpacking the Ice Age Trail in Wisconsin, and camping and hiking at Ledges State Park.

Rupert said they get positive feedback from participants about the diversity of the trip destinations, the staff members and the food.

Additionally, Rupert said the trips are great opportunities to make new friends. 12 couples have met through Outdoor Recreation and later gotten married.

Rupert says he stresses three things to students going on trips, the first being that he encourages participants to be involved in every aspect of the trip. Whether it’s the actual activity or making dinner for the group, every aspect contributes to the experience.

Second, he encourages students to get all the information. Most trips are geared toward beginners, but they can still be physically demanding. Rupert said exercising before the trip can make participants’ experience more enjoyable, but it isn’t something they have to do.

Finally, Rupert reminds students to be flexible. Outdoor Recreation can’t control the weather, and sometimes situations require a change of plans.