Adventure WV First-Year Trips - Glossary of Terms
For many participants on our First-Year Trips, it’s their first time camping, backpacking,
and adventuring. While sometimes the “mystery” of the unknown can be an exciting
experience for students, we also recognize the value of being prepared mentally
and physically for what you might encounter on our trips. This glossary of terms
serves to give brief introductions/explanations for some of the activities and
other miscellaneous terms you might see associated with our First-Year Trips.
The backcountry refers to wilderness areas that are rural and undeveloped. There
are no roads in the backcountry, only trails; so walking is our method of transport
into these beautiful, natural areas! Our Explore trips travel into the backcountry
during the backpacking portion of the trip. Our leaders are well equipped with
the proper training and gear to teach their groups how to travel, camp, and live
in backcountry areas.
Our Odyssey and Explore trips travel and camp throughout the state of WV during the
course of their trips. While tent camping, the groups will cook, sleep, and hang
out in designated camping areas such as state parks and campgrounds. We bring the
shelter with us on these trips! Amenities are often limited at these campgrounds,
but participants can expect to sleep in tents with their group-mates, and have
access to bathrooms and running water. Showers are available at some campgrounds.
Backpacking and Backcountry Camping
During the backpacking portion of our Explore trips, students bring all of the equipment
and food needed for thriving in the wilderness in their backpacks. This makes for
a more lightweight and primitive form of camping; but the kind where you can see
the stars (on a clear night!), hear the crickets, and purify your drinking water
from a gurgling stream. Students will learn and practice Leave No Trace travel
technique and gain important skills for camp craft like knots, packing a pack,
food storage, backcountry cooking, and more. Carrying a fully-stocked backpack
on a trail can be a challenging yet rewarding experience, and an opportunity to
get to know your group-mates very well! Our groups hike at a slow-and-steady pace
when backpacking, so that everyone can enjoy the scenery and conversation while
on the trail.
Whether it’s a quick walk to the breathtaking overlook at Coopers Rock State Forest,
a scenic tour near Seneca Rocks, or an exploration of the Ferncliff Peninsula in
Ohiopyle State Park; all of our First-Year Trips allow students to explore beautiful
natural areas in and around WV through short hikes. Students will use their small
daypacks (on the packing list!) to carry the necessary items for the day, but unlike
the longer backpacking activity, they return to their vehicles and tents/lodging
at the end of the activity.
Students on our Quest trips and the Odyssey trips will travel to one of AWV’s
rock climbing sites with their leaders and trained rock climbing guides. Students
will receive basic instruction and have the opportunity to try their hand at climbing
on a natural rock formation while secured to a rope! There are a variety of climbing
route options available, from beginner-oriented to more challenging. Students will
cheer on their group-mates and assist with the belay system for securing climbers.
AWV’s challenge course (sometimes called a “ropes course”) is located at the AWV
Outdoor Education Center (OEC) in the woods of University Forest, next to Coopers
Rock. Students on our Odyssey and Quest trips will travel up to the OEC and spend
time on our low and high challenge courses. The low course consists of a variety
of activities and elements on (or close to!) the ground, where students are challenged
to navigate each element as a group. These elements are designed to be exciting,
but require teamwork to complete successfully! Our high course elements are constructed
with trees, utility poles, and cables, and provide a series of varied and progressive
obstacles for students to navigate individually and as a group. With the support
of their peers and trained leaders, students can climb, navigate, balance, hang,
and swing on our giant jungle-gym style features!
Students on our some of our Odyssey trips will stay in our yurts located at the Outdoor
Education Center. Yurts are a traditional round dwellings historically used by
nomads in central Asia. Our unique wooden yurts have electricity, bunk beds, chairs,
and porches for relaxing in the evenings! Bathrooms and showers are available in
a separate bath house on-site.
Students on our Quest trips will lodge at Camp Muffly just outside of Morgantown.
Muffly’s traditional summer camp-style accommodations include cabins with bunks,
air conditioning, electricity, showers, and bathrooms. Students will eat meals
in the dining hall on-camp, and pack lunches for their adventures during the day.
While much of the trip is spent traveling and adventuring away from the camp during
the day, groups will also be able to take advantage of Muffly’s pool, beach volleyball
pit, baseball diamond, soccer pitch, and more! Visit
http://campmufflypark.com/index.html for more information.
All of our First-Year Trips go whitewater rafting! Odyssey and Quest will raft in
Ohiopyle, PA while Explore trips raft in Fayetteville, WV. Students and leaders
participate in a half or full-day of rafting, led by professional whitewater guides,
on class III-IV whitewater rapids. Students will paddle an inflatable raft down
a body of moving water, navigating around obstacles and riding through big waves
with the assistance of a guide. Rafting is an exciting, adrenaline-rush of fun,
much like being on a roller-coaster!
Synthetic Material (For your clothing!)
You will see this term on all of our packing lists, as well as listed in several other places on our packets/website. We ask students on our trips (and required for trips that travel into the backcountry, like Explore and Wilderness), to avoid wearing cotton clothing/underwear/socks. Clothing made of cotton will absorb water (sweat, rain) and take heat away from your body, making you cold (this is possible even on sunny days!). Synthetic material will still retain insulating ability, even when wet (keeping you warmer!).
Having the right material on trips that travel, live, and adventure in the outdoors is crucial to having a comfortable and safe trip. Sometimes it’s just not possible to go inside if it’s raining, and sometimes you sweat during the day but it gets chilly at night. You’d be surprised how quickly even 70 degrees feels chilly after a hot and sunny day. The weather in the mountains is unpredictable and it is important that students are prepared with the right clothing.
How do you find out what material your clothing is made of? Make sure to check and read labels. Clothing and underwear will have tags either at the collar or by your ribcage that list the materials the item is made from. Items made from 100% non-cotton materials are best, items that have a smaller percentage of cotton materials mixed in are better than full-cotton. Examples of some synthetic materials you might see:
- Wool (technically not synthetic, but a really great material for outdoor clothing!)
Waterproof Rain Jacket
The weather in the mountainous regions can be unpredictable! Students should expect a variety of different weather and temperatures on their trip. One of the most important pieces of equipment a student should have on any of our trips is a quality, waterproof rain jacket (Also a great investment for walking around campus in any season). *Waterproof rain jackets are available to borrow for Explore students, free-of-charge, if reserved ahead of time*
There is a big difference between a waterproof rain jacket and a water-resistant jacket. Check the labels/names closely- Even if a jacket is called a “rain jacket”, make sure it says “water-proof” somewhere in the name or description.
- Water-resistant jackets are only designed to handle light rain for a brief time before soaking through completely (and thus the person wearing it). These jackets are sometimes called “wind-breaker” jackets and generally either consist of just a fabric shell or a fabric shell with a thin, see-through coating on the inside.
- Waterproof rain jackets are designed to stand up to prolonged, driving rain conditions. These jackets will not only be made of the typical wind-breaker/jacket nylon type material, but will have an additional laminate/coating on the inside of the jacket to enhance its waterproof-ness. This internal laminate/coating will feel “plastic-y” and is oftentimes white or gray in color. Waterproof jackets will greatly range in price as there is a variety of technology available on the market. If you are looking to purchase, examples of affordable, waterproof rain jackets we might recommend would include the REI Co-Op Rain jacket, Columbia Evapouration jacket, Marmot Precip jacket, Mountain Hardwear Finder rain jacket, Sierra Designs Hurricane rain jacket, or the North Face Venture Rain Jacket.