EMU Explore Club Paddles Amidst Rain on the Shenandoah

This article was published in the EMU WeatherVane, a student newspaper.

EMU provides many opportunities for students to have fun on the weekends.

For those who are adventurous and creative, the Shenandoah Valley holds a number of often over-looked opportunities to experience nature up-close and personal.

A group of EMU students did just that and braved a cloudy and misty morning to take advantage of a wonderful opportunity to go canoeing on the Shenandoah River Saturday.

The adventurers drove about 30 minutes to Elkton, Va., and then spent around four hours on the river with professor and outdoor adventurer, Lester Zook.

They experienced challenges and learned how to navigate through rapids, and how to recognize flow patterns throughout the river.

Although the day started out rainy and damp, the sun came out and the participants all enjoyed the canoe trip. They were able to see some of the local wildlife, learn about canoeing, and enjoy the change of pace in nature.

Junior Amanda Helfrich went on the trip and felt pleased about the result of the trip.

Helfrich, EMU Explore’s president, said, “Our group was smaller, so we got the chance to learn new paddling techniques. And even though there was a variety of experience, everyone seemed to have a great time.”

The mood was cheerful and exciting throughout the day, as the participants were given a chance to have fun while learning in a hands-on environment.

These students were able to participate in this activity through EMU Explore, a club devoted to helping EMU students explore nature through a number of different activities such as hiking, rock climbing, caving, mountain biking, and canoeing.

Helfrich says the club is, “a great way to get outside and have fun in a healthy and safe way, and we lead a variety of trips that cater to many different interests and difficulty levels.”

Students are able to sign up for trips and experience these opportunities to learn more about nature in the Harrisonburg area.

“Students get to explore a part of the Shenandoah Valley that they may never have seen before…from caving to hiking to a 360 degree view of the valley,” said Helfrich.

Helfrich likes that students who would not usually be drawn together can come and interact through a shared love of nature.

Helfrich says, “I really enjoy how Explore trips bring different people from the EMU community together in a way that isn’t necessarily achieved through class.”

EMU Explore offers opportunities for students to experience the natural world surrounding EMU’s campus.

“I hope for future trips we can continue to offer fun—and free!—ways to explore the beautiful land around us and get to know more of the student body through shared interests.”

EMU Explore provides a chance to combine both of these interests into activities scattered throughout the year.

There are plenty of opportunities to adventure through the Shenandoah Valley that has offered EMU students an opportunity for fun and excitement for the past hundred years. EMU Explore gives this year’s students a chance to take advantage of this wonderful resource.

Malachi Bontrager, Opinion Editor