Cover photo courtesy of Wikimedia
College, in many ways, is full of hidden opportunities. The wise advice of your professor might be hidden behind an intimidating closed door during office hours. The warning your mom gave you to focus on school may be hidden by the allure of a Thursday night at Tim’s. It’s our job as students to open these closed doors so that we might see what lies beyond them.
This past weekend I applied this metaphor to my life by literally opening a door and stepping inside of 438 Stonemill. 438 Stonemill, the home of the university’s Outdoor Engagement Center, offers a wide variety of activities for students to engage in the natural world and was the starting point of my trip to nearby Yellow Springs.
I chose to participate in one of their fall hikes at the Glen Helen Nature Preserve in Yellow Springs, and this experience provided a chance to clear my mind and enjoy time with friends.
Meeting at the Campus Recreation Center, I joined a group of friends and 10 other students to board the campus vans for the 30-minute drive. Upon arrival, we dispersed into the quaint town of Yellow Springs for a quick local lunch. During the lunch break, students also had time to explore the local comic book shop and the jewelry stands outside. Afterward, we set out on a three-mile hike led by Campus Recreation student staff members.
The trail was decorated by waterfalls flowing with spring water so clear that some students attempted to drink it. (Our trail leaders stopped that quickly!) At one point we crossed a bridge over a stream, and leaning over the rails we watched as fish jumped out and splashed back down into the water. As we traveled along the trail we encountered lots of families hiking with their dogs. One of the best moments of the day was watching as two German Shepherds splashed into the creek to cool off.
We also discovered a giant boulder, and all my friends managed to fit on top of it. In this moment, I paused to enjoy my surroundings and peaceful nature. I was happy I had taken a step into a new doorway and discovered a new opportunity on campus.
If you’re looking for hidden opportunities to discover, look no further than the Outdoor Engagement Center. There are upcoming fall hikes and even a trip to Kelly’s Island.
Photos courtesy of Maddy Bartsche