Spring Brings More EPIC Outdoor Adventures

By Colette-Janae Buck, Contributing Writer

Rafting dangerous white capped waters, mountaineering steep snow-ridden mountain sides and hiking cavernous trails are all adrenaline-ridden trips EPIC Adventures offers to students.

EPIC, or Experiential Programs Inspiring Confidence, is a semi-student-led recreational outing program that exists to build social and teamwork skills while helping students venture out of their comfort zones and try new things.

Assistant trip leader and EWU senior Kylie Hunter and operations manager and EWU senior Jessica Hawley said white-water rafting and backpacking trips are just two of the adventures EPIC will be offering for spring quarter. Mountain biking and camping will also be trips offered to students.

“We cater to all students,” said Hunter. “We try and get people involved in trips or activities that will further their sense of adventure.” Hunter has participated in EPIC Adventures for four years.

Daisy Quiroga, EWU freshman, said what drew her to apply to Eastern was the EPIC program. “Before I came to Eastern I really wanted a community where I could try new things and push my own limity,” said Quiroga. “So when I heard that there was EPIC at Eastern it got me excited. I was just eager to try everything.”

Quiroga said she has only been on one trip with the program, snowboarding at Schweitzer mountain, but the experience helped her tackle one of her fears. “I had only snowboarded a couple of times, but I really was able to practice a lot. The leaders were really helpful and they made me feel comfortable with going on chair lifts, which is my biggest fear,” Quiroga said.

EPIC offers both day trips, and weekend trips as well as instruction courses on rock climbing, wilderness first aid and whitewater raft guiding.

Day trips are excursions held around the Cheney and Spokane areas for convenient and easy access. Spring day trips are designed for students who want short, enjoyable and cost-friendly trips. “For day trips we’ll go out on paddleboards and paddle around a lake for a couple hours or go bouldering at near by rocks,” said Hawley, avid trip go-er.

Weekend-long sleepovers or camp-out trips, however, are for students who would like to experience heavier adventures like white-water rafting and backpacking. Depending on if the trip is over a holiday weekend, trip lengths can vary from two to four days and are held in farther-away destinations like Montana and Oregon.

“We have four rafting trips coming up this spring to different rivers including the Salmon, Deschutes and Methow,” said Hawley. “Some rivers have rock climbing with them as well.”

Other popular attractions for the upcoming spring 2016 weekend adventures include riverboarding in Wenatchee, backpacking at Hells Canyon in Eastern Oregon and rafting the Salmon River in Northern Idaho. A caving and stand-up paddleboard day trip session will also be held.

According to Hawley, trip prices vary depending on the type of trip it is. “We look at what we spend on gas and transportation and where we stay. Then, we put all those prices together and divide it by the maximum amount of participants we are able to take while still trying to keep it as cheap as possible for students,” Hawley said.

Trips can be payed for singularly, but more frequent student adventurers may want to purchase an annual pass. Even if a student only ends up using the pass for one trip, EPIC advisers say purchasing an annual pass is cheaper in the long run rather than paying out of pocket for one adventure.

This spring’s four white-water rafting trips and two Hells Canyon weekend backpacking trips are the most popular adventures, said Hawley. EPIC trips fill up fast, so students are advised to book their trip spots early by visiting the EPIC Adventures office in the University Recreation Center.

“A lot of people don’t realize how many people they’ll meet when they go on EPIC trips, especially camping trips,” said Hunter. “Adventurers realize it’s okay to branch out, it’s okay to meet new people and build a team with them.”