Rec center offering July backpacking, hiking trip to Southern Ohio

Jessie Marks

The Student Recreation and Wellness Center will offer a backpacking trip to Shawnee State Forest in West Portsmouth from July 25 to 27.

The cost to students for the two-night trip is $109. All equipment and food is included in the cost, and the registration deadline is July 23.

Although students may have camping experience, Dave Herpy, outdoor adventure and camp coordinator at the rec center, said backpacking is different because all trip gear, including tents, sleeping bags and food, is carried on the participants’ backs.

“It changes the element of the trip really because you can’t bring refrigerated food, ice or a cooler,” Herpy said. “Everything that you bring has to be lightweight and compact.”

Trip leader Chris Lukas said participants can expect to hike nearly 12 miles on this trip and will learn about packing for a hike, building a fire, campfire cooking and water purification methods. Local plants and animals will be discussed as well as the ethical code of Leave No Trace. The goal of Leave No Trace is to lessen the human impact on the wilderness.

Lukas chose Shawnee State Forest for this trip because the trails’ frequent overlooks and elevation changes make for very scenic hiking.

“We’ll go up probably 1,600 feet of elevation,” Lukas said. “It’s not the easiest hike we could have done, but the easier hikes aren’t as pretty.”

Herpy said the Shawnee backpacking trip is a chance for participants to truly enjoy this state forest.

“Backpacking is definitely more rustic and more remote,” Herpy said. “But out in the middle of the woods, they won’t hear any traffic or see anybody else. It will be them and wilderness, which is real cool.”

To register for the trip, call (330) 672-4REC or register online at

Contact student recreation and wellness reporter Jessie Marks at [email protected].