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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 11, 2008

Touch the Earth announces 2008-09 Adventure Trips

The University of Iowa's Touch the Earth Outdoor Recreation and Education Program has announced its 2008-09 Adventure Trips, which include exploring nature while kayaking, rock climbing, snowshoeing, hiking, rafting and backpacking.

Registration is under way for the trips at the Outdoor Rental Center in the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex, 2820 Prairie Meadow Drive, off Mormon Trek Boulevard in Iowa City. The trips are open to everyone, including UI students, faculty, staff and the general public. Each trip has a mandatory pre-trip meeting. The price of the trip includes transportation, most meals, camping fees, permits and equipment rental.

Touch the Earth is offering several new one- to two-day trips to destinations in Iowa and the Midwest, as well as longer trips to popular destinations such as Yellowstone (photo, right), the Everglades, and the Colorado River.

The 2008-09 trips include:

--Bouldering at Palisades Kepler State Park, Iowa, Thursday, Sept. 18. Participants will spend an afternoon bouldering along the Cedar River. Bouldering involves climbing on low-elevation rock formations without ropes.

--Wilderness Survival Camping at Macbride Nature Recreation Area, Iowa, Oct. 4-5. Participants will learn basic wilderness survival skills, including how to build their own shelter and start a fire without matches.

--Camping and Hiking Pikes Peak State Park and Effigy Mounds National Monument, Iowa, Oct. 18-19. Participants will experience American Indian culture along the hike and set up camp on the highest bluff overlooking the Mississippi River.

--Mountain Biking the Ouachita National Forest, Arkansas, Nov. 21-26. During Thanksgiving break, travelers can see fall colors and wildlife while working on their mountain biking and camping skills. This national forest has an extensive trail system with different degrees of difficulty, so bikers can build their experience during the trip.

--Canoeing the Buffalo River (photo above, left), Arkansas, Nov. 21-26. This Thanksgiving break trip features viewing fall scenery in a warmer climate. During the day, travelers will paddle the Buffalo River by canoe and then camp on the shore at night.

--Yellowstone National Park Winter Adventure, Wyoming, Jan. 3-11, 2009. On this trip, travelers can camp and cross-country ski on packed trails or go off the beaten path on snowshoes.

--Sea Kayaking the Everglades, Florida, Jan. 3-11, 2009. Kayakers will paddle alongside dolphins in the warm waters of Southwest Florida and enjoy the scenery of thousands of mangrove islands with sandy beaches.

--Cross-Country Skiing the Birke Trail, Wisconsin, Jan. 16-18, 2009. On this challenging trip skiers will face one of the country's most famous cross-country ski trails in Northern Wisconsin. Limited instruction will be provided.

--Winter Camping in Yellow River State Forest, Iowa, Feb. 20-22, 2009. Campers will learn the basics of packing, cooking and sleeping in a winter setting and hike, ski or snowshoe to the backcountry campsite of Iowa's Yellow River State Forest.

--Spring Break in Moab, Utah, March 14-22, 2009. This trip includes white water rafting on the Colorado River, camping in the desert, mountain biking the Slick Rock Trails, hiking throughout the Canyonlands and feasting on delicious food while enjoying the southwestern desert.

--Canoeing the Upper Iowa River, April 25, 2009. This daylong trip will explore the limestone cliffs bordering the Upper Iowa River, recently included in the top 100 U.S. adventures by National Geographic.

--Backpacking Isle Royale National Park, Michigan, May 23-30, 2009. See the wildlife on the largest island on the largest fresh water lake in the world while hiking along 165 miles of trail.

--Moonlight Canoeing the Maquoketa River, Iowa, June 6-7, 2009. This night canoe trip is on the Maquoketa River, which features majestic limestone cliffs.

-White Water Kayaking, southeast United States, June 13-21, 2009. Kayakers will tour the white water rivers of the southeastern United States, beginning with moderate levels before progressing to larger bodies of water.

--Paddling the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin, July 6-12, 2009. On this trip, travelers will explore sea caves and sandy beaches at Lake Superior's Apostle Islands. Participants will enjoy paddling and camping along this beautiful National Lakeshore.

--Canoeing the Boundary Waters, Minnesota, July 11-17, 2009. Participants will learn the basics of canoeing, portaging, camping as well as exploring the many lakes and streams on the U.S./Canada border.

--Mt. Harvard Backpacking Service Trip, Colorado, July 17-26, 2009. Touch the Earth will lead travelers up 14,420-foot Mt. Harvard, the third-highest peak in Colorado. The week starts with whitewater rafting on the Arkansas River. The rest of the week will be spent in the Colligate Peaks wilderness on an environmental service project involving trail maintenance and vegetation restoration.

For prices and additional information about individual trips, see or contact the Outdoor Rental Center at 319-384-1225.

Touch the Earth, part of the UI Division of Recreational Services, has provided outdoor recreation and education programs for more than three decades. The goal of Touch the Earth, through experience-based learning, is to facilitate safe outdoor recreation that is educational and promotes the environment.

OTHER INFORMATION: Touch the Earth staff members have photos from previous trips and can share their experiences about them for feature stories. Members of the media are also welcome to participate in the trips.

STORY SOURCE: University News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 370, Iowa City, Iowa, 52242

MEDIA CONTACTS: Dave Patton, Recreational Services, 319-384-1223,; George McCrory, University News Services, 319-384-0012,; Writer: Caroline Jones