Here comes the sun

Attention all slug people. Nay, I am not referring to some half-human, half-slug hybrid, but many of us who dwell in stormy Portland.

Attention all slug people. Nay, I am not referring to some half-human, half-slug hybrid, but many of us who dwell in stormy Portland. We winter-plagued, rain-drenched individuals who have slowly morphed from active, fun-loving folk into pasty, lazy, slug people.

During the dreary rainy months in the Northwest, which often can span from September until April we forget that sunlight even exists. The streets downtown become scarce of life during the day and fall to near silence at night. It is in this time of proverbial hibernation that we venture outside by necessity and not by choice. There are no rainbows without rain, but there is a serious lack of activity with it.

It hasn’t been without consequence either. It is time for us people, perhaps slightly pudgy from the extra winter poundage reserved for our metropolitan hibernating, to come out of hiding. We have made it through the gloom and have reached the end of the gray days as the sun comes back and the weather finally warms up. It’s time to get out and reclaim the streets from winter’s cold.

We are fortunate enough to exist in an area with such a wide range of outdoor escapades available. With rivers, the coast, mountains, valleys and even snow if you want it, I’m wondering how we can even stand to stay inside for so long.

And lucky us, we don’t even have to invent our own adventures! The months indoors have perhaps rendered us intimidated by even the slightest notion of physical activity. Portland State’s Outdoor Recreation Program has a multitude of options to cater to even the most

adverse to sunlight.

“All of our focus is on providing gear and instruction to the student body, to encourage them to get outdoors,” said Adam Edwards, PSU Outdoor Recreation staff member. “Every Portland State student gets half price on rentals, which is extremely affordable compared to conventional renting centers.”

If you have an itch to do anything from kayaking to backpacking, the Outdoor Program will help you scratch it.

“Anyone can sign up for the trips we organize, non-students included,” Edwards said. “The groups are wonderfully led with a 1-to-3 ratio of instructors to students, so you have all the help you’d need if you’re inexperienced.”

In the near future students can look forward to a variety of trips including a hike to Ramona Falls, a mountain climbing tutorial and a week-long backpacking excursion along the Hoh River trail.

“The Hoh has some of the most pristine trails in Oregon,” Edwards said. “Last year we took a full group of students on the trip and had an amazing time.”

The Outdoor Program is currently in the middle of their white water kayaking seminar, and more information about all of their trips can be found online and at their office on the back side of the Rec Center.

On top of that, PSU has a variety of clubs to tempt us back into the wilderness. Groups that give us the opportunity to experience things that would otherwise be unavailable to us. Recently joined member of the Sailing Club, Rebecca Waits, has nothing but praise for the group.

“I definitely never expected to find myself in a sailing club. It always sounded like something reserved solely for wealthy boys all named Chad,” Waits said. “I know now that it’s just a fantastic chance to not only get outside, but out onto the water to really experience the Willamette.”

Of course it isn’t for the faint of heart. While sailing is beautiful and relaxing it is a great physical activity as well.

“It’s absolutely energy intensive. You get a hell of a workout being out there,” Waits said. “Plus, you get to say ‘I’m on a boat!’ which is pretty much as good as it gets.”

The club meets three days as week at the Willamette Marina. It’s open to anyone, and right now they are actively looking for new members to join their awesome crew.

Of course there’s a massive difference between talking about everything we could do and actually going to do it. As much as I can fantasize about waking up early on weekdays before class to go jogging, when it comes down to it, my warm bed and purring cat are way more appealing than sneakers.

As students, we have ridiculous schedules as it is, and fitting in time to just soak up sun or get our blood pumping isn’t the easiest task. Nothing gets a brain working like some fresh air, and we’ll need it with the impending doom of midterms arriving. It’s important to set goals, at least small ones at first, to get back outdoors.

Be you a wannabe pirate craving for some time off the land, or just a student looking to get some skiing in before all the snow on the mountains melt, there is plenty to get excited about now that the sun is shining down on Portland again. ?