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Adventure Outings: Beyond the Classroom


Our Local Adventures

Climbing Cosmic Wall

Last weekend was a great weekend for climbing!  The temperatures were warm but not too hot and there wasn’t a cloud to be seen.  Some AO staff took advantage of this opportunity to climb the Cosmic Wall on Mt. Hubris (The Ogre.)  This peak is a 950 foot rock spire that is part of the Castle Crags formation southwest of Mt. Shasta.

The thin red line notes the Cosmic Wall route
Prepping some gear

After a 5am wakeup and quick breakfast the hiking began.  It’s roughly a 3 mile hike to the base of the climb.  The approach features a LOT of elevation gain and a bit of bushwacking. The bushwacking portion is technically a climber’s trail, but it’s not maintained, so it’s easy to get off track and it’s impossible to not get attacked by some Manzanita.  Fortunately you can see your objective for this entire portion so we soon arrived at the base of the climb and the real fun was soon to begin.


First view of some rock on the approach

Continue reading “Climbing Cosmic Wall”


Feather River Hike & Hot Springs

Just a short 1.5 hour drive from Chico, alongside the Feather River, is an abundance of hiking as well as an inviting hot spring.  On this particular trip we decided to hike the Yellow Creek trail. Continue reading “Feather River Hike & Hot Springs”

Our Local Adventures – The Iron Canyon Trail

The Iron Canyon Trail is located just outside of Red Bluff on Highway 36.  It’s typically done as a 4 mile loop with the main attraction being a nice view of the Sacramento River as it makes a turn through Iron Canyon.  Along the way you also cross several other creeks and “mini-canyons.”  The trail is rocky at times so be sure to wear sturdy footwear.  Dogs and bikes are allowed, camping is not.

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Type: Hike, trail run or bike (not recommended)
Location: Highway 36 near Red Bluff
Duration: 1-2 hours
Distance: 4 miles
Drive time from campus: 45 minutes
Approx cost: $5 in gas
What you need: A car/, sturdy shoes, copy of map, water and snacks
Experience level: Novice
Level of difficulty: Low

Our Local Adventures – Backcountry Ski/Snowboard in Lassen Volcanic National Park

The lodge at the Southwest Visitor Center

Within an hour and a half of Chico lies Lassen Volcanic National Park. With El Nino’s arrival some AO staff and friends decided to embark on our first backcountry ski/snowboard tour of the Winter season.  We arrived at Lassen hoping there would be enough snow for our first turns of the year…and we were not disappointed!  There were several feet of fresh snow on the ground and new snow falling for our entire visit. Continue reading “Our Local Adventures – Backcountry Ski/Snowboard in Lassen Volcanic National Park”

Our Local Adventures – Lake Aloha, Desolation Wilderness

Lake Aloha makes for a great overnight backpacking destination (how we utilized it) or can be one stop on a multi-night expedition.  Located in the Desolation Wilderness portion of Tahoe National Forest, the Echo Lake trailhead is just 20 minutes from South Lake Tahoe.  Permits are required for overnight trips and there is a daily quota.  Since you can purchase them online and in advance you will need to be proactive about planning your trip.

Continue reading “Our Local Adventures – Lake Aloha, Desolation Wilderness”

Our Local Adventures – The Beautiful Trinity River

Adventure Outings offers multiple trips every semester to a wondrous place called the Trinity River. It is located just 3 hours north of Chico and is the longest tributary of the Klamath River. The best parts of the Trinity River are the views. Its is extremely scenic and full of wildlife. You can see fish jumping out of the water and its not uncommon to see a golden or bald eagle while boating. While on an Adventure Outings trips, you will rarely see other people on the river and the campsite is straight out of a dream.

pigeon point

It has a really nice cement pavilion that has multiple picnic tables underneath for those times with inclement weather. For all other times there are small fields of grass that over look the river and a really nice bond fire pit. The other great thing about this camp site is that you don’t have to go anywhere to put into a really fun and exciting run on the river, you can put your boats in right there!

Adventure Outings offers 3 different types of trips to the Trinity River. If you are new to the river and don’t know much about whitewater or you are just looking for a low key way to have a boat load of fun, check out our rafting trips.


If you are looking for something a little more high octane where you are in more control sign up for our inflatable kayaking trip, it is one of my personal favorite trips that Adventure Outings runs. The inflatable kayaks are like little miniature versions of the 7 person rafts that you guide yourself!

bunch of iks

If that doesn’t sound like enough excitement for you we also offer a class that will teach you how to kayak in a hard shell kayak. This is one of our most intense trips, but at the same time one of the most rewarding. You come away with a really amazing skill and all of our instructors are ACA certified to teach kayaking.DCIM107GOPRO

Regardless of what you do when you are out there the Trinity River is an amazing place and everyone should get out there!

-Rachel Curtin

AO Marketing and PR

Our Local Adventures – Canyon Creek in the Trinity Alps

Trinity Alps Canyon Creek Day 1 It was a rainy Friday afternoon as Henry and I packed up the last of our gear. I had been backpacking in the rain before, but not of this caliber. As we drove towards the mountains we slowly shifted our conversations from the misery of schoolwork towards the awesome weekend ahead of us. It was dark when we stopped at the Weaverville ranger station to pick up the necessary permits. A wilderness and a campfire permit were all we needed for this adventure. Free of charge! We continued to drive along the windy roads through the raging rainstorm. We arrived at Ripstein Campground at around 8 pm during the worst of the weather. We set up our tent and got inside as quickly as possible, making sure to stay dry during the process. 1 henry and i at camp Day 2 After making it through a sleepless night, we were relieved to see the rain had stopped. We packed up and got ready to hit the trail. We had an 8-mile, 3000 foot gain endeavor on our hands. Our destination was the two majestic Canyon Creek Lakes. Within five minutes of starting, we hit our first river crossing. Assessing the situation, the only safe way to cross was over a fallen tree. 2 henry crossing tree Unfortunately, I tore my rain pants during the treacherous crossing. Little did I realize, this would come back to bite me later on in our journey. As we started our slow climb through the forest, we were struck by the beauty all around us. Around every corner was a new view better than the last. 3 panorama 1 We stopped to have some lunch and recharge for a bit. For a brief moment the sun smiled around the clouds and lifted our spirits. With our sun-infused energy, we continued on our way. Up and up we climbed. Most of the trail was flooded from the rain and we took great caution to keep our boots dry. At times, the trail was absorbed by the swampy collection of rain. As we gained elevation, the trees slowly started to disappear. This exposed the strong granite mountains on either side and emphasized the overflowing river to our side. With all the rain, we came close to some very powerful waterfalls.4 waterfall After what felt like hours of hiking, we realized how close we were to the lakes. We could see the ridge the lakes were waiting behind. WHAM! Out of nowhere, the trail mysteriously walks itself into the rushing river! Looking around, there were no fallen trees to aid us. We were so close but there was no way were we going to swim across. We were forced to find a new way to the lakes. We decided we’d make our own trail by following the water runoff that was at our feet. By this point we were so used to walking upstream, it was easy to create a trail. We had to push aside bushes which blocked our way. Every bush was booby trapped to shower us with chilling water. My torn rain pants allowed the water to soak into my boots. My waterproof boots did a fantastic job of keeping the water in. After our disastrous attempt to fight nature, we were forced to head back. With daylight slowly disappearing, we needed to set up tent and get into dry clothes quick. 5 setting up camp We set up our tent just off trail, right next to the flowing river. Henry collected water from the river while I set up the stove. For dinner, we had couscous with broccoli and salmon. Warm food, dry clothes, and hot chocolate were essential before we decided to call it a day. With the rushing river beside us and the soft pitter-patter of the rain approaching, we tried our best to get some sleep for tomorrow’s hike out. Day 3 We awoke abruptly to a massive wave demolishing our tent! The damn at the lakes had broken and started carrying us away. Not really, but the rain sure felt like it. It was unrelenting. We hurriedly ate some oatmeal and threw everything we had into our packs. We both looked at each other and said “Let’s go!” There was no time to stop and chat; we kept a brisk pace the whole way down. We only had enough time to take quick glances at the surrounding beauty as we tried to get out of the rain. Once we reached the forest, we had a little cover from the constant barrage of water.6 panorama By this point, everything we owned was thoroughly drenched and we didn’t have the need to keep our stuff dry. We slowed down the pace to soak in nature around us. CRACK! CRASH! The sound of a massive tree collapsing from the might of the river echoed through the canyon. Myth confirmed: If a tree falls in the forest, Henry and I can hear it. We continued on our grind and all I could think of was how nice it would be to climb inside the car and blast the heater.  We finally arrived at the fallen tree we had crossed the day before. We both knew the car was just on the other side. We prepared to cross the river and tried not to think of the danger of falling in.  I went first, slowly inching my way across the log. The spray of the river stung my face, the tree was slippery and rotting away beneath me, and my pack felt heavier than ever. We both made it across completely and skipped our way to the car. 7 henry and i on trail As we head back to Chico, we talked about the experience we shared. The rain, river, and rocks all combined to make for a fascinating weekend. All in all, it was a hugely successful trip and I could not ask for a better experience. Kevin Hand Trip Leader – Adventure Outings

Our Local Adventures – Bucks Lake Wilderness

Backpacking has been one of my favorite activities at Chico state. I have learned so much and it has inspired me to look at what I actually want to do with my life. I have learned so much from reading a really great book . It is a hilarious look at the basics of backpacking called Allen and Mike’s Really Cool Backpackin’ Book: Traveling and Camping Skills for a Wilderness Environment!. I really enjoy all the illustrations and helpful hints that the authors provide. It is funny but also very informative. It is a really interesting and though provoking book in that everyone backpacks a little differently and their perspectives are very insightful. The authors are very well versed in backpacking, based purely on their experience and teaching in the outdoors. If someone was to really want to backpack and have no experience whatsoever and they didn’t know anyone who had any clue how to backpack this book would be a perfect way to figure everything out.

Luckily for us, we also had a wonderful experienced backpacker that was able to teach us all the intangibles that were not available in the book. We learned everything we needed to know to be properly prepared in the wilderness. We were shown clothes to wear, told where to get them and it was even explained to us why we needed what we did and the consequences of us failing to be prepared. This focused on the theory of layering. We learned about materials that would insulate our body heat and other that would even keep us warm if it got wet. The most important thing we learned from that particular class was that cotton is extremely dangerous to bring in the outdoor because it does not insulate when wet and it takes a very long time to dry. At a different time we learned about how to properly prepare our shelter. We were taught knots and even different techniques on how to keep yourself warm, covered and dry underneath an expo-tarp. An expo-tarp is like a tent with no sides so it needs to be tied to trees or some other land feature. We learned how to start our whisper-light stoves, how to cook and even how to plan meals. Finally we were off on our adventure.

We all split up into our cooking groups and divided up our group gear. Our group gear consisted of a whisper light stove, pots and pans and an expo-tarp. Most people had packed their packs in a very interesting manner and it was good that we were forced to repack them. Some people had obviously not paid much attention to the book on how to pack your backpack. Once everyone had finally arrived and all the group gear was finally packed we left Chico and headed to Bucks Wilderness Area.
Once at Bucks Wilderness we had a quick lesson on topography maps, sorted out the last bit of gear and headed out in two separate groups about 15 minutes apart. Gold Lake was beautiful and the weather was perfect as we started our short hike to Silver Lake. The hike was stunning, it has everything you could ask for in a hike. There were times where it was steep, times where it was flat, times where it was rocky and times where it was muddy. There were some really nice views along the way as well. There was a small creek and some really picturesque mountain faces.

When we got down into Silver Lake we found a nice camp spot and my cook group set up our two tents. Some of the other groups struggled with their tarps so I tried to help them. Many of them had bad spots but sort of refused to move. After everyone was all settled in with their gear set up we has some free time to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Some people tried to swim in the lake but it was really cold so only one person actually swam. Other people took naps and others explored the area around the lake.

Bucks Lake Wilderness
When it started to get close to dark we started cooking dinner. Some of the people in other cook group forgot how to use their stoves so other people helped them. There were a few close calls where people over filled their spirit cups and almost lit the ground on fire. We made it through dinner unscathed and then most of the group stayed up to watch the stars but it was getting pretty chilly so we all went to bed.

That was when the fun really started. Once we were all comfortably in out tents and asleep it started to pour. The rain that was predicted came in full force. It rained most of the night and when there was time where it was not raining our wonderful leader scrambled around to try and help those groups that had tarps. It rained most of the night but luckily our cook group brought tents so we were nice and warm and dry.

In the morning it was very cold and everything was very wet. We started making breakfast and it started raining again. Slowly the weather got worse, the rain came down harder then it turned to hail and for a while it was snowing. It was very cold and many people were very wet. One person only had cotton sweat pants so I told him he could go sit in my sleeping bag to warm up because he looked boarder line hypothermic and I had a zero degree sleeping bag. I was pretty cold and I kept worrying about the other members of our class that were not as prepared as I was. I couldn’t help but worry that they would have been freezing if I was cold. There was one guy who thought he was really tough and he stood in the snow with a track suit, the jacket unzipped, and refused to borrow clothing from anyone. Granted, he didn’t complain but he looked miserable.

Everyone was very much unprepared for the weather we were getting bombarded with and so our leader made the call that we would not be able to safely spend another night because so many people had very wet sleeping bags and the dropping temperature meant that they would be extremely cold during the night. Packing up in the freezing rain was one of the most challenging things I have ever done. It was so cold and my gear was pretty wet, from letting cotton sweat pants kid into the tent, so I ended up just stuffing everything into my pack.

The hike out was tough because the rocks were so slippery but once we got going everyone was warmed up and we ended on a happy note.

All in all it was a good trip, very memorable. I had a great time and I will definitely be backpacking in the future, as a matter of fact I went backpacking in the Redwoods the very next weekend! I would recommend this class to anyone that is interested in starting to backpack or just has an interest in the outdoors.

Our Local Adventures – Stand Up Paddleboarding at Black Butte Lake

Here is an extremely simple local adventure.  If you’re looking for a relaxing way to spend a hot day this could be your answer: 1) get your favorite floating device (SUP, sea kayak, etc.) 2) drive about 45 minutes, just past Orland, to Black Butte Lake 3) enjoy the water.

For human-powered adventures at Black Butte Lake the best place to launch is Buckhorn Recreation Area as this is only location with a designated swimming area. After some time in the water you can visit Orland Buttes Campground for some disc golf or “frolf.” Visit this link for a full list of facilities and a map.

Type: Flatwater float/paddle
Location: Black Butte Lake (near Orland, CA)
Duration: 1-6 hours depending on how long you want to spend on the water
Distance: Up to the paddler
Drive time from campus: 45 minutes (driving directions)
Approx cost: $10 in gas + extra if you need to rent a SUP or kayak
What you need: A car/, a paddlecraft, life jacket and paddle
Experience level: Novice
Level of difficulty: Low

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