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Ignite Outdoors

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Is coordinated by the University of Tennessee RecSports Outdoors Program.

Ignite Outdoors is a four-day wilderness trip filled with adventure, leadership, and outdoor skill development for all experience levels.

University of Tennessee RecSports Outdoor Program staff take pride in providing a meaningful experience for participants. With training in navigation, wilderness first aid, risk management, group dynamics, leadership, and technical skills, our leaders are well prepared to provide an enjoyable adventure for students.

Ignite Outdoors offers 4 trip options with 16 sessions total. One rock climbing trip, one canoeing trip, and four backpacking trips. All sessions were four days long.

Ignite Outdoors 2019 program dates:

  •  Ignite Outdoors Wilderness Backpacking (A): 6/7/19-6/10/19
  • Ignite Outdoors Explore Hiking (B): 6/12/19-6/15/19
  • Ignite Outdoors Wilderness Backpacking (C): 6/14/19-6/17/19
  • Ignite Outdoors Explore Hiking (D): 6/19/19-6/22/19
  • Ignite Outdoors Wilderness Backpacking (E): 6/21/19-6/24/19
  • Ignite Outdoors Explore Rock Climbing (F): 6/26/19-6/29/19
  • Ignite Outdoors Wilderness Backpacking (G): 6/28/19-7/1/19
  • Ignite Outdoors Explore Hiking (H): 7/10/19-7/13/19
  • Ignite Outdoors Wilderness Backpacking (I): 7/12/19-7/15/19
  • Ignite Outdoors Explore Rock Climbing (J): 7/17/19-7/20/19
  • Ignite Outdoors Wilderness Backpacking (K): 7/19/19-7/22/19
  • Ignite Outdoors Explore Hiking (L): 7/24/19-7/27/19
  • Ignite Outdoors Wilderness Canoeing (M): 7/26/19-7/29/19
  • Ignite Outdoors Explore Hiking (N): 7/31/19-8/3/19
  • Ignite Outdoors Wilderness Canoeing (O): 8/2/19-8/5/19

The cost of $200 to your student account includes all meals, transportation to and from base camp, all outdoor activities, a t-shirt and most gear.

Questions?

Registration questions can be emailed to leadserve@utk.edu, while programmatic questions can be emailed to utop@utk.edu.

FAQ About Backpacking Trips

We are happy to teach you! It is more common than not for participants to have little to no experience backpacking. We’ll camp for 3 nights which is enough time to get used to it and to find all the reasons to love it. We also provide high-quality name brand backpacking equipment (the pack, sleeping bags and pad, rain jackets/pants, etc) so you don’t have to worry about the gear.

We will hike 4-7 miles. Over 15+ years we have found this to be the ideal distance for those new to backpacking; you’ll feel tired but this is a totally doable distance.  If you already backpack, we often do hikes from camp once we reach it so if 4-7 miles seems too little; there is the option to do more.

Our hiking speed is called the conversational pace. You and your new friends can easily chat as you hike. Hiking too fast means we won’t be able to talk. We generally hike together but with 3 trip leaders, we can sometimes break into smaller groups if we want or need to. You won’t be rushed or hold anyone back.

Definitely. We’ll want to check over your gear just to make sure it’s good for this trip and if it is, then you can use it.

If you have hiking boots or shoes made for hiking, definitely use those.  If not, no need to go buy something.  Most athletic shoes have enough support and cushion.  Shoes for casual wear usually do not have enough support or cushioning.  Email us at utop@utk.edu if you are unsure.

Most likely yes. The trip is kind of like life, most days life is good but some days, not so much. You might be rained on or become dirty, but when the 4 days end, you’ll be super glad to have been backpacking and looking forward to fall. After 15 years of offering overnight trips, we have yet to have someone who didn’t enjoy the experience.

We’ll have tasty food. We can easily accommodate most food restrictions and will ensure you do not go hungry. Nowadays food restrictions are common so our menu can account for most things. If you have a particular diet, just email utop@utk.edu and we’ll figure it out.

Some are surprised that there are no toilets or showers. We’ll teach you how to stay clean enough without showers and how to poop in the woods (it’s fun…amazing views!).

In the Great Smoky Mountain National Park! Just 45 minutes south-east of campus. But please note the location may change due for a variety of reasons.

FAQ About Climbing Trips

Most likely. Our instructors can get you on climbs that challenge you or have you set up climbs for others. We’ll teach you new skills (from trad to rescue) if you want to know them.  You’ll also be able to meet other incoming freshmen who like climbing.

No. We’ll climb at Foster Falls State Park (west of Chattanooga) and the park has climbs that are perfect for first time climbing experience.

We provide all the camping gear, food, instruction, and transportation. You just need your own clothes. If you have your own gear, once we inspect it, you are welcome to use it.

We will stay in a state park campground, which has flush toilets and hot showers available. The camping is comfortable and not remote. You’ll stay in tents with 1 to 2 other participants, usually a 3 person tent with 2 people or 4 person tent with 3 people.

You should feel comfortable walking across your high school campus with a heavy school backpack and walking up stairs. As a beginner climber, climbing requires using your legs more than your arms.

FAQ About Canoe Tripping

It is like backpacking, but you use a canoe to carry everything (including yourself). You and your partner work together to paddle the canoe downstream, using paddle strokes your instructors taught and the power of the gentle current. Many people who would rather not hike love canoe tripping since the current does most of the work!

Yes, somewhat. You should be able to “swim” 25 yards (1 time across a pool) with any stroke and not touch the pool bottom. When on the river, you wear a life jacket so swimming in the river will be easier if the pool is hard but doable.

Yes, somewhat. You should be able to “swim” 25 yards (1 time across a pool) with any stroke and not touch the pool bottom. When on the river, you wear a life jacket so swimming in the river will be easier if the pool is hard but doable.

Camping on this trip is next to the river in tents and is “primitive.” No running water, no flush toilets, and no shower. The views are amazing as are the summer smells in the early morning.

Learning to canoe without proper instruction is hard and awkward. Some of our staff also hated canoeing until they started working with us. We’ll spend the first day teaching you how to canoe before we set off and then will teach and provide you individual feedback as well go along. By the time you finish the trip, you’ll be comfortable in a canoe. While we won’t promise you will love canoeing, we bet you’ll come close.

On a canoe trip of 25 miles a day, yes, you want strong arms, back and legs. But on this trip, we are doing at most 10 miles (with a gentle current) a day. If you can pick up and walk around with a 5-6 year old human, you are strong enough for this trip.

The area of North Carolina that we will be canoeing is warm during the summer and afternoon showers are common.  We will paddle in the rain and often it will provide respite from the summer heat.  Don’t worry though – we won’t paddle during a storm or high winds