Students explore the mountains through High Country Experience Series

The inaugural Lees-McRae High Country Experience Series took place throughout the 2022 Fall semester and introduced students to some of the best outdoor activities and experiences that the High Country has to offer. The series included a caving expedition in Elizabethton, Tennessee, alpine coaster rides with Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster in Banner Elk, and a utility terrain vehicle (UTV) tour of nearby Roan Mountain.

Each of the experiences were offered free to Lees-McRae students to allow any interested student to take advantage of these adventurous opportunities. This series is part of an ongoing effort by the college to build a robust and enriching student life experience.

Academics are only one part of a memorable and impactful college career, and campus life is another component that contributes to the overall wellbeing of Lees-McRae students. The High Country Experience Series was a great opportunity for students to meet new people, get out of their typical routines, and expand their horizons.

“It’s important not to be thinking about school all the time, because that can get very overwhelming, and you can isolate yourself,” freshman pre-veterinary major Lea Torp said. “This was a rich experience outside. You can meet new people, get new experiences, and just have a break from thinking about school all the time.”

Torp attended the UTV and caving expeditions, which were both new experiences for the Florida native. She said the opportunity for new experiences, coupled with her love of the great outdoors, drew her to participate in the series, but that it also helped her get outside of her box and become better acquainted with the area.

“Most of my classes right now are just freshmen, so this definitely gave me a chance to interact with others. I liked getting off campus and having something to do on the weekends,” Torp said. “It’s important to try something new and not just be in your comfort zone all the time.”

Freshman Outdoor Recreation Management major Katelyn Woodie also enjoyed the opportunity the High Country Experience Series provided to break from her typical routine and explore the world around her. Woodie, who describes herself as adventurous and outgoing, attended all three excursions, and looks forward to attending similar trips in the future.

“I loved the caving because it was so unique and not something that you get to do on an everyday basis,” Woodie said. “For some people this could be a once in a lifetime experience, so I would say if you have the opportunity you should take it and go for it.”

While Torp and Woodie both enjoyed the experiences themselves, they agreed that the long-lasting memories and friendships that are formed through sharing new experiences are just as valuable as the adrenaline rushes and awe-inspiring views.

By Maya JarrellDecember 01, 2022
Campus Life