TruAdventure is a summer excursion like no other – combining a great wilderness experience with wonderful learning and social opportunities. These two short programs will reinvigorate your passion for the outdoors, your love of learning, and your sense of adventure as you visit breathtaking sites in the American southwest. Based on a wildly popular travel course designed for Truman undergraduates, TruAdventure has been adapted to meet the needs and interests of the adult traveler, too, interested in a vacation that’s just a little off the beaten path.
TruAdventure is offering two summer excursion opportunities for Summer 2015!
Attention! Due to changes in the permits we obtained for the Grand Canyon trip, changes to the original trip and itinerary needed to be made. Please read the updated information before signing up for the trip.
Trip 1: Due to last year’s popularity, we are offering our introductory backpacking course in Grand Canyon National Park from May 27th to June 2nd, 2015. Unlike last year, we will be hiking in a different and more primitive area of the canyon that will allow participants to truly enjoy the beauty and solitude the Grand Canyon can offer. The trip is designed for individuals with a good fitness level who are looking for an opportunity to learn new skills and have an experience that less than 1% of people who visit the Grand Canyon ever do, explore the bottom of the canyon!
Trip 2: TruAdventure is offering an excursion unlike anything we have ever done with our five-day canoe and camping trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area of Minnesota July 22nd – July 26th, 2015. Designed for people who want to enjoy the outdoors on a less physically demanding trip, the canoe and camping trip is an excellent option. Participants will learn the basics of canoeing/portaging and be introduced to backcountry camping with two nights out in the backcountry and the rest spent in a paddler’s lodge. Participants can enjoy opportunities for fishing, wildlife watching, and peaceful solitude while on the trip. If you want a taste for the wilderness and an introduction to a new outdoor activity, this trip is for you.
*Other optional fees may apply.
For more information on travel opportunities offered by the Truman Office of Advancement, please visit the Alumni Travel Program site.
Grand Canyon Hermit Trail Introductory Backpacking Trip
This is the second year TruAdventure is offering an introductory backpacking course as well as a once in a lifetime opportunity for our participants. Designed for individuals with little to no backpacking experience, this course will help you take your outdoor skills to a new level. The physical demands of the trip are greater than our traditional trips as participants, in essence, will be ascending a 6000-foot mountain in reverse on rough trails. In addition, the Hermit Trail is outside of the traditional highly traveled corridor route, so it is less maintained and more primitive in terms of facilities and trail conditions. These conditions pose both opportunity and challenge as it will allow individuals to experience the beauty of the Grand Canyon with far less people around and come much closer to a true wilderness backpacking experience. The Hermit Trail will allow the group to travel to and explore the bottom though it will not allow us to cross the canyon from North Rim to South Rim. Only five percent of all people who visit Grand Canyon National Park ever go below the rim of the canyon…and far fewer ever travel to the bottom. So this will be a unique and special experience.
The focus of the trip will be on learning the basic skills for self-supported backpacking trips including: basic trip planning, map and compass skills, hiking technique, food planning and preparation, and other essential outdoor skills. The goal is for participants to feel comfortable enough after the course to complete their own short-term backpacking trips. As with any TruAdventure trip, information on the geology, biology, and anthropology of the Grand Canyon are important components of the educational program while on the trip along with a focus on the beautiful and amazing natural surroundings.
Due to the change in our permits, it would be helpful for participants to arrive at the Canyon by the evening of May 26th if possible. We will provide camping for that night for anyone arriving at that time.
May 27th, 2014 – Participants need to arrive no later than 12pm to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. The group will stay overnight at Mather Campground on the South Rim. Activities will center on getting to know the group and preparing for departure to the trailhead the next day.
May 28th – We will leave by van for the trailhead at Hermit Rest. Our first day will be the longest hike we will do with 9.3 miles to the Monument Creek campsite. The trail is steep and sustained as it will drop 2000 feet in the first 2.5 miles of the hike. Santa Maria Spring will offer some much needed shade and rest for the group as we prepare to continue on to Cathedral Stairs. The trail will change to long traverses with then tight switchbacks as we progress through the rock layers. There are a few areas where the trail has been damaged from erosion and requires some scrambling around some rocks through gullies. However the gorgeous views that will open up as we descend further will be worth the effort. The group will have one more steep section of trail to maneuver before we reach the junction with the Tonto Trail along the Tonto Plateau. It is a fairly level 2.3 mile hike from the trail junction to Monument Creek campsite. We will set up camp for the night and get a well-deserved nigh sleep.
May 29th – This morning we will wake up and enjoy a leisurely breakfast and then hike down 1.6 miles to Granite Rapids and see the bottom of the Grand Canyon for the first time. The group will spend some time at Granite Rapids and then return to the campsite to clean and pack up camp in preparation to move to Hermit Creek campsite. The 4.5 mile hike from campsite to campsite is generally easy to follow with little elevation change. We will arrive at Hermit Creek campsite and establish camp for the night.
May 30th – Our third day in the canyon will offer a chose your own adventure for the group. Based on how people are feeling, we will have the opportunity to go visit Hermit Rapids or to explore further along the Tonto Trail to go visit Travertine Canyon. Since we will not have to establish a new camp this day we will have more time to enjoy our surroundings. We will try to make this day light and not too strenuous as the next day we must tackle climbing out of the canyon.
May 31st – This day will prove the most challenging for the group as we will ascend out of the canyon and return to the trailhead. The total hike will be about 8.3 miles and we will ascend 4400 feet back to Hermit’s Rest. The group will likely leave early in the morning in an attempt to avoid the hotter time of days when the trail is less sheltered towards the top. We awake before sunrise to pack up camp and start our ascent to the top. Once we have returned to our vehicle we will return to Mather Campground for a well needed shower and to relax and enjoy the rest of the day.
June 1st – Due to our permit changes and not having to transport over to the north side, we have an extra to enjoy on the South Rim. For those participants that chose to, they may leave this day, but for those that stay we will offer opportunities to visit other features in the park based on how people are feeling and what they are interested in. These options could include walking along the rim trail, visiting the main visitor’s center, or even doing some short hikes on the Bright Angel trail or the South Kiabab Trail.
June 2nd – All participants will leave for home, or whatever adventures await them.
One of the biggest barriers in learning to backpack is the equipment cost. If you are new to backpacking and not ready to invest money in equipment before you really decide if you want to do this again, this trip can help. TruAdventure will provide participants access to all the backpacking specific equipment needed, including: a backpack, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, group tent, group-cooking equipment, first aid and emergency supplies, and maps and compasses. Food costs are already provided through your trip fee.
Participants will need to provide their own clothes, rain jacket, hiking boots, headlamps/flashlights, and water bottles or hydration bladder. A detailed list of what participants will need to bring will be outlined in a provided Required Equipment List.
It is extremely important that you read over this section before you make any decisions about signing up for this trip. The Grand Canyon Backpacking Trip is more physically demanding, requires a higher level of fitness and is not appropriate for some people. The physical demands of hiking the Grand Canyon are in stark contrast to the relatively flat terrain that people in the Midwest walk and train on. The first day of the trip will be a knee-jarring descent with a loaded pack at its heaviest of 30 to 35 pounds on steep terrain. Many people think that descending is a lot easier than ascending, and though it is easier on your cardiovascular system, it is very hard on your body and muscles. The climb out comes when your legs and body are the most fatigued, and getting down does not matter, if you cannot get back up. In addition, the atmosphere will become increasingly thin as we near the top, which makes it more difficult to catch your breath, when your muscles are exhausted. The Hermit Trail is steep and rocky with some areas that have experiences some significant erosion, making them more challenging than the well maintained corridor trails. In addition, temperatures in the inner canyon can reach 95 to 100 degrees in the month of May, so managing and dealing with heat will be essential. Backpacking means being self-sufficient, so even at the end of a tiring hike, participants will be setting up their own shelters, making their own food, retrieving their own water and other camp duties. Facilities in the canyon are primitive pit toilets that do not offer much privacy. Participants will need good muscular strength and endurance in addition to good cardiovascular endurance.
Any individual with known heart or lung disease, uncontrolled high blood pressure, history of dizziness or shortness of breath with exertion, or lack of tolerance for heat should not attempt this trip. Also, individuals with significant histories of chronic back, hip, knee, ankle or foot problems would not be good candidates for this trip.
Even some individuals without the above-mentioned issues may not qualify for this trip due to an insufficient fitness level. Listed below are the important fitness elements for preparing for the Rim to Rim trip.
This is the most important element for a Grand Canyon hiker. A general rule is that you can do twice your weekly training miles in a one-day push. Therefore, if you train 5 miles in a week, supposedly you should be able to do 10 miles in a one-day push. The problem with that rule for our trip is that participants have to do four days of pushing back to back. As a result, it is better to think of it as working up to 15 miles of cardiovascular training in a week that would equal the effort of backpacking 15 miles. In theory, this would allow you to complete up to 30 miles over the stretch of the trip. Obviously, the more in shape you are the easier it will be for your body to handle the stress of the trip. Therefore, if you can work up to a combination of 20 to 25 miles of cardiovascular training in a week, you will be much more comfortable on the trip; 15 miles is the minimum. Below are some equivalency comparisons for different cardiovascular activities in relation to backpacking.
You will also want to include in your training plan specific activity to help you manage the elevation changes. Walking up and down bleachers or stairs with a weighted pack is exceptionally good for this purpose. Either that or find some good hills to walk with a weighted pack. As you train, gradually add more weight to the pack working up to 15 to 20 pounds. You can do this by putting books or bricks into an ordinary backpack. At least one month prior to the trip you need to add in some training hikes where you go out with your weighted pack and hike at least 5 to 6 miles all at one time, once a week.
Muscular Strength and Endurance
Include some basic weight lifting activities into your workout program to help handle the stress of the trip. Focusing on developing the muscles of your legs, butt, hips, back, and core is particularly important. We have provided a link to a wonderful article from Backpacker Magazine that discusses multiple ideas for incorporating strengthening into your preparation plans.
Health History Forms and Screening
Every person who signs up for the trip will complete a health history form, which will include his or her current physical activities. The trip coordinators will screen all potential participant forms before they are officially accepted for the trip. Coordinators will reserve the right to deny any individual they feel will not be able to realistically prepare for the physical demands of the trip. Our participants’ safety is of the utmost concern to us and that includes not taking someone out on the trail that is not likely to safely handle the demand.
The travel costs for getting to and from Grand Canyon National Park are the responsibility of the participant. There are several ways for participants to travel to the area, depending on your preferences. Just remember that no matter what option you choose, you must be to the Grand Canyon by May 29th at 6pm.
Van Transportation from Kirksville!
This year we are offering limited spots, no more than 5 spots, to travel out to the canyon with the leaders in a 15-passengar van. Cost of this option will be $125 and include everything, except food costs while traveling out and back. Preference for these spots will be given to current Truman students and will also take financial need into consideration. Individuals considering this option need to be available to leave from Kirksville early morning on May 25th and they will not return until late on June 3rd. Due to limited spots, potential participants need to be willing to find alternative transportation out to the canyon in case they are unable to get a spot in the van. Students requesting this option will need to complete a scholarship application which is available on the website.
Participants can fly into the Phoenix, AZ airport and then either rent a car to travel up to the Grand Canyon or pay to take a shuttle from the airport. Arizona Shuttle offers service from the Phoenix Airport to Flagstaff then onto Grand Canyon National Park. Visit the following link to check prices: http://arizonashuttle.com/flagstaff-reservations. Participants could also fly into Las Vegas, NV airport, but would need to rent a car to get to Grand Canyon National Park. There is no shuttle service from Las Vegas.
Amtrak offers service into Flagstaff, AZ. A shuttle can then be taken from Flagstaff Amtrak station to the Grand Canyon using the same shuttle service as discussed above.
If you plan to drive out to the Grand Canyon, you should plan on at least two days to get out and two days to return (assuming you are driving from Missouri). In addition, you need to plan on a $25 entrance fee to get into the park once you arrive. This pass is good for 7 days if you wanted to stick around longer after the trip is complete. There will be a place to park your vehicle while we are on the trip, which will be at no additional cost to the participant.
The Boundary Waters Canoe Area is a true back country experience with about a million acres of wilderness, with over 1,000 pristine lakes and streams, and over 1,500 miles of canoe routes. With no electricity, no telephone lines, and no roads to the inner lakes, this trip is designed for the outdoor traveler who wants to slow down and enjoy the peace and solitude found within the northern lake country of Minnesota. Wildlife watching of moose, bear, wolves, and numerous species of birds living in the area is a highlight of any trip to the region. Fishing opportunities exist for those that wish to take advantage of it. This trip is an introduction to self-supported canoeing and back country camping and the Boundary Waters is the perfect classroom.
Though it is not required that participants be proficient at canoeing, having a little experience would be helpful. Individuals will learn the basics of paddling a canoe, including different strokes and how to rescue themselves and others if they were to capsize. Primitive camping skills including campsite set up, basic camp cooking, water filtration, and food storage will be taught and practiced during our trip.
July 22nd – Participants will be picked up at designated locations in Kirksville, Des Moines, and Minneapolis and transported to the end of the Gunflint Trail, our entry point for the Boundary Waters. Participants will be staying the night in a paddlers’ lodge this night which will provide basic accommodations, bathrooms and shower facilities.
July 23rd – Participants will be shuttled via motor boat across Saganaga Lake to our first short portage point into Red Rock Lake. Shuttling will allow the group to work further into the backcountry and capitalize on time to paddle sheltered lakes at a more leisurely pace. The group will practice their basic paddle skills as we work our way across Red Rock Lake to our second portage point into Alpine Lake. Once into Alpine Lake the group will establish our camp for the next two nights. Evening time will bring opportunity to relax and enjoy social time with fellow trip goers or relax in the solitude of the area.
July 24th – The third day out will provide chances for people to practice paddling skills while we explore the many features of Alpine Lake. For those that wish to do some fishing or wildlife watching trip leaders will coordinate activities based on the interests and skills of the group. After the fun of the day, the group will return to our Alpine Lake campsite to enjoy social time and relaxation.
July 25th – The last day out in the wilderness area the group will break down the camp and load the canoes to head back to civilization. The last and longest portage will take the group into Seagull Lake for our final paddle to Three Mile Island. This paddle will challenge the skills of the group as they cross the expanse of Seagull Lake to a rendezvous point for a motor boat shuttle. Participants can relax and enjoy a leisurely ride across Seagull Lake back to the canoe outfitter for a shower, a good meal, and a good night’s sleep.
July 26th – The group will leave the Boundary Waters and head for home. Possible stops along the way will be Gooseberry Falls and Split Rock Light House.
Trip fees include use of all canoeing equipment provided by a local outfitter. TruAdventure will provide participants with a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, group tent, group-cooking equipment, water filtration equipment, first aid and emergency supplies, dry sacks, and maps and compasses. Food costs are included in the trip fee as well.
Participants will need to provide their own clothes, rain jacket, footwear, headlamps/flashlights, and water bottles or hydration bladder. A detailed list of what participants will need to bring will be outlined in a provided Required Equipment List.
It is extremely important that you read over this section before you make any decisions about signing up. Though this trip is designed to be less strenuous and for people with little to no paddling experience, a moderate level of fitness and an ability to swim is still required for trip participants. Though life jackets do provide a level of safety, even for those individuals that cannot swim, an ability to swim at least 150 yards (6 lengths of a standard pool) and tread water will be required.
Primitive camping means being self-sufficient, so even at the end of a tiring day, participants will be assisting with meal preparation, retrieving their own water and doing other camp duties. Facilities at the backcountry campsites include pit toilets and fire grates for cooking. Canoeing requires a reasonable amount of upper body strength and endurance, but the majority of the strength for paddling comes from a person’s core muscles. Therefore, people with significant and chronic back problems may have difficulty with this trip. Portaging requires participants to carry gear and canoes across uneven ground, sometimes up to a quarter mile. Though we can distribute the work of portaging across the group based on skills and abilities, all participants will have to carry equipment to effectively complete the portages.
Any individual with known heart or lung disease, uncontrolled high blood pressure, history of dizziness or shortness of breath with exertion should not attempt this trip. Also, individuals with significant histories of chronic back, hip, knee, ankle or foot problems would not be good candidates for this trip.
Even some individuals without the above-mentioned issues may not qualify for this trip due to an insufficient fitness level. Listed below are the important fitness elements for preparing for the Boundary Waters trip.
The minimum expectation for participants of the Boundary Waters trip is that they are regularly participating in physical activity. To insure a reasonable fitness level for the trip, participants should be doing a minimum of at least 30 minutes of moderate activity 5 days a week. An example of moderate activity is walking at 3 mph. An alternative would be completing 3 days a week of at least 20 minutes of vigorous activity, which might include running at an 11 minute mile pace.
Due to the requirements of portaging and lifting equipment in and out of boats, a good level of muscle strength and endurance is necessary. Including some basic weight lifting activities in your workout program to help handle the stress of the trip is highly recommended. Focusing on developing the muscles of your arms, back, and core is particularly important. A general overall strength program would be recommended.
Health History Forms and Screening
Every person who signs up for the trip will complete a health history form, which will include his or her current physical activities. The trip coordinators will screen all potential participant forms before they are officially accepted for the trip. Coordinators will reserve the right to deny any individual they feel will not be able to realistically prepare for the physical demands of the trip. Our participants’ safety is of the utmost concern to us and that includes not taking someone on the trip that is not likely to safely handle the demand.
Getting To and From Boundary Waters
The travel costs for getting to the Boundary Waters from our points of pick up in Kirksville, Des Moines, and Minneapolis is included in the trip fee. It is the participant’s responsibility to get to one of these three pick up points. Truman State will serve as the pickup point in Kirksville. A pick up point in Des Moines will be determined closer to the time of the trip. Minneapolis airport will serve as the pickup point in Minneapolis. Transportation will be leaving very early from Kirksville, so participants planning to catch the vans at this point should plan on arriving the previous day. Trip leaders will assist in arranging some place for you to stay the night before.
The cost of the trip is $650.
Registration deadline will be April 1st or until the trip is full.
Ground Transportation From Kirksville to the Grand Canyon (Optional)
The cost for optional transportation is $125 and is limited to five participants.
Fees for the Boundary Waters Tour
The cost of the trip is $960
Registration deadline will be May 1st or until the trip is full.
The Registration Deadline for the 2015 TruAdventure Programs is April 1, 2015
To register for TruAdventure, select one of the forms below and mail it to:
The Truman Institute
Truman State University
Baldwin Hall 110
100 E. Normal Ave.
If you are planning on attending the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim Trip You Must Also Complete This Form:
Are you a Truman undergraduate? A need-based scholarship is available for this program. Access the form here.
Online payments can be made with a credit card, debit card, or e-check: Click here to go to the Online Bill Payment Site (This link is not yet updated. Please return soon to pay.)
April 15, 2015 is the deadline for participants to withdraw with a refund.
* A Note About Health Information: The registration forms linked above ask a number of personal questions regarding your health history. These questions are intended for a file which TruAdventure personnel can use in the event of an accident or emergency during the course of the trip. These files will also be reviewed by the program director – a faculty member in Health and Exercise Science – for any issues that might potentially be a problem for the participant traveling in the high altitude, desert environment of the TruAdventure program. All health files will be held in the strictest confidence and destroyed at the conclusion of the program. If you have any questions or concerns about these forms, please do not hesitate to contact our office. We can also put you in contact with the program director with any specific questions you may have. These questions should not be construed as indicating greater than expected risk for participation, but are presented out of an abundance of caution to safeguard the health and wellness of our participants.
Truman Alumna, Janis Keough, Talks About Her TruAdventure Experience
“I really feel like I have grown a lot as a result of this excursion trip. In my opinion, everything I learned about the environment was also something learned about me because this trip made me see and accept how very connected I am to my surroundings. There were so many great moments and chances for discovery. Being out there and having to rely on our guides’ expertise and peers’ kindness when I needed water or a hand, and myself to overcome physical and mental barriers helps give me confidence to take on more challenges. There is nothing more powerful than believing in oneself, and trekking through nature encourages this more than any other experience.”
Truman Psychology Major
Attended Previous Excursion to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons Through Truman
“I absolutely loved the trip. I grew up going on camping trips to National Parks with my family, so I knew I’d enjoy the parks and being outdoors. But what I didn’t know is how much I’d have to go outside my comfort zone, and when I did, it became a truly amazing vacation! What drew me to the trip initially was the idea of going on an outdoor, educational vacation. When we arrived at some large rocks on one of the trails on day three, I looked up to see a man at the very top of the rocks taking pictures over the landscape. I thought he was crazy. Surely he wasn’t supposed to be up there. Little did I know that’s where we were headed! The sign said ‘Difficult Hiking, Primitive Trail’ and yes, it was. My college roommate, Paula, and I later said that if it had just been the two of us hiking, we would not have gone up those rocks. But with the group support, we did it! Looking back at some of the pictures I think, ‘I did that?!?!’ Yes, yes I did. Jennifer and Cathy were great leaders – always prepared, flexible, confident and ready to make us laugh. Since the trip, Paula ‘is telling everyone about it who will listen.’ And I am, too.”
Cindy Spiker, Alumna
Participant in TruAdventure 2012
“My experience on the 2011 summer excursion trip to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons was, in one word, ‘incredible.’ One of my favorite parts of the trip was our small intimate group setting. I loved getting to spend time with different people and really enjoyed learning with and from them. The trip to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons would not have been the same without Dr. Hurst. Her passion for the outdoors inspired everyone on the trip to step out of their comfort zones and have new adventures. She was so well prepared and made sure we not only had a great time, but learned something along the way. The excursion in itself was life changing. Not only did I get to know the area and the other travelers, but I learned so much about myself. I tried new things and really pushed my limits. Opportunities to take trips like the ones Dr. Hurst is creating don’t come around too often and I feel so privileged to have gotten to experience such a beautiful part of our country.”
Attended Previous Excursion to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons Through Truman