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April 9, 2003

‘Peak’ provides ticket to the great outdoors

A gateway to the High Sierra, the rugged California coast, even the Grand Canyon sits tucked away in a little corner of the CSUS campus.

Photo: Peak-climber on courseThese and a host of other wilderness destinations are available through Peak Adventures, located outside the University Union’s north wing. Though the program is sponsored by the University’s Associated Students, it’s designed for non-students too, offering a wide range of low-cost and discount trips and activities, including hiking, biking, rafting, kayaking, skiing, snowshoeing, rock climbing, surfing and more.

“We are the only program in the area that covers a full spectrum of outdoor recreation,” said Mike Upchurch, Peak Adventure’s assistant director.

Peak Adventures, located in the University Union, offers scores of affordable outings for faculty, staff and students. Among the programs is the popular ropes course (above) as well as rafting, bicycling, hiking and skiing trips.

Because Peak Adventures is a non-profit enterprise and because the program’s staff coordinates trips sometimes a year or more in advance, costs are kept to a minimum, Upchurch said. In addition, discounts of 20 percent are available to all CSUS students. Faculty and staff receive a 10 percent discount.

The program covers a range of activities designed to appeal to anyone interested in enjoying the outdoors, from leisurely day hikes to weeklong challenges geared to the more advanced outdoor enthusiast. Most trips include transportation, guides, gear and permit fees.

New to the program this year is a women’s series, which includes six separate hiking trips, two mountain-biking trips and two rock-climbing trips. Also new this year is a five-day, advanced alpine trek in the High Sierra and two one-day caving trips.

Special outings for youth, community and business groups are also available through Peak Adventures. “We work with Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, elementary schools, at-risk youth groups, team-building for large corporations, home-school groups, all kinds of things,” Upchurch said.

The origins of the program trace back to an informal campus co-op bike shop founded by a small group of students in 1973 and housed in a metal shed, Upchurch said. From those humble beginnings a full-service bike shop evolved, which was adopted by Associated Students in 1989 and transformed into Peak Adventures.

The program employs five full-time staffers and about 35 part-timers, Upchurch said. About 60 percent of the programs users are CSUS students and about 40 percent are a mix of faculty, staff and the general public.

A full list of Peak Adventures’ itineraries, services and costs are available at the program’s facility in the Union or at www.Peakadventures.org.

Advance registration for all trips is required. Because most trips fill fast and space is limited, early registration is encouraged. A 50 percent deposit is required to book a reservation.

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