Southern Utah is full of adventurous opportunities, such as exploring the shallow caves on the Lava Flow Trail or seeing a breathtaking view of the red mountains from the Johnson Canyon Arch Trail.
The students and faculty involved in the Dixie State University Trailblazers hiking club get to participate in these magnificent experiences. They have hiked trails such as Butterfly Trail and Shinob Kibe Trail, and their next hike will be the Anasazi Scout Cave Trail on March 22.
“The best thing about the club is the goal that we have to really experience the world,” said Marcus Lindsey, a sophomore psychology major from Las Vegas and president of the hiking club. “I like the sense of adventure and I like the sense of exploring nature for what it is.”
The DSU hiking club began during the spring 2018 semester. Wendy Stabler, administrative assistant for business and accounting, started out as the only adviser, but visiting instructor of communications Brendan Dalley joined as the second adviser at the beginning of the current spring semester.
Stabler and Dalley oversee the club and meet with the hiking club officers – which includes the president, vice president, treasurer and secretary – monthly or bimonthly to organize and plan the hikes. The officers usually pick smaller hikes consisting of a couple miles, but plan one longer hike every month that will take them several hours to complete, Dalley said.
Lindsey said they try to hike weekly, usually on Saturdays though lately they have been experimenting with Friday and Sunday hikes. Due to the colder weather, they have only been hiking twice a month.
The hiking officers said they love this club because it is a great way to get more involved with students and faculty off campus, experience nature together, learn skills, and create bonds with one another.
“It’s really fun to meet new people [on the hikes] and be in a different environment other than classrooms and dorms,” said Darah Miyashita, a sophomore nursing major from Oahu, Hawaii and treasurer for the hiking club.
Miyashita said she thought being an officer for the hiking club would be perfect because it builds leadership skills and she’s been able to take on more responsibilities.
“[The club] brings soft skills; it brings strong values and camaraderie that they get among each other as students,” Stabler said.
Dalley said he loves hiking and being involved with DSU students. He is a photographer and videographer, so it gives him a great opportunity to capture beautiful shots, he said.
“Hiking, to me, helps me to ground myself,” Dalley said. “It helps me to get back to reality, so to speak.”
Not only does the club give students an opportunity to be active and explore nature, but students are also making friends along the way, Lindsey said.
There are officially 147 members of the DSU hiking club, but any DSU student can join the hikes as long as they fill out a waiver before hiking. There is no registration fee or application process to join the club; simply sign a waiver form and you are a member of the club.
Not only does the group hike, but they also participate in clean-up projects with the sustainability club, a club dedicated to service projects to raise climate change awareness. The two clubs try to plan clean-up projects on a quarterly basis, and the sustainability club joins in on the hikes as much as they can.
The hiking club joined the sustainability club on their clean-up project of the Virgin River last year, Lindsey said. They’re planning to clean up the Cove Wash Trail this year.
Dalley said the officers are thinking of getting T-shirts and different swag items for those who officially join the hiking club. An idea the hiking club officers have had is to reward students with prizes as they reach a certain amount of hikes and service projects they have participated in, Dalley said.
The club hosts opening and closing socials as a way to promote their club and get students together, Stabler said. The opening social is the first month of each semester, and the closing social is the last month of each semester. This spring semester they did a bonfire and s’mores on campus and last semester they had a swimming party as a closing social.
“It’s a good [and] fun club,” Stabler said. “We have strong members [that] work really hard.”
If you’re interested in joining the hiking club or want more information about the upcoming hikes, email them at Trailblazershikingclubdsu@gmail.com or message their Instagram page at dsuhikingclub.