About the Program
|Dates:||Days||Ages||Cost||Trip Starts||Trip Ends|
|6/16 - 7/15||30||13-17||$3,500||San Marcos, TX||San Marcos, Austin,
or Dallas, TX
If just one EPIC Adventure is not good enough, or you can’t make up your mind, we have made it easy for you. This trip combines both the Texas Adventure and the Ultimate Ozark to create an EPIC 30 day adventure! This is trip is the perfect opportunity to explore the best parts of Texas and Arkansas. Teens will get to paddle down iconic rivers logging 70+ river miles, backpack 40+ miles, volunteer with a local conservation group, explore numerous day hikes, and discover some truly unique mountain and desert towns – the material of folklore and legends!
The Rio Grande and Buffalo Rivers are the focal points of this two-in-one expedition – and they could not be more different in their wildlife, paddling characteristics, or scenery.
The Rio Grande River flows through the remote desert in Big Bend National Park and is surrounded by steep canyon walls. We will likely not see anyone other than our group for the entirety of the river trip. It’s awesome!! The Buffalo River is equally impressive, but for completely different reasons: America’s first National River cuts through the heart of the Ozarks, and you’ll be amazed by its rocky bluffs and lush forest after the remote desert of Big Bend!
Similarly, the backpacking on each leg of the trip will take you on two completely different experiences. Down in Big Bend the views are wide-open and you’ll feel the dry air of the west, while the Ozark backcountry offers a more sheltered, forested mountain landscape reminiscent of the eastern Appalachians. And don’t forget: you’ll spend a day exploring a wild cave with only your headlamp and a local guide to reveal incredible passageways opening up to large halls of stalagmites and stalactites!
We believe strongly that teens need more opportunities to take on leadership roles, and we develop all of our programs with this in mind. Campers are responsible for preparing meals, building tents, helping to manage group resources, and more. Both the Texas Adventure and the Ultimate Ozark are impressive trips on their own, but for the enthusiastic camper who tackles the challenge of both, the rewards will last long after their time with EPIC Adventures ends. These adventurous teens will return with new-found personal and practical skills, greater confidence, and a tale to tell!
|30 Day ArklaTex Adventure Itinerary||No Previous Experience or Expensive Gear Required!|
|Day 1||Welcome to Camp / Team Building|
|Day 2||EPIC Wilderness Clinic / Sunset Hike|
|Day 3||Logistics / Drive to Big Bend|
|Day 4-7||Muliti-Day River Trip Down thru the canyons on the Rio Grande River|
|Day 8||Rest day and explore Ghost Town and Terlingua.|
|Day 9||Day Hike Out to the Window in Big Bend National Park|
|Day 10-13||Multi-Day Backpacking Trip thru the Chisos Mountains.|
|Day 14||Travel Day and EPIC Banquet|
|Day 15||Drop off Texas Camper, Logistics, Laundry, and Rest|
|Day 16||Welcome to new group / Team Building|
|Day 17||EPIC Wilderness Clinic Led by ArklaTex Campers / Day Hike to Swimming Hole|
|Day 18-21||4-day Backpacking Trip|
|Day 22||Service work removing invasive species from the area|
|Day 23||Service work working on watershed preservation|
|Day 24-28||River Clinic and 5-Day River Trip|
|Day 29||Complete river trip and celebrate with EPIC Banquet|
|Day 30||Head home to share our stories|
First things first, the staff will teach campers knot tying, shelter building, cooking methods, water purification, Leave No Trace ethics (LNT), how to select a proper campsite, and back country and front country safety. In addition, we also spend time teaching campers how to plan routes, basic orienteering, outdoor leadership, risk management skills, and how to maintain proper hygiene. We believe strongly in hands-on learning and make every effort to put campers into real world situations where staff can mentor students in real time. Understanding these concepts ensures campers are not only prepared for our adventures together, but also leave the program with a greater sense of confidence.
Camping along the banks of the Rio Grande River below towering canyons is certain to be a memory that will last long after the summer ends. After a day of paddling, we spend the evening recapping the day’s adventures around a campfire on sandy riverbanks under the millions of stars that light up the sky. With Texas on the left side of the river and Mexico on the right, campers consider this a highlight and usually can’t wait to send home a postcard detailing their adventures on the border. Don’t worry! This section of the border is highly patrolled and safe from anything you may have heard on the news. Safety is our number one concern and we would never travel anywhere that we felt was unsafe. With over 100 miles of navigable river and five canyons to choose from, we rely on our friends who live in the area to help us choose the best section of river based on river conditions. Wild livestock, hawks, falcons, and dozens of critters are likely to be spotted as we explore the waters of the Rio Grande. Waking up to the sound of the rushing river while wondering what lies beyond the next bend in the river is what adventure is all about.
After the river trip we will take some time to relax and explore the local area around Terlingua. This area of Texas was once home to the Comanche Indians. Here they discovered that Cinnabar, the bright red ore of mercury, could be used to create war paint and by the mid-1800’s they began using it for trade with the English settlers who wanted it for the mercury. By the turn of the century this area was flooded with prospectors and the once sparsely populated desert grew to contain more than 2000 inhabitants. Following the end of WWII the demand for mercury fell and the area was abandoned. Today all that remains is Boot Hill cemetery, abandoned adobe style structures, and fewer than 200 residents. Regarded by many as one of the most famous ghost towns, this area always leaves visitors in awe!
Perhaps the most challenging, but also the most rewarding, component of the trip is backpacking. Teens consistently learn more from backpacking than anything else we do at camp. Days begin by preparing breakfast and filling water bottles before beginning the day’s hike. On a typical day, teens will hike 4-6 miles before making camp. Hikes are challenging but designed to suit everyone’s varying abilities. This is not a boot camp so don’t worry. Campers are given leadership roles each day and the gear is divided around the group equally. Campers usually make camp around 3-4 pm each day so they have plenty of time to build shelters, filter water, cook, and build campfires. Campers will prepare their food over campfires or with backpacking stoves, cooking things like pancakes, quesadillas, pita pizzas, and many more fun meals. In fact, many camp parents tell us their camper comes home and cooks for them! We build shelters from tarps or if the weather is nice we just sleep under the stars. To celebrate the end of our backpacking trip, we enjoy a well-deserved dinner at a local restaurant. The sense of accomplishment and bonding that occurs on a backpacking trip can’t be overstated. The stories and experiences that come from our backpacking trips are often the ones that become EPIC!
For our multi-day kayaking trip we will adventure down the Buffalo River. Running the Buffalo River’s rapids then enjoying the quiet pools of clear water, it will not take long to see why this river became the first National River in the United States. Located in the heart of the Ozarks, the river is surrounded by cliffs, isolated wilderness, and amazing views. It is not uncommon to see elk and possibly black bears as well as over 400 species of animals and birds in the area. Campers are given comprehensive instruction on proper kayaking techniques prior to beginning our adventure. Once we head out, we will be self sufficient for the remainder of the trip, cooking and camping along the way on the banks. Traveling by water is one of the oldest forms of adventure and this trip is certain to be full of it!
We have partnered with Northwest Arkansas Land Trust, a local conservation group, to facilitate and lead a service project that is fun, engaging and impactful. Together we will work on removing invasive species from the waterways and watersheds near Fayetteville. Each camper will receive credit for 16 hours of service work.