Sunday morning, members of the Outdoors Club left Franciscan University of Steubenville’s campus to hike the hills surrounding Jefferson Lake and to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation.
The group of almost 20 students carpooled to the scenic Jefferson Lake State Park, only a half hour’s drive from campus. There the hikers were met with a glorious view of a beautiful lake surrounded by rolling hills.
Beginning the adventure with prayer, the Outdoors Club set out to hike the trail wrapping around the lake. The hike was full of good cheer and fun, with plenty of opportunities to see the beauty in nature and share it with those around them. The group bonded while climbing over fallen trees, posing on the pier that stretched into the lake and wading at the foot of a manmade waterfall at the end of the hike.
This hike was one of many similar forays into nature hosted by the Outdoors Club at Franciscan, a group that seeks to “foster a greater awareness of God’s earthly creation and to promote student bonding through recreational activities including skiing, snowboarding, and paintballing,” as stated on their website. These serve as opportunities to not only exercise and appreciate God’s gift of nature but also to spend time with friends and meet new people.
The Outdoors Club seeks to follow the examples of its patrons, Pope St. John Paul II and Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, by uniting outdoor adventure with Franciscan spirituality. In the words of John Paul II himself, “Life with Christ is a wonderful adventure,” and this hike was a fitting example of that. Many of the hikers reflected on the opportunity to get out into nature and to find peace in God’s creation, saying it was a great way to relax and to relieve the stress of studying and everyday life.
The Outdoors Club looks forward to its next adventure, a camping trip to Fernwood State Forest from Oct. 13-14.