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Rec News May 12, 2004



Study the outdoors Monty Python-style at Outside University featuring elite climber and humorist Timmy O'Neill. Boise State University's Outdoor Program and Outside Magazine have teamed up to bring Outside U to Boise, a nationwide tour that gets outdoor enthusiasts psyched for the summer and calls all couch potatoes to get off the couch and enjoy what lies beyond the front door.

O'Neill will give a multimedia presentation and representatives from major manufacturers and leadership schools will be handing out prizes to lucky audience members.

Ever since his Philadelphia childhood O'Neill has been scaling urban open spaces. In fact, his Spiderman escapades have earned him the nickname "Urban Ape." During a recent trip to Boulder, Colorado, he scaled the dormitories at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Beyond the city limits, O'Neill has a love for tackling large, smooth (and very difficult to climb) rock formations. He is known as one of the fastest climbers in the world, setting speed records climbing in Yosemite National Park. In fact he holds the world record ascent with Dean Potter for a 3-hour, 24-minute climb of the nose of El Captain. And his need to conquer cliffs doesn't stop at the most difficult rocks in the U.S. He's climbed all over the world including Pakistan, Cuba and Patagonia.

O'Neill promises his show at Outdoor University will be "a mix of stand-up comedy and tales of adventure." He adds that his goal is to "leave audiences motivated to get out and enjoy the outdoors."

Catch O'Neill and his comic tales of his craziest outdoor adventure Friday, May 14 at 7 p.m. at the Boise State Campus Recreation Center. The event is free and open to all. For more information on Outside University call 426-2628.


Now that spring has sprung, the snow is melting, the flowers are in full bloom and it's prime time to hike in the desert before the summer heat takes over.

This year the Idaho Conservation League will be kicking off its Summer Hiking Series with hikes through the Bruneau Sand Dunes and along the Weiser River Trail. The ICL is Idaho's largest state-based environmental orgainzation working to protect Wild Idaho for future generations to enjoy. And each year the ICL encourages Idaho residents of today a chance to get out and see their state through a series of hikes across a variety of landscapes.

The first hike of the year will be led by volunteers Ralph and Arleen Schaeffer. The couple will lead a round-trip trek through the Bruneau Sand Dunes on May 15. The Schaeffers decided to lead the hike through one of Idaho's most well-known landmarks because they've "talked to so many people who have lived in Idaho for years, yet they have never been to the Dunes." Though the Dunes make for an easy jaunt, hikers are encouraged to wear sunscreen and bring plenty of water to protect themselves from the sun.

If you're looking for a hike with a little more spunk than a walk through the Dunes, volunteer Bill Bennett will lead a group on a 10-mile hike along the Weiser River Trail. The trail was created by the Friends of the Weiser River Trail when the group converted the former Pacific and Idaho Northern railroad grade into a trail.

If you've got a four-legged friend that likes to tag along while you roam the wilderness, leash 'em and bring 'em along (but leave the misbehavers at home, please).

As for the rest of the summer, ICL promises hikes through the Owyhees, the Boise Foothills, roadless areas and the Boulder-White Cloud Mountains in Central Idaho. Upcoming hikes are as follows:

May 15: Bruneau Sand Dunes

May 16: Weiser River Trail

May 28: Bruneau Canyon Rim

June 5: North Fork Owyhee Proposed Wilderness

June 12: Mystery hike

June 19: Little Salmon River Riparian Restoration

June 25-26: Trail Maintenance/North Fork Boise River

July 10: Frank Church Wilderness

July 16-18: Atlanta

July 25: Red Mountain Lakes

If you're interested in exploring new trails, learning about Idaho's water, wildlands and wildlife, or just want to meet fellow hikers give the Idaho Conservation League a call to reserve your space. Registration is required but hikes are free. Call ICL at 345-6942 ext. 23 or visit

—Compiled by Rachael Daigle