First week: Classes, Snowshoe Expedition & Ski Day
January 22 – 28, 2013
Less than a week into second semester, and already the Alzar School has much to report. During the first two days, teachers oriented students to their rigorous academic schedules and dove into lessons. Students quickly adapted to their intimate class sizes, to cooking and dish cleaning responsibilities, and for some, to the cold weather. At night, the Depot building was nearly silent as students tackled their first homework assignments.
Soon after unpacking and settling into their yurt homes, students filled their backpacks with warm layers in preparation for the weekend snowshoe expedition. On Thursday afternoon, students tromped around campus on snowshoes. English and Spanish teacher Ellie guided the campus tour in an assortment of accents and shared thoughts from Thoreau.
On Friday morning, all nine students and eight staff members headed north towards McCall to snowshoe 2.4 miles to Fall Creek Hut. Upon arrival, students shoveled out troughs, built walls, and assembled tents inside the boundaries of their snow structures. Meals took place inside a small hut where we shared stories and played games. On Saturday, fresh snow covered the tents, and the group headed out for an adventure up the mountain where snowballs flew through the air and avalanche safety information rippled from staff to students. That afternoon, the tent structures received a makeover from students and critique from staff judges. In the evening, a tent-structure award ceremony took place in the warm hut, and the night ended with a conversation about hopes and fears for the semester. Staff and students shared similar sentiments – excitement and nervousness – about what lies ahead.
On Sunday, the group hiked from the hut in the sunshine and had an afternoon study session on campus to prepare for Tuesday’s classes. Monday entailed a trip to Brundage Ski Resort north of campus where students skied and snowboarded through fresh snow. Up next are four days of class and on the weekend, the first of three Wilderness First Responder certification classes. Only two weeks until Alzar School ventures to Chile! ¡Hasta pronto!