Saturday, January 31, 2009

Outdoor Environmental Studies

The last three weeks of snow camping and backcountry skiing were absolutely amazing. I don't want to be back in the busy world with computers and technology, survival in the winter environment is difficult but ever so rewarding. I was the TA for the ENV 398 class, in which we spent January Term in the Three Sisters Wilderness Area, outside of Bend, Oregon.  I began in January on campus helping shop for food and organize equipment for 9 people for 22 days. We spent the first few days of the course at an OMSI lodge, learning ski skills and spent two days with tele lessons on Mt Bachlor. We skied 3 days/2 nights in to a cabin at Elk Lake, which became our base came, and did several 2-4 night trips out from there. We pulled sleds and carried packs through varied terrain off-trail, navigated with map and compass, built snow caves, and adapted to whatever came our way. Some of my most memorable experiences during the course were skiing up Elk Mountain when we had a free day, puking in the tent at night over everything when I had a stomach bug, and eating our wonderful creations such as sushi at 0 degrees, as well as eclairs and cinnamon rolls. The group of students and instructors could not have been better, and we have so many memories. 

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