BY NATALIE CLARK POSTLES
The canyon is filled with smoke making it a struggle, dangerous even, for anyone in the area to breathe. As the King Fire burns just up from the South Fork of the American River, Sierra Nevada College students enrolled in the Outdoor Adventure Leadership (ODAL) intro class prepare to begin their whitewater rafting guide course just outside of Coloma, California.
It is Saturday, Sept. 20, and the ODAL class is a day behind schedule. The class arrived a few hours ago due to the high levels of air toxicity in the area, and the question on everyone’s mind is simple: Will we be river rafting today? Or will we turn around and go home because of the low air quality?
Water was released from the dam late Saturday morning shortly after our arrival on the river, later than the normal Friday release. Whether this is due to the fire or other causes is still unknown, but the SNC students continue on with their preparation to raft down the South Fork, many for the first time ever. We had quite the range of experience on our trip, ranging from students with little to no experience to others that had worked previous summers as whitewater guides, making it a beneficial teaching and learning experience for students of all levels.
As we got closer to embarking on our trip down the river one of the guides, and ODAL professor Daryl Teittinen prepared for what was about to come: level two, three, and on our final day three plus rapids. Easy enough for any beginner, yet entertaining enough for anyone with a bit of experience and an awesome opportunity to help fellow students learn. The SNC class came within 15-30 miles of from the fire, a comfortable distance; with the winds blowing the smoke from the fire in opposite direction and out of the canyon not only making the trip more enjoyable, but possible.
As said by Lynn Noel in her book Voyages: Canada’s Heritage Rivers, “the first river you paddle runs through the rest of your life. It bubbles up in pools and eddies to remind you who you are.” While many of us were questioning if the trip would even happen, we pulled through, and many people left with a trip that will “run through” the rest of their lives, whether it was their first or not.
BY CALHOUN BOONE
The weekend of Oct. 10 -12, the Sierra Nevada College 201 Outdoor Adventure Leadership, ODAL, class went on a field expedition to the Carson River where they hiked for three days over the terrain of a popular white water rafting run.
“As an avid whitewater rafter myself, it was awesome to hike the river bed of a river that I have rafted with my family before, and to see the skeleton of the river bottom with very little water in it,” said one ODAL student.
The Carson River is undammed above the section that the ODAL class hiked, so there was very little water left from last season, making it shallow and easy to travel across by foot.
The trip consisted of 21 river miles that the class traveled with only the guidance of a series of topographic maps. Because the ODAL 201 Leadership course focuses primarily on individual leadership skills, ODAL Program Director Rosie Hackett, left it up to the class to map out their own route while she sat back and followed her student’s lead.
“There was no distinct trail to follow and nothing to show us which way to go other than the river and our maps, so it was awesome to get to practice our map reading skills and really helped all of us as students gain competence in our toolbox of outdoor skills,” said ODAL student Jake McIntyre.
In March of every year, students are encouraged to apply for the position of Wilderness Orientation (WO, pronounced:Whoa) leader. While many applicants are Interdisciplinary Studies majors with either a concentration or minor in Outdoor Adventure Leadership (ODAL), openings are not limited to this degree. Wilderness Orientation is a hands-on opportunity for students to showcase their competency as outdoor leaders while fostering relationships with incoming students.
WO leaders offer a great experience to new students every fall before school officially begins. While the new students undergo an exciting adventure, student leaders grow and learn as well. Not only do the leaders mature into their own style, but they also have the opportunity to create intentional communities within Sierra Nevada College.
I’ve always been passionate about nature: how it works and how to be a part of it. Brought up by outdoor enthusiasts, I innately knew nature’s rhythms from the beginning. My parents, who owned a popular rafting company in Mount Shasta, Calif. bestowed me with an everlasting appreciation for the one thing that always brings me joy and has taught me how to live simply – the wilderness.
Sierra Nevada College student Aaron Vanderpool and Andy Rost, associate professor at SNC, began using software such as Google Earth to learn how to model watersheds.The team got a grant for $9,000 from NASA to carry out the project. The faculty was given $5,000 in grant money, and the student was given $4,000.
Have you ever caught yourself glaring with envy at paddle boarders who seem to glide effortlessly across the lake? Thanks to a joint collaboration between Outdoor Adventure Leadership (ODAL) Instructor Daryl Teittinen and Dean of Students Will Hoida, students can now rent paddle boards, financed by the student activities fund, to use for fun in their spare time from the gear room free of charge.
Sierra Nevada College Alumni Brad Flora and Senior Lloyd Garden have begun an entrepreneurial adventure centering on their love of the ski industry and their Ski Business and Resort Management Majors.