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.
By Rebekah Ashley
Scout Sorcic, an Outdoor Adventure Leadership(ODAL) and Ski Business / Resort Management major, grew up in Leadville, Colorado. It was there that she discovered her passion for outdoor education that brought her to Sierra Nevada College.
“Growing up in Colorado there were a lot of scholarships for outdoor education courses offered to local students. I did an Outward Bound course, a NOLS course, a course with the Women’s Wilderness Institute and eventually ended up at the High Mountain Institute my junior year of high school,” Sorcic said.
The High Mountain Institute offered Sorcic a semester of classes and backpacking with a focus on leadership skills.
“It was there that I decided I really liked the idea of outdoor education,” Sorcic said.
During her time at Sierra Nevada College, Sorcic has been an active leader on campus and in the Tahoe community. She collaborated with the nonprofit organization, She Jumps, to create a scholarship that allows female SNC students to take the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education Level 1 course for free.
“Scout created a partnership with She Jumps, a non-profit organization. She’s on fire! She is making things happen on campus,” said her advisor, Interdisciplinary Studies Chair Katie Zanto.
In addition to her work with She Jumps, Sorcic rallied to get a group of ODAL students to attend the Western Regional Outdoor Leadership Conference that will happen in January 2015. This was just one case that demonstrated her passion towards outdoor education and helped her stand out to faculty such as Rosie Hackett, director of Outdoor Adventure Leadership.
“Scout is a stellar student,” Hackett said. “She understands that learning does not start nor end in the classroom. She understands that learning is most successful when it is authentic, and that learning takes initiative and a whole lot of courage to get uncomfortable.”
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.
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.
All too often incoming students preparing for their Wilderness Orientation trip or for their first Outdoor Adventure Leadership (ODAL) trip assume backcountry cooking means yucky and simple food. Through years of experience, ODAL Program Director Rosie Hackett explains that you do not have to sacrifice quality or style in backcountry cooking.
Daryl Teittinen wakes up in the morning on a gorgeous day and either throws on a pair of Garmont Radium ski boots, Chaco sandals, or La Sportiva TC Pro climbing shoes. Such choices are for a typical day out in the wilderness for Teittinen, adjunt professor of Outdoor Adventure Leadership (ODAL). Teittinen started working at Sierra Nevada College in January 2012, helping out with the Outdoor Skills 101 class, and now works as the main instructor for the class.
EnvironmentalFrom camping and hiking, to learning about organic farming and observing elephant seals and the environment’s ecosystems, Assistant Professor Andy Rost and his Fundamentals of Environmental Interpretation class learned it all on March 7-9 at California’s Central Coast.
Snow flurries approached the Tahoe Basin, and the Fundamentals of Environmental Interpretations class, taught by Andy Rost, Adjunct Professor of Science and Technology, couldn’t wait to get out into the field.