Monday, February 4, 2013

NHVSP Update 4

NHVSP Update 4

Noah prepares for carrying the stove
We are now coming to the end of our preparations for the expedition! We will be leaving on Tuesday. If we get enough snow by then, we will be able to ski right from the start — but if we don’t, this will become a hiking expedition instead for a little while. The weather has gotten a bit colder again, so hopefully if we do get snow it will stay.

Here's a look back at the last (and final) week at base camp:

On Monday we had a bonfire outside the Big Yurt. It took a little while to burn away the snow and get it going, but it was a fun evening nevertheless!

The next day we completed our big job presentations, which are our way of teaching the other students about the work each of us has been doing to prepare for the expedition. In the evening, Nathan Lyczak and his wife, Hanah, led us in a poetry and exercise class. Later, they sang, while we listened and unwound and worked with the wax they brought. It was very soothing after the ceaseless chaos of preparation.

On Wednesday, we test-packed the new backpacks we got. The packs are 105 liter Osprey Escalantes — nonretail specialty backpacking packs, notable for not having a large number of subcompartments but instead simply being a single large compartment. That makes it easier to extract equipment from them when it is time to set up camp, and easier to pack them in the mornings. Later in the day, it began getting warmer, and began raining a little. The gear test packout went well, and we went to Granite Gorge again and continued working on our telemark skiing.
On Thursday morning, it had flooded near the bathrooms, and the smaller bridges flooded out, — it had rained overnight and the creek had risen perhaps a foot and a half. It was very hot, probably 55 to 60 degrees. We finished sewing our gaiters Thursday, as well.(?)

On Friday, we met the freshmen students from the Lake Champlain Waldorf School, who had arrived for a weeklong winter camping trip at a nearby reservoir. We slept in the tent we will take on the trail for the first time. It’s cold! The tent is made of Egyptian cotton, with four hundred threads per inch. It has a separate fly, but the tent itself is so large the fly has to be carried by another person!

The tent has a small, lightweight woodstove that we will take with us, so we shouldn’t be too cold. The stove, which was custom-made for the Kroka program, has been in use since the first semester. Noah, the energy manager, will be carrying it in a special pack, this year. It is getting old, and it will probably need to be replaced soon. The stove is made of titanium, a very hard metal with useful heat transfer properties that make it both heat very quickly and cool very quickly. However, titanium is an unusually expensive and rare metal and is very difficult to extract from the ore, and so the stove is quite expensive. When it was first purchased, it cost about one thousand dollars, and now it would probably cost about three thousand.

Yesterday, we met our parents on Parents’ Day. We will next see them at the layover at Northwoods at the end of the winter half of the expedition.

Later today, we will have our first hockey game!


Moments from the week:

I am content in the stillness of the rock on which I sit in the field, looking out at the world. It is a time and place when I am alone, but I am surrounded by everything I know, and I am glad to see it, and I am glad to be alone. I become nothing more than eyes and ears and skin, looking and listening and feeling the breeze blow cold upon me. And I pause and look within myself, and I think about time that has passed, and I remember things that have been and things that still are. I think about the time that will come, and how the memories from the past will call to me in the future. And I look again at the world around me, and the past and the future and this perfect moment I am in right now sitting on the rock in the field become one, all an interconnected, flowing stream of the sight and the sound and the breeze blowing upon my skin, and I am content.


I laid in the sun to-day, and I just soaked it up like some big old lizard, and I forgot about time, or concern… and I laid there, and I enjoyed it, very much.


Praise to the eggplant!
Your shiny purple skin glistens brightly and mirrors your flavorful beauties within.

Praise to the eggplant!
The oils and spices sink into your flesh as I prepare you for your transformation.

Praise to the eggplant!
Steaming and a delight to the senses as you arise from the casserole.

Praise to the eggplant!


I am content when there is no other place that I wish to be except where I am, with the people who have somehow become my family. I am here now — this is my home, and when I sit around the woven rug eating a meal cooked by my new friends, I know I am content; I know that this is the life for me.

When I glide across the unbroken snow with a weary breath, and beads of sweat on my brow, I am content. I am moving by the power of me.

As I take the hands of my friends to join together and sing, I am content. We share a common goal, but we are our own selves.

We might not know exactly where we are going, or where we might end up, or what we might run into. But as a clan, we are content in our ways — content in our work, and content in our selves.

Oh Cletus the Mighty
Oh Cletus the Sharp
How your beauty does flourish
Through your grain so dark
From the gnarly burl
Of the sweet cherry tree
And a blade forged of steel
From across the vast sea
Toned and tempered
By an artisan Swede
I am glad you’re here
For you’re something I need
Oh Cletus the Strong
Oh Cletus the Wise
Soon you’ll prevent
My untimely demise
Sam mapping our route

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