Posted by: csdailyblog | November 14, 2009

History Class in the Sylvania Wilderness

Class in Sylvania

Teagan, Shay, Maggie, History Teacher Michael Salat, and Emily work on orienteering skills in the Sylvania Wilderness Area.

Following is an excerpt from a description, by Maggie, of the all-afternoon Wilderness Exploration class shown above.

“All right, group, what’s our bearing?” This question was repeated at least three dozen times in three hours by my group’s fearless leader, Michael Salat. For about three hours Michael, Gabe, Teagan, Emily, Shay and I hiked from campus up into Fisher Lake and Moss Lake, both of which are in Sylvania. We experienced swamps, bogs, an immense blow-down, lakes, hills, and laughter. We learned, if we didn’t already know, how to find our bearing using a compass and our map. It was fun to visit Sylvania and see a bit of forest that I hadn’t seen before. The view from the lakes was beautiful.

We started back going south with a bit of an eastern direction. It was all right at first, a bit of a swampy area and some small saplings that gave us a little trouble. Our biggest obstacle on the whole trip was the immense blow-down section that we ventured into. We went around trees, over giant logs, between saplings, under dead trees, and more. It took awhile but we finally made it through, a little breathless and scratched on legs, but all right in the end. We broke out through the brush into a small bog with a pond. It was beautiful to stop for a second and look at the thin cracking picture the ice had made on top of the water. The twinkling of the twigs skimming the surface made the whole scene even better. It was the best reward to receive from the hard work of making it through the trees. The rest of the way was easy; we followed the border until Michael saw a place that he knew and we headed back to the LAB. I had a lot of fun going through Sylvania. Getting to walk and talk with people and share our experience together was great. I learned more about map reading than I had before and got to try out my skills at navigating and leading. I’d love to do it again in the winter or spring.

The class had just finished reading Bonnie Peacock’s book Sylvania: Majestic Forests and Deep, Clear Waters, which describes the history and unique qualities of this wilderness area.



  1. I’m sure it’s that way, Teagan.

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