Posted by: csdailyblog | February 25, 2010

Exploration Week Fun

I’ve been begging the students to send me some posts about Winter Exploration Week activities,  but they’ve all been so busy skiing and sledding and building quinzees and cooking over fires that no one has had the time. Matt saved the day and just sent in a chronicle of his experiences this week. Thank you, Matt!

Here it is hot off the press from Matt:

Matt, Mathematics Teacher Roger Jones, and Ben trekking through the Sylvania.

Trip to Sylvania
We started off in a Sprinter with Field Instructor Kevin driving us to a Forest Service facility north of Sylvania. Ben, Jon, Roger and I put our snowshoes on and proceeded to the nearest lake, Katherine Lake. Along the way in the morning, Ben was the leader. Field Instructor Jon was teaching us leadership skills such as listening to the group before offering up your own opinion. We went along the trail a little bit, finding fun things like a heart snowshoed into the snow on Katherine Lake, wolf tracks ,and an oven that was set up by a previous owner of the property. We stopped for a lunch of soup and bratwurst at the oven. Jon helped me begin the fire and we worked it back into the chimney area where the wind and the heat caused a large amount of draw. After a few minutes, the wind above and the heat below even drew flames up to the top of the chimney structure. After a warm and energizing lunch, we proceeded. After lunch, I was the leader, and we got another leadership lesson from Jon. This time, Jon argued that we took a straight path, therefore we were at Whitefish Lake instead of Clark Lake.  He then told me I should “take him by the hand” and explain to him why we were really at Clark Lake. I told him that since we started at Katherine Lake and took a straight path, we could not be at Whitefish Lake because there’s no straight path between them, but there is a straight path between Katherine and Clark Lakes. After that, we easily found the way home via the path Roger regularly takes with his American Water Spaniel Dee Dee into Sylvania, leading us through the yellow stakes marking the border, straight up to the pump house and back to campus.

CLick on the link below so you can see our route in Google Earth:
View Larger Map

Snow Tubing

Chinese Teacher Xiaoyu Chen gets in on the tubing fun.

Definitely the most fun I’ll have all week.  This was an all day trip where Conserve School took those who signed up to the Mt. Zion complex at Gogebic Community College. The first thing I did when we arrived was eat lunch because I was hungry and didn’t want to snow tube on an empty stomach. I went outside after eating, grabbed a tube, and got in line to go up the hill. There are two areas to start – a higher area where you can just sit down and get going and a lower area where you can get a running start. The first time I went down, I thought it felt like riding a tube in a lazy river in a water park, except much faster, down a hill and you can’t stick your body through the tube.  After a few times going down myself, I joined a big group that attempted to go down in a circle but ended up more like a puddle. I thought that was a good experience, so kept going with groups until I was almost run over by a group that accidentally started. I think someone in front sat down and started the whole group moving. Before that, I was standing up getting ready. After that, I was going down the hill without a tube. I looked up and saw a tube zooming at me, rolled over and started to stop. It’s hard to stop in well-packed snow, but I dug in my fingers, elbows, knees and feet and stopped pretty soon after getting started. I was happy as I stood up without a scratch and saw my tube sitting in front of me and patiently waiting. After that, I had a good time tubing with groups, and people only sat down when the whole group was ready to go. It continued until Ryan had us all get in one big group and all go down together.  Somewhere along the way, we lost a few people, including Eddy, who then lost his tube. On our way back to the warm-up place, after putting the tubes near the storage area, Bennet said, “Who wants to roll down the hill?”  As soon as I heard this, I was on the ground and quickly rolling to the warm-up area. After realizing that I would be extremely dizzy, I stopped myself and got up on my knees to find the world perpetually moving left. I stayed on my knees until the world mostly stopped moving and walked the rest of the way with only a little bit of dizziness left.

Stephanie and Maggie romp through the woods.

Snowshoeing and Photography with English Teacher Jeff Rennicke
After we all arrived at the LRC, Jeff asked us if anyone needed a camera. I didn’t need one since I brought my own. Jeff then had all of us go outside, put snowshoes on, and head down to the lake, where I picked the first topic: Nature Close Up. We all ran off and took pictures and continued in that way for the rest of the activity, with different people picking different topics. To show us how the F stop works, Jeff also had us in an area prancing back and forth while he played with the F stop setting on his camera. He took two pictures of us at F5.6, two more at F16, and showed us the incredible difference between the different settings.

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