Arrival at Alzar School

Alzar School | 21.08.19

After weeks of preparation, packing and possibly a few wrong turns (did Google Maps navigate anyone else to the other side of the Payette River?) students found their home for the semester at the end of a gravel road in Idaho – the Alzar School campus. Luckily for students, they were welcomed by a dedicated team of outdoor ambassadors, instructors and teachers, ecstatic to share the next four months with them. It takes a special type of person to sign on to a semester of communal living, outdoor adventure, travel and living minimally – especially considering these people are high school students. That is why we at Alzar School are already incredibly impressed with our students and can’t wait to show them what they are able to accomplish throughout their semester here. With bright eyes and cautious smiles, the new Alzar School cohort settled into their bunks just in time to start a series of Orientation Outings in the area. 

Fall 2019 students overlooking Blue Lake.
Over the last three days, students rafted down the Cabarton stretch of the Payette River, hiked up to Blue Lake on Snowbank Mountain and undertook thorough scavenger hunts to acquaint themselves with the over 100 acres we call campus. It has been sunny and bright, the perfect weather to swim alongside rafts and bounce through rapids. Students had a chance to learn how to light Whisperlite camp stoves, set up Megamid tents, orient themselves on maps of the area, and reflect on the last few days while overlooking the crystal water of Blue Lake.
Megamid tent pitching practice.
Instructor, Auri, demonstrates a Whisperlite stove.

Adjusting to Alzar School life can be overwhelming, from the night sounds of cows, great horned owls and sandhill cranes, to the long list of activities each day. Life is simpler here, and yet there is so much more to do. Getting oriented to the new way of life can cause your brain to go fuzzy, but there is some camaraderie in the information overload each student experiences. Classes started today and we are all starting to settle into our ‘normal’ routine of academia and adventure.

Alongside the river on an Orientation Outing.

Thank you, parents, for allowing your children to join us and to all those who make Alzar School possible! You’ve helped create a thriving, intentional community, humming with laughter and activity. We can’t wait to see what adventures and learning Semester 15 will bring.

About the author: Margaret Cartner is the Academic Reinforcement Fellow and a Blog Coordinator at the Alzar School. You can reach her at with any questions or ideas for future blog posts!