California Expedition: Alzar Student Highlights

Alzar School | 27.09.12

Tans and Cali swag from the recent expedition to California? Nope. Cold rivers, dusty trails and fantastic views? Yes! The Klamath river, the Marble Mountain Wilderness, the Trinity River and the Arcata area were very hospitable to the Alzar crew. From a jam packed start to the trip on the Klamath river the expedition lived up to everybody’s expectations. We joined Ranger Danger Dave and his intern on pulling an invasive species, Scotch Broom, from the riverbanks. The warm water rewarded us with great wave trains and leaping salmon. On the second day on the Klamath we made a stop for what we thought would be a boring hike to a okay view, but it turned out to be combination hike, climb and swim up a creek to a freezing cold waterfall splashing crystal clear water upon us. By all students it was regarded as one of the top highlights of the trip and the shower was very much appreciated. A quick turnaround after the Klamath took us to the Marble Mountain Wilderness and our backpacking trip. The views were spectacular, including distant fog from the Pacific Coast, however the trails were tortuously dusty. But sadly there was no sighting of Sasquatch. A sprint to the car got us to Otter Bar for a much needed and relished swim in their river and a quick pack-up of our bags and boats in order to get to Willow Creek to food shop and set up camp. The next two days were spent rocking the Trinity, scouting some of the harder rapids such as Hell Hole. Running them got the group’s adrenaline soaring and excited for the rest of the river. After the two days we made our way to the coast to the interesting town of Arcata. This was our first experience with wifi and a laundry-mat in a week and a half and everybody was focused on the common goal of cleanliness. In Arcata we participated in a great leadership panel at Humboldt State University and received a tour of the school as well. From there we headed to the ocean to have an amazing time on the water kayak surfing and board surfing. Due to the fact that I had surfed plenty before it was extremely fun and probably my favorite moment of the trip. The next day we wrapped up our time in Arcata by volunteering at a great local garden and received a tour and business talk at the Kokatat facility. The entire California expedition was jam packed with adventure and learning. The trip had something for everybody, but on Sunday night it felt good to return to campus, out of our smelly sleeping bags and in warm beds.

My favorite part of the CA expedition was the first day of on the Trinity, when we did a class four rapid. Yeah I flipped over, but I rolled right back up and started screaming I was so overjoyed! At the beginning of Alzar I would not have even done a class three rapid confidently. Now looking back I realize how much I have improved my skills in only a month and I cannot wait for the rest of the semester.

My highlights of our California trip include boogie boarding on the Kalamath, making it through my first backpacking trip in the Marble Mountains, surviving Hell Hole on the Trinity, and learning how to surf in the Pacific Ocean! It was a well thought out and successful trip. An experience that I will never forget!!

My best memory of the California expedition was my Leader of the Day experience. The night before Karley and I came up with a solid plan and therefore our seemingly impossible day became pretty much smooth and effortless.

My favorite memory of the California Expedition was surf kayaking. It was a crazy feeling being picked up by a wave and surfing it to shore.

The most memorable thing for me was the random little hike Sam just insisted we go on during our second day of the Klamath River.  We pulled our boats off the water right after doing some ridiculous rapids and started trekking. The hike was a mix between walking along narrow cliff faces, swimming in icy clear water, and traversing rock faces. It was the most intriguing, exciting, entrapping hike of my life. When we got to our destination, a crystal clear, ice-cold pool underneath two crazy twin waterfalls, I was in love with California.

Within the first five minutes of paddling the Klamath River two fighter jets flew overhead and two massive salmon cartwheeled out of the water, inches from our boats. It was awesome!

My favorite moment of the California Expedition was the surf classes. It was awesome to try something new and fun. I felt a real connection with the sea and I felt so comfortable and peaceful.

On the two-week California expedition we went on a four-day backpacking trip. On the first night when we were unloading the food in the dark, a scorpion crawled up the tortillas. Evan quickly grabbed Pat’s walking stick and smacked it. It was a great reminder of the risks we take in the outdoors, how we need to be careful, and how great it is to be with people who can take care of us.

My favorite memory from the California expedition was kayak surfing and seeing F22s flying through the mountains.

The best moment of the California trip was watching the presentation given about the Karuk tribe in the Klamath River basin near Happy Camp, and learning how science has proven almost all of their traditions such as basket weaving, burning grass, and managing the forest with fire. Also learning about how much they still used the land compared to the average American.