To complete the objectives of this course, students are required to fully participate in physical activities inherent to Challenge Courses, including but not limited to: Climbing vertical to near vertical surfaces of up to fifty feet, traversing multi-level elements, carrying heavy gear and setting up of course equipment, hiking to and from challenge facilities over steep and rugged terrain, executing effective belays, ascension of vertical rope using SRT techniques, hanging in a harness for long durations of time. Additionally, students must be able to thermo-regulate a normal body temperature in all extremes of temperature common to Western North Carolina.
Paul read the paragraph to us aloud on the first day of class. Customary of his style, he acknowledged that some students may have a fear of heights or are not particularly inclined toward some of the physical requirements of the challenge course.
“But,” he went on to say, “none of us should fall into that category of students, or you may be wanting to re-think your major.”
No one grimaced. We didn’t look around the room at each other. Our gaze remained focused, but I can’t help wonder if more than one someone had held their breath ever so briefly.
The first five weeks of class will be spent at various Alpine Towers around town – obviously each one offering something different in terms of experience. For another five weeks class will be held at Zipline Parks – each one also providing something unique. The Agreement we signed before class ended read, “I acknowledge that my participation will expose me to inherent risks of Challenge course activities including climbing, swinging, lowering and relying on classmates to provide adequate safety…. I fully understand that these activities entail known and unanticipated risks that could result in physical or emotional injury or death.”
Wednesday: Water-Based Activities I.
To complete the objectives of this course, students are required to fully participate in physical activities inherent to whitewater paddling. These physical activities include but are not limited to: carrying and loading of rafts, swimming in up to class 4 whitewater, carrying and loading of canoes and kayaks, entry and exit of said boats from land, shore, water and while inverted in water, paddling the use of said boats individually or as part of a class team. In addition, students must be able to thermo-regulate a normal body temperature in all extremes of water temperature common to Western North Carolina.
Stephan sat behind the desk at the front of the classroom in shorts and t-shirt; his long, dark hair pulled back with a rubber band under a baseball cap. He wore the sandals customary to the inordinate number of raft guides you see milling about this area, and he clearly looked as out of place behind that desk as a fish out of water.
After a thorough review of the syllabus and a lesson on the proper name for every component of a raft, kayak and canoe, we went to the gym and practiced tying knots and hitches. We were sent home with a warning that class hours are from noon to 6:50pm every Wednesday, but this was only a guideline…..class may run late from time to time.
Thursday: Introduction to Outdoor Leadership.
Class began on Thursday at noon with another review of the syllabus. conspicuously absent from the syllabus was the disclaimer of Physical Requirements and I wondered if the only classroom course for the semester was scheduled late in the week to ensure we were well worn to the point of submission so as to endure 4 hours of lecture.
ODL 110 First Test:
- How do you put a giraffe into a refrigerator?
- How do you put an elephant into a refrigerator?
- The Lion King is hosting an animal conference. All of the animals attend except one. Which animal does not attend?
- There is a river filled with crocodiles. How do you cross it?
Paul began the class with a quiz, followed by a game in the gym with the 2nd year Outdoor Leadership students. Back in the classroom we read a story aloud in class – one paragraph each, and were told to take out a piece of paper and write a reflection on the story. Apparently this class will pick up where my class with Wags ended last semester and we will spend our time reading assigned materials and writing reflections. We learned there is a new program on campus to encourage better writing skills among the students and a career journalist has been assigned to our class to assist Paul in teaching us how to write.
It was at this point I realized somehow I had unknowingly registered for a full semester of sheer bliss.
- Open the door, put the giraffe inside and close the door.
- Open the door, take the giraffe out, put the elephant inside. Close the door.
- The elephant, he’s in the refrigerator.
- Swim across. The crocodiles went to the Lion King’s animal conference.