Third Boreal Fall semester underway in New Zealand
NZSF-3-09/20/2012 students arrived at the branch in Christchurch last week to begin their semester course. Ten students from throughout the US are enrolled, one of whom is a NOLS alum. Students began their in-town briefing days with a huge rations-packing effort; they measured, weighed and bagged hundreds of kilos of food that they will eat over the next 70+ days.
The second briefing day was focused on equipment. Students sorted gear and re-checked that items were "field ready." Below, students are inspecting dry bags to make sure they don't have any holes. With the bags over their heads, they are looking for tiny pinpricks of light that indicate a puncture.
Each student spends time with an instructor and then with the Issue Room Manager sorting out what gear they've brought and what they need to rent or buy. We encourage students to spread out all their gear on the floor so they have a clear picture of what all they're planning to bring -- and what they can leave behind.
Considerable time was spent fitting boots (pictured below). For warm and happy feet, each person needs a system of socks, boot liners, boots, gaiters and crampons that fit together easily. For students who rented plastic mountaineering boots from NOLS, we recommended that they wear them around the base all day to ensure a proper fit.
On Saturday morning NZSF-3 loaded the bus and drove north for their cultural section. They visited a Maori marae (meeting house) in the town of Kaikoura. They spent time learning about Maori customs and traditions, went on a short hike and learned some Maori words and phrases.
The course has now just begun their first section, canoeing on the Clarence River.
NZSF-3-09/20/2012 Course Calendar
Cultural section: 22 Sep
1 - Canoe: 23 Sep to 15 Oct
Field switch: 15 Oct
2 - Hike: 16 Oct to 9 Nov
Field switch: 9 Nov
3 - Mountaineering: 10 Nov to 4 Dec
In town: 4 Dec
Course ends: 5 Dec