First Days at Arcadia | St. Lawrence University Adirondack Semester

First Days at Arcadia

The students arrived at Arcadia a couple of hours earlier than expected on Friday having crushed Dead Creek, usually the final challenge of the expedition with multiple beaver dams to drag canoes across and several long portages. Water levels were unusually high and that helped, but this group are strong paddlers already.

Amanda, Hogan & Caleb, three 2016 Arcadians, prepared a first night feast for the new Arcadians, setting the cooking bar high for each night’s cook partners. Learning to cook for a crowd of at least 12 using fresh, local ingredients, is just one of the many non-academic skills ADK semester students will acquire.

On Saturday, students got an in-depth orientation to the site: the sauna, the “Clive” (our composting toilet), kitchen & cooking routine, chore duties, how to stay safe, healthy and explore the surrounding 4000 acres that is our immediate home, the weekly schedule and more. Many of them have been sleeping on the dock or barge under the stars, or hammocks; others are sticking with the yurts for now. Several students were treated to an early morning drama of an eagle swooping over them to catch a fish in the lake just in front of them.

Sunday was a day of rest and exploration, the new Arcadians went for runs around the lake, short hikes and paddles; they swam in the lake, and learned the joys of the sauna. Monday saw their first academic class. The weather has been beautiful (if a little chilly at night and in the mornings for this time of year) so classes are typically in the outdoor classroom.  Tuesday was their first woodworking (non-academic credit) class. They will be making paddles the first half of the semester from the wood of their choice and in the style of their choice with master boat builder Everett Smith.

After a full week of classes, we will have Adirondack singer/song writer and SLU alum Dan Berggren perform for us this coming Friday evening and then Saturday and Sunday the students will be doing first aid training and will receive a certification in Wilderness First Aid.

All the rest of the weekly updates/blogs this semester will be written by the students, so please stay tuned!

Cathy Shrady
Director, Outdoor Studies & Adirondack Semester