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Monday, September 30, 2013

The only Consistent thing is Change...

West Clear Creek- My Wilderness Orientation
My recent return to Prescott has been one filled with warmth, welcome, and ridiculous amount of intrinsic excitement on my end. I attended PC in 2009, breaking to take an instructing job with Outward Bound in the Mid Atlantic. I’m from Delaware originally, so leaving the sweetly mysterious desert that I had finally began building a relationship with was not an easy feat. I decided to keep my eyes peeled, focusing on the silver lining surrounding the move, and decided to relearn how to love my home place.
Fall foliage on the Appalachian Trail

So, I packed all my things, and headed back east… back to the fast paced dwellings of ample public transportation, humid subtropical summers with bitter Nor’easter winters, fresh seafood and family. Working for Outward Bound had long been on my to-do list, and I was stoked to finally have the chance to play outside while hopefully challenging myself and those around me. I ended up working there, between the Philadelphia and Baltimore bases, for 3 years… and loved every minute.

High Rock, AT, Delaware Water Gap, PA

I worked with a diverse population of students, from the inner city all the way to the ‘burbs, public schools and private alike, going backpacking, canoeing, and rock climbing. During the winter months, when we were not contracted for instructor work, I took up various gigs to make ends meet, like working at a crepery one winter and a homeless shelter the next.
Pilot Sea Kayak Training,
Baltimore Chesapeake Bay Outward Bound
In my downtime, I traveled as much as possible. I went rock and ice climbing in the northeast, mostly exploring the Adirondacks of New York and White Mountains in New Hampshire. I hopped on a sailboat for 2 weeks that made its way down the Intracoastal Waterway… which my friends and I termed, “I-C-Dubs” for conversational purposes. I crossed the country, twice, in a car that was lent to me by a new found friend in Prescott. I went sea kayaking for a week in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. I also worked at a farm in Downingtown, PA during the fall and spring months. I went to shows, read books, baked bread and watched movies. At the end of the day, on most days, however, Prescott always came to mind… and I often thought about our unfinished business.

Monsoon Season!
So, after my last course in August, I bought an ’86 Chevy S10 with what I had saved from instructing, packed my stuff, made my rounds of kisses and hugs, and ventured back to the land of panoramic blue skies and the ‘sea of desert’, as Abbey had once deemed it. There is something to be said about the isolated beauty that the land provides, and I don’t know if I would ever be able to truly articulate the connectivity I feel when disappearing among the junipers and cicadas for the weekend.

What I do know... is that it’s great to be back. - Amanda August

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Sedona – Brittany Davis
 Up just a little bit north of Prescott is one of the most beautiful places in Arizona - Sedona. With its cascading red rock masterpieces, the place is extraordinary to say the least. The soil is actually vividly red, full of iron oxide that gives the land in and around Sedona a visually stunning and magical feel. Speaking of magical, many go to Sedona for its famous vortexes. These vortexes are energy centers which people come from all over to experience.
 In certain areas the vortexes are said to even cause the trees to grow in emphatic spirals. When I first heard of these I was interested, but also somewhat skeptical. Some things just come off as too oovey groovey for my tastes. Going to the top of one near a red rock monument called Bell Rock, though, I was taken aback. It really did feel as if something was swirling and rushing through the area. My companions also felt the same, and it was amazing to behold. 
Overall, this place serves as a great getaway for Prescott College students to go enjoy the outdoors and the arts; just another one of those lovely places that makes Arizona an awesome home. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Summer began in Anchorage...

Glaciers, Ravens & the 
Pacific Northwest – Part 1
Matt Seats

Summer began in Anchorage, a city rich with Native American culture. As one of a team of would-be student mountaineers in Prescott College’s Wilderness Leadership summer semester course, I chose to arrive a week early and acclimate to the around-the-clock sunlight. After a 12-hour flight delay and two cancelled flights my plane and I arrived in Alaska. The airline felt that my luggage would be more comfortable in Seattle for a few days.
But I am not the sort of person who finds such things to be a cause for anxiety and I went on about the business of enjoying some of                   the most beautiful country and diverse culture our nation has to               offer.
There are 8 remaining indigenous tribal cultures in Alaska, and hundreds of tribal villages and communities. For the uninitiated like me, a visit to the Alaska Native Heritage Center was an outstanding introduction to a world completely foreign to my knowledge base. Although a few hours of studying the history, architecture, art and languages of eight nations barely begins to scratch the surface, I gained a sense of respect for the unique cultures these tribes embody.

At the end of the week, my fellow students and I met at the Anchorage airport to begin an epic adventure. We were to spend the next two months learning the finer points of glacier travel, mountaineering, expedition planning, guiding and instructing. Ultimately, our goal was to instruct and guide a group of Prescott College students for two weeks in North Cascades National Park. First we’d hike the thirteen-miles along the beautiful blue-green Eklutna Lake to Eklutna Glacier. From there we would live and travel on the glacier, a 38-mile traverse on skis, crampons and on foot, lasting for weeks.

Aside from the limited food and water we carried in our backpacks, we would have a helicopter drop food for our expedition at two separate points along our route. One food drop location was a few miles in from where we entered the glacier; the next was near the far end of the traverse. Little did we know at the time that our second food drop would soon be ravaged by wild beasts. OK, it was probably just ravens – but the effect was the same; most of our food ration for the final eight days of our trip vanished before we ever saw it!

Watch for part 2 – coming soon!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Little Gardens Everywhere

All around Prescott there are amazing little gardens in bloom. The movements of permaculture and urban gardening have really taken in this town, especially in the the Prescott College community. There is really something to be said for planting and keeping your own garden and having such a close connection to the food you eat. I can't speak fully to the satisfaction of pulling my own zucchini, choppin it up and feeding it to some hungry friends. The mm mmm's that accompany the meals make the whole process of watering, pruning and enjoying the plants that much more awesome. I have been inspired by the different shapes these tiny gardens can take, even being situated on a patio in tons of little pots:

Prescott College is one of the only colleges in the country that has a Permaculture Design Certification program. Through this class I learned the ins and outs of how to connect to a piece of land to create a thriving garden of eatin', flush with practices that are inspired by nature. Even in really small spaces one can create lots of food to share, and if you think of that saying you are what you eat then…

Prescott College also has its own set of gardens right on campus. One of them is even set onto the rooftop of the school cafe, growing prickly pear cacti among other things that the cafe harvests to make delicious sweet jam and syrup. 

A little water, soil, sunlight and inspiration go a long way here, that's one thing for sure! - Brittany Davis

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What's In A Prescott College Student's Head

Stunning, stimulating, oh so captivating. All the inner and outer workings of the world...Philosophy, anthropology, agroecology, adventurology. Yes, adventurology. Interwoven in all things Prescott College students are active and learning about is a never ending sense of adventure. Timeless in it's values, this sense of adventure pushes students to the heights of mountains, the crevices of inner expression through the arts, and ultimately the precipices of creating new systems theory within education. 

A complete dichotomy of what it means to be the bombshell individual within the altruistic nature of real community. A daring of spirit and virtue that is inspiring to behold in such young folk. That is what this sense of adventure creates.

I recently ran across an amazing piece of art that my good friend purchased. Here, in the intricate workings of Master Mercury's Universal Head Case, is found a feeling of boundlessness within a helmet of astonishing creativity. I knew upon looking at it that any Prescott College student would flip at it's beauty. I realized they would do this because the beauty and intricacies of this helmet lay within themselves as well. Shown are so many archetypal images of spiritual leaders and philosophers, forms and patterns of nature, and a climb up to a most fantastic symbol of the grand idea: a light bulb. This is what flows from the minds of the students at this school, ideas that in their genuine grandeur will change the world. - Brittany Davis