Monday, 20 June 2016

The Kind of Cold so as to Think You'll Never Be Warm Again

Written by McKenna Pierce

In my last tale of our adventures, we were heading on our way to Mt. Nicholas High Country Sheep Station for our first Case Study Site Visit.

After packing up all of our belongings and eating a quick breakfast of yogurt, cereal and toast, our group loaded up and hiked through downtown to the ferry, loaded down with as many warm clothing items as we could fit in our backpacks.

Left: backpacks galore packed for the visit.
Above: The wonderful ladies on our trip. 
(Front row, Left to right- Isabella, Lauren, Ashley, Haley and Betzy)
(Back row: Nicole, Allie, Sabrina, Kyanna, Kristen, Kara, Kylie, Rachel, McKenna (that's me!) and Kelsey)

On the ferry ride over, we learned a bit about the area, fill our bottles directly from the lake (don't worry, it's completely safe to drink) and watch Laine (Idaho State University) succesfully not the boat.

After 40 minutes or so, we arrived. We were met at the dock by Bruce, one of Mt. Nic's employees and Minz, resident sheep dog extraordinaire. I was immdeiately in awe of the beatuiful scenery as we sat on benches near the lake shore and had a quick picnic lunch. Following lunch, we were given free time to explore and prepare ourselves for the informational session.

       Oh, you know, just your average scenic lake 
shore. Complete with rustic picnic benches, mountains, 
and a stag anteler on a rock for aesthetics.

Our informational session was held in the wool shed, where we met Jack. Jack and his wife own and operate the sheep station, with the help of Bruce and his partner. In the session, Jack talked to our group about how the unit is run, as well as the processes that it takes to get from wool on the sheep, to the clothing we wear. All in all, it was very interesting to hear about the work being done, specifically with their contract with the company Icebreaker and the BAA code that traces your garment to which sheep station the wool came from.

Jack then gave us a short demonstration with one of the sheep dogs and told us about how helpful they are to have around. They can muster sheep within just a matter of minutes, something that would take a human a lot longer to do. (Unless maybe you're Usain Bolt.)

The afternoon was filled with a hike around the farm. Let me just say, those were some views. And quite the work out too. Good thing it was dinnertime when we arrived back at the shearer's quarters.

Later that night Bruce was kind enough to set up a bonfire for the group. And by bonfire I mean, "So hot it's about 5 degrees short of Satan's kitchen." Andrew (Iowa State University) brought out his speakers and soon we had our own little party going. It was truly a bonding experience for the group and a lot of laughs and memories were made. Especially when my cooking group had brought hot dogs to cook over the fire, but had no means of doing so. 

(Photo credits to Kenny N.)
Now for the real challenge. Bed time came with the promise of a very chilly night in the shearer's quarters, and the games of, "how many clothing items can you put on your body, and how many blankets can you wrap yourself in and still fit inside you sleeping bag?" My answer? Two pairs of leggings, a long-sleeve shirt and jacket, two pairs of wool socks, a scarf, gloves, and a blanket all cocooned inside my Bass Pro Sleeping Bag. And yet, somehow I was still cold. So, so cold. Everyone fought through it though, except for four members who 'cheated' and slept in the dining area with the wood stove.

All in all, it was definitely a night I will never forget. 

To quote, "The cold never bothered me anyway." -Elsa

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