Course in winter camping teaches teamwork at Ripley

(Pictured are Josh Lund of Perham, Danny Burkholder of Menahga, Jake Nygren of Cushing, and Cody Peterson of Fort Ripley)

“Ideal weather is from 10 above to 10 below,” Carson asserted. “This minimizes chances of oversweating and getting hypothermia.” Each student brings food, so there is plenty to eat. And Carson said each student experiences the process of prioritizing needs for the trip, as well as packing and pulling a sled.

The students endorse the activity, even it did take some of them away from a televised Minnesota Viking football game.

The students trekked two miles to the back country of this military reservation, where wolves howl and deer cautiously monitor activity through their radar-like senses.

Some students wore winter pack boots, expending considerable effort in knee-deep areas, while others cruised the snow in wider, buoyant snow shoes. Packs of food and tents with cooking supplies rode nicely on strapped sleds pulled behind the hikers.

“The weather was a little warm, but OK. The trip was great!” said Jake Nygren of Cushing.

“We learned about heat balance and how important it is to work together as a team,” said Brian DeZurik of Randall.

Camp Ripley, the site for this year’s excursion, is a military reservation.

On a few quiet days each year, when maneuvers subside, guests receive permission to explore and encounter a world apart from mechanized traffic and tourist recreation.

They traversed snow-ladened woods, various topography from hill to ravine, and a quiet little lake provided a chance to catch an evening meal of Minnesota walleye.

“The fishing was not so good, but we tried,” said Cody Peterson of Fort Ripley. “Fosdick Lake has been a good fishing lake because the DNR uses it to raise walleyes.”

Carson lauds the Camp Ripley officials for their support on behalf of the natural resources program.

“The folks at Camp Ripley are very good in letting us use the area,” said Carson. “They work with us, helping to create jobs for our students under the guidance of Marty Skogland and Jay Brezinka.”

Accompanying Carson and the students were Wayne Green, earth science instructor, and assistant Bud McCulla. Students who were involved in the camping experience included:

Eric Stangler of Albany, Dannie Burkholder of Menahga, Brian DeZurik of Randall, Amanda Novak of Rice, Josh Wakefield of St. Peter, Ben Bangert of Albert Lea, Robert Anderson of Garrison, Joshua Donatelli of Hudson, WI, Josh Lund of Richville, Jake Nygren of Cushing, and Cody Peterson of Fort Ripley. CLC’s natural resources program is the only one offered in the Northwest Region of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.

Information can be obtained from Carson (218) 855-8079 or the counseling office, (218) 855-8019. The toll-free number is 1-800-933-0346.

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