Local student completes 5-month odyssey

Shelburne student Angus MacKenzie, at left, on the Missisquoi River paddling white water during a five-month “Vermont Semester” adventure program.

Shelburne student Angus MacKenzie, at left, on the Missisquoi River paddling white water during a five-month “Vermont Semester” adventure program.

Spirits were high last Tuesday as nine high school students, including Shelburne resident Angus MacKenzie, and three instructors from Kroka Expeditions climbed into two Lake Champlain Long Boats, launching the third stage of their five-month journey. Rowing the entire length of the lake from Canada to Whitehall, N.Y., the students will study weather, geology, and the history and culture of the Lake Champlain region – from potash smuggling schemes of the late 1800s to water quality and wildlife management issues of today.
The odyssey of the “Vermont Semester” began in January at Kroka Expeditions in Marlow, N.H. After a month of intense preparation and planning for their winter expedition the group set out on their first leg of the journey. Skiing 300 miles from southern Vermont following the Catamount Trail, they reached the Northwoods Stewardship Center in East Charleston, Vt. in March. In late April, the ice broke up in the northern rivers and the group set out in white water canoes along the Clyde River into Lake Memphremagog. Traversing the lake and traveling into Canada, the route took them onto the waters of the Missisquoi River and then southwest towards Lake Champlain. The final leg of the expedition will be a 100-mile bike ride from Whitehall, N.Y. across the Green Mountains and the Connecticut River to Marlow, N.H.
The carbon footprint for this adventure is at an all-time minimum: traveling 600+ miles, all on their own power – using skis, paddles, oars, and pedals. The group is self-reliant – a way of expedition traveling that teaches and practices ancient wilderness skills while building a foundation for applying sustainable thinking to modern social and environmental challenges.
To learn more about this one-of-a-kind program, read about the journey from the student’s perspective, via their blog at http://krokavermontsemester2013.blogspot.com/. For more information contact Kroka Expenditions at (603) 835-9087 or email semester@kroka.org.

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