No Cell Service and Scenic Mountain Landscapes?! Count me in!

My name is Isobel Michaud (most people just call me Izzy), and I will be blogging about my Jterm experience in the snow-covered mountains of the Pacific Northwest. I am a junior from Wheaton, Illinois (about 45 minutes west of Chicago) majoring in both biology and environmental studies (science). When I am not in lab identifying insects or plants or doing homework in Sam Hoff, I am either working at the Co-op or out running on one of the many trails in Decorah. In fact, you might remember me as one of the previous student bloggers for admissions.

I am incredibly excited and honored to be blogging for this coming January term in the Pacific Northwest. I have explored much of the east coast, in particular the great pine tree state of Maine, where I spend my summers with my family who live there. However, I have yet to do much exploring of the opposite coast, and I am beyond thrilled to get a taste of the Pacific Northwest.

I spent last J-term in England and Germany taking a course called Green Europe. In that course, which focused on the energy transition currently underway, we travelled all around the 2 countries and met with various government officials, organization leaders, and scientists and visited nearly every type of power production plant known to mankind, except for hydroelectric.

While that class spent much of that month travelling, visiting 20 cities in the 22 days we were there, this J-term I am looking forward to having a very different experience. Besides the travel by Amtrak train from the Twin Cities to Chelan, Washington, and then a boatride, I will be spending all 3 and a half weeks of this Jterm in one place: Holden Village. It is a village of only 200 or so people, with no cell service and limited wi-fi (only available to a select few individuals, including me for the purpose of a blog post every week or so). I know it will be unlike anything I have ever experienced, and it is a challenge and learning journey that I am very excited to take. And, in that "full-circle" cliche way that life sometimes works, the village is powered by a hydroelectric dam! So, if I learn nothing else, I will at least be able to say that I've seen every way humanity has learned to produce electricity. Although I can't say I'll be using quite as much electricity if I don't have a functioning cell phone to waste my battery snap chatting people with...

A cliche picture of me in a telephone booth outside of the Saint Paul Cathedral in London