The question most often – if not always – asked of me when people learn that I’ve chosen yurt life for a semester is “Why?”

My initial response is “Why not?” What makes one consider a dorm room so much more appealing than a yurt? There are some easy reasons why our yurts are more beneficial – ecologically friendly, sustainable, not to mention that they are allowing us a closer relationship with nature, giving us the ability to test ourselves, and exemplifying a lifestyle that will be healthier for both us and the environment.

But those are the quick, tangible answers, and why I chose to live in a yurt goes far beyond that, into reasons that I’m often unable to put into words quite the way I want. The warmth of the sun on my face and arms as I exert myself, building and creating my own home. The quietness of the night on the walk back, the brightness of the stars and far off galaxies.

The excitement and unnamable quality of listening to a lover of Mongolia explain the history of my new home and the possibilities for the future. The way my professor states the traditions of a yurt while staring up through the center of the universe, the very middle of my shared dwelling. The harmony that comes from coexisting with other creatures, human or not. The camaraderie of sharing this experience with other humans who are just as thrilled in their own ways for each new endeavor.

The color of early morning mountains, or otherworldliness of fog-covered lakes and trees. The power of my legs and body as I test and push them, extending my limits up mountains, over water, or as far into the wilderness as I please. The still, steadiness of the forest around a foot trail.

The serenading of loons, and plop of pinecones thrown by little monsters onto the roof, easily audible through the tiny separation between me and the land around me. The learning, expanding, fulfilling way of life that leaves one completely satisfied and still yearning for more adventure.

If one truly wants to know why I’ve chosen a path that is ‘tougher’ or ‘inconvenient’ or ‘impractical’, they need only wait for or seek out the morning when they wake surrounded by trees to the beginnings of an Adirondack sunrise.

Photo gallery: Yurt-stravaganza

After three consecutive, hard-working days, the Osgood Pond Semester crew banded together for the two final platforms and yurts — capped off with a pizza-and-cake birthday celebration for Brady Butler.

By Sunday night, we were sun-tanned (or burned), blistered and, most of all, ecstatic to have brought the yurt site to life.

Osgood…we have a yurt!

After four days of sun, sweat and downpours, a platform rose, and on it, an authentic Mongolian yurt. See how Joe Orifice, Andy and Phil Johnstone, Bethany Garretson and Alex Hall turned nine holes in the ground into an authentic Mongolian structure.