Wilderness trips were highly anticipated in semester 62. After filling out a survey to figure out which four-day trip I’d end up on, I was placed on the Woodcove snowshoeing trip with nine other semester student. I was nervous to snowshoe because the only practice we had was on thin sheets of ice around campus–there was little snow at Chewonki at the time. In preparation for the trip, we were also taught how to layer and did team building activities with our groups. Days before the trip we found out we would not only be snowshoeing but also skiing; I was really excited about this addition!
The morning of the trip I threw on as many layers as I possibly could — I looked like a marshmallow in pink snow pants. I literally had three hats on! We dropped our bags into vans loaded with the sleds, snowshoes, and skis. I savored my last cup of coffee and off we headed into the wild! The van ride was filled with sing-alongs to Footloose, Mamma Mia, and Madonna.
Arriving at Woodcove felt like driving into a mega snow globe. Everything was covered in a blanket of white powder. We pulled our gear down to the frozen lake which we would be skiing across, filled our sleds and attached them to our backs. Now was the time when I’d finally be an Alaskan explorer (or that’s what I felt like at least!). We skied across the lake for what felt like miles with stops now and then for water. The snow glistened like micro diamonds, time seemed to slow down in the most precious way. For a minute, it felt like it was just me and the trees.
We finally arrived at a huge hill, at the top of which was our cabin. I looked at this hill like it was Mount Everest. As we began the walk up, I took my skis off and began the climb, but immediately sank down to my belly in deep snow. The snow seemed to engulf me like a hungry hippo. I kept walking, trudging inches at a time as I pulled my sled behind me. I fell every-other step and laughed my way up the entirety of the hill.
One of the things I was looking forward was sleeping outside in a snow shelter. The first night there was a snowstorm, but the second night it was clear. We set a tarp up and flattened the powdery snow down. I was kind of nervous about getting cold, so I lugged my Thermarest and two sleeping bags outside to protect myself from the frigid, 10-degree temperatures. I wiggled myself into my sleeping bags and prepared. The stars tucked me in and I fell soundly asleep. It was so nice that we decided to sleep outside the next day again.
During our trip, my group decided to create a language using hand symbols. We sat for hours around the fire creating new words, simple phrases and names for each other. At meals we’d use the hand symbols to talk to each other and burst out laughing about every 10 seconds; no meal was silent for lack of joy. I was sad to leave Woodcove, the memories I had there were filled with overwhelming laughter, and fun. The type of laughs that make your stomach hurt.
Zwena, Home Schooled, Detroit, MI