I woke up 9:00 am Wednesday morning in a yurt with a cold sweat. This started my first full day on the Woodcove Wilderness Trip. I was on the bottom bunk with two down sleeping bags, long underwear, cotton sweatpants, two long sleeve tee shirts and woolen socks on. The tip on nose was so cold that I submerged my head in the sleeping bag as well. We walked down an incline to a warm cabin that smelt of pancakes. After a big breakfast of pancakes and oatmeal we got on our snowshoes and headed across the lake. As I stepped off the porch of the cabin in my snowshoes I landed on two feet of pure POWDER! After that I knew I was going to enjoy this trip. As we walked past our water hole we made the night before, we peered at the snowdrifts that were like a mist across wide-open space. The mountain ahead of us had an icing of snow at the top that made it look beautiful and surreal. The hike was gorgeous. Everything had a glimmering tint from the snow. We walked down to a small pond called Mud Pond. It was truly amazing. It was surrounded by large hills and gullies following them. The walk there was what amazed me most. We walked through a dense, coniferous path that leads us directly to the lake. All of these trees were a foot or two apart. It was the densest forest I have ever seen. It made the two in half mile walk through snow worthwhile.
The next morning was even colder than the morning before. We woke up a 6:30 so we would have enough time to hike up Sally Mountain. Sally Mountain was the biggest mountain around us. It was visible from the cabin porch. It was what we all wanted to accomplish before we left. We set off at 8:00 am that morning, with our heads held high and excitement and mystery captured in our minds. Steph and I located a route that would be the most plausible. We looked at a topographic map and determined which route to take due to the steepness, waterways, and trails. We walked to Mud Pond and whipped out the compass and map. Steph, Keith (one of our leaders) and I determined to direct our path between the two streams that flowed out of Mud Pond. We had to be careful because one wrong step could send us to the bottom of the pond. We determined where true North was and dialed our compass to match the maps direction. Steph and I played leapfrog so we could be exact on where we stepped. We started heading toward an outlet that looked a little scary. By scary I mean we were unsure of the ice thickness. I started to sweat. I wasn’t sure if we should keep going in the direction the compass was telling me to go or follow the path straight ahead that my eyes wanted to follow. I followed my heart. I started ignoring the compass and walking straight ahead. I determined which area to go between so we could avoid the marshland and continued on. We made it. We reached the land.
After that we trail blazed through two to three feet of snow up Sally. We followed a river up to a field. Or at least it looked like a field. As we continued up this “field” I noticed the field started to level out, it was a road. It appeared to be a logging road that was not marked on the map. As we stood there and turned around we were amazed at the sight. We reached close to the top of Sally, and the view showed us that there were mountains in the distance that were lightly frosted on the top with snow. We also peered down and saw Mud Pond that we crossed. As we walked past the road and stopped for lunch, I stood there in awe, and realized this is why I wanted to go on this trip. The hard work and navigation was truly worth it to gaze at this view. I felt like we could have been in Colorado or Alaska or some well-known beautiful place, but no, we were in the woods of Maine and did not want to be any place but there. It took my breath away, and I was completely satisfied and grateful of where I am today. It made me think of MCS as an experience as a whole. I will admit, before this experience I was a little skeptical about Maine. I thought it was just abandoned woods that people went there to seclude themselves from society for a while. We are just a quarter through the semester and I already think completely differently. I have learned not to stereotype a place before you have seen it. I have learned that you only truly understand when you are in someone else’s shoes or experiencing the experience yourself. I never thought an unknown place such as the back woods of Maine could be so magnificent, but I have learned that sometimes the smallest, unknown places can be the most astonishing.
-Lindie Martin, Sheffield, MA