Having a Solo on Chewonki Neck possibly is the best way that anyone can spend a weekend. It was just a square on the calendar in the Wallace Center for most of the semester, until Willard started reminding us students to ‘do whatever we needed to prepare for solos.’ I personally didn’t and still don’t know what this entails. The packing list was simple, straightforward, and short, and I had been worn down mentally by so much work and the crazy social life here that the timing and length of the solo seemed to fit perfectly into the schedule. So, at least in my mind, no preparations were necessary. Whoever does the schedule chose the perfect time to send us out into the woods.
By the time that I had been shown my site, only three hours remained until sunset. After determining this, I stowed away my watch for the duration of my outing, and quickly started setting up my shelter. Once I had finally supported my tarp with a bowline know and a flurry of truckers’ hitches, tarp and sleeping bag safely out of the elements, I could finally survey my site and start to enjoy it. Its prominent feature is a smallish peninsula upon which stand a solitary pine tree and sitting stump. Even at high tide (with a full moon!) the water stops only a little short of covering the path to the tree. I couldn’t last for very long out there, however. As the sun rose on the first morning, the wind had picked up significantly, to the point that it became a little hazardous to stay out on that exposed viewpoint. I retreated back a couple feet to the base of an Eastern Hemlock (I think) and predicted in my journal about what the rest of the semester would be like. I have yet to see how valid my predictions were.
Anyway, after consuming all of my rations that were supposed to last me another night, I spent the rest of the time until dark on my back, under the trees thinking and reminiscing about everything that has happened here. I was nowhere close to finishing when I heard a series of blasts from an air horn, wielded by no other than Sue West, signaling that we were supposed to end our solos early and come back to campus. Reluctantly I packed up my clothes and shelter and hiked back to the barn among other disgruntled students, who, like me, wanted to remain outdoors. Regardless, I am thankful for the wisdom in our faculty’s judgment to call us in, because later that day the wind speed on the coast ranged from 15-25 mile winds along the coast. I know for a fact that my shelter wouldn’t have withstood that. So in conclusion, I enjoyed the time that I got to spend in solo thoroughly, but regret having it cut so short.
Zack Telljohann, Atlanta, GA