Applying to Maine Coast Semester, I always knew about the iconic Chewonki Solo. Sure, it was 48 hours spent out in the woods with porcupines and salamanders and the most gorgeous sunset viewing spots. But only until 2 weeks leading up to my own solo did I realize what it meant. After experiencing the winter cold despite never having lived in a place where it got colder than 40 degrees F (I’m from sunny California), and being engulfed in darkness with my headlamp as the only light source, everything started to feel very real.
I don’t remember the last time I was so excited yet so nervous at the same time. I mean, who wouldn’t love to spend 2 days exploring the wilderness and doing whatever you want, whenever you want? I am also someone who gets scared of the dark, so I was really curious to see if I would drive myself crazy thinking about what was hiding in the dark. Nevertheless, I threw on my 50+ pound bag that contained my shelter, bed, food and clothes for 2 nights, and headed off to my mysterious solo spot.
The first thing I remember when I got to Upper Clubs was, ‘Wow. This is my home for 48 hours.’ After taking in my spot for a few minutes, I scrambled around to find two trees that were a good distance apart to tie my ridgeline and set up my tarp shelter. Once that was done, I decided to explore some of my area. The coolest thing was that my tarp was up in a pine tree forest and if I walked down the hill a few feet I would end up on the rocky shore of Montsweag Brook, so I had the perfect balance of woods and coast to explore. While I was walking, I found all sorts of cool plants and leaves that I chose to press under some rocks so that I could use them in my scrapbook later.
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m pretty big on journaling, so my solo was amazing because I was able to catch up on scrapbooking. Sprawled out around my beach towel on the soft moss bed overlooking the water were my stationery materials: colorful washi tape, flake stickers, vibrant paper, and newspaper clippings. Other than scrapbooking, I would climb the rocks and touch everything that looked cool. I would also have peaceful moments when I wasn’t running around, when I would eat ‘dinner’ (a crisp apple and crackers) on a rock that hung over the water and watch the serene reflections of the trees across the brook.
I had always heard stories of people having their epiphany moments, but I never experienced any big revelation from being on my solo. If anything, I just brought to life more about myself that had always been there.
Sofie Szigeti, Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences, Hawthorne, CA