Wood Cove

The residents of the van squished behind a row of skis, sleds, poles, and bags, ready to take on the day… after a nap. The three hour van ride was enough time for the future Wood Cove residents to catch up on a bit of sleep lost to packing the van. Most of the ride was accompanied by music playing softly in the background while the sounds of cars zipping by took the foreground. After taking a lunch break along the way, we finally arrived at our drop off location. 

We geared up and started the long, two and a half mile ski to our four day home. That ski was our first and last of the trip. Once we skied across the frozen lake and set up in the house, we were done for the day. Mostly. The fire, who was named Lana – after Lana Del Ray – refused to keep aflame. By some miracle and barely any kindling, save for what we made by breaking the bark off logs, we managed to get Lana started. 

Water retrieval was a new experience for me, as was most of the trip. Using a chisel red as the setting sun, we took turns chipping chunks of ice until we had a water hole. This misshapen gap in the ice was only big enough to fit a small butter pan, but it got the job done. Scooping the water from our small and cold geyser, we filled up enough water to last the night. 

Dinner that night was Mac n’ Cheese and Dawgz (yes spelled like that), I have always found that backcountry trip food tastes amazing. Maybe it was because I was hungry, but I think my fellow Wood Cove residents may agree, as there were no leftovers that night. Finally resting for the night, we finished day one. 

Day two started with oatmeal. Despite having to cover our bowls with our hands to make sure the oatmeal was fully cooked, we all were excited to see what was to come. We were told that one of our own, Amelia, was not feeling great and we were dropping her off across the lake. We were sad to say goodbye, but still had high hopes for the day. 

Until we made it down to the lake. 

It had gone from 19 degrees Fahrenheit that night to a high of 49 degrees that morning, melting all the snow. We were greeted with four inches of water on top of ice. Starting carefully at first, we began our slow shuffle across the lake. 

During that time, the wind had picked up and many of us were pushed backwards, forwards and even over. We continued our precarious journey, now a few people linking arms to support each other. Accompanied by many falls, soggy socks and boots, we finally made it to our destination: a “cigarette strewn boat launch,” (that was part of our trip skit). Saying goodbye to our dearest Amelia was hard, like sending your youngest off to college, but we made it through, as you will too, dear parents. 

The rest of the day was spent walking back the same way we walked, but with more confidence. Almost running across the frozen lake, a chain of five of us managed to make it without falling. 

That night we collapsed. Well after the first one. We got home and fell asleep for a quick recharge before dinner was made. Then we fell back to sleep. 

Day three was quite the experience. We woke up at 8:30 to our delight. We didn’t know what our plan was, but it was immediately foiled when it turned out to be 3 degrees with a windchill of -16. We went back across the lake, attempted to ski, and ended up hiking to a frozen Mud Pond. We messed around on the not-mud Mud Pond for an hour before returning to Wood Cove. 

After the quick lunch break, we ventured back out on the bigger frozen lake, this time with a few empty sleds. We found a small hill to sled down, launching us out onto the lake. Finally the group decided to make our way back home. A sled train was started, Melia and Oona trading off dragging each other while Sid sat in whoever’s sled was empty. 

The night was done with a game of Salad Bowl – a variation of charades – day three was finished. 

Day four started dark and early at 5:00. Getting the group up and somehow managing to get the sleds re-packed while still half asleep was a challenge. But we overcame the challenge like we did the others. 

Setting out over the fully frozen lake once again, we said goodbye to our temporary home. Quickly making our way back to the van, we carried our skis in the sleds and dragged the sleds over branches, roots, snow and finally back to the van. We re-packed once again, and we were off. 

Peace and Chow, 


– Sidney Heiges, Sidwell Friends School

More News from Maine Coast Semester:

Please enable JavaScript in your browser.