Saturday, May 28, 2011
This year, expedition eight, for Level Four students, consisted of a fifty-mile hike along the AT, from Lake Watauga to the Roan Highlands. On Day One, Erin, Andrew, and I, were driven to the Shook Branch trailhead at Lake Watauga, and from there we started our seven-mile hike up to Pond Mountain. Erin led us up the mountain, which had spectacular views of the lake, and the surrounding mountains. We took a break at Pond Flats, the highest point of today’s hike, and it was there we first met other AT hikers. We started down the hill toward Laurel Branch, and reached the gorge around 1:05 p.m., where bridges led us across the river. Fifty-five minutes and one steep uphill later, we reached Laurel Forks Shelter. We were hoping to find camp spots near the shelter, but the spots appeared to be the ones behind us, and rather than hiking up the hill again the next morning, we opted to camp near the shelter. The water source was actually a waterfall, which I explored while we refilled our water bottles. Erin dropped her water bottle on the ground, which turned out to be a sunning spot for a snake. Andrew tried to catch it, but we let it get away. We said goodbye to the small waterfall, and began the short hike to Laurel Fork Falls, about a mile away. We followed the river up through the canyon to the falls, which were spectacular. They were about fifty feet high, and equally as wide. I climbed up to the top, which was a hard climb, and not really worth it since the view from below was better. After reuniting with the rest of the group, we hiked back down the canyon and up to the shelter. We sat talking at the shelter where we met a through-hiker named Prescott and had a chance to visit with him as well. After rally, we ate dinner, and I placed my sleeping pad on a flat spot by the shelter near a drop off, but I put a log next to my sleeping bag to make sure I didn’t roll off. So ended Day One.
Day Two started chilly but warmed up fast; it was a great day for our 9.8-mile hike up from Laurel Fork to the Moreland Gap area. We got out of our sleeping bags at 6:30 a.m., made breakfast, and had everything packed up by 8:00. I made a water run for the group, and then we moved out with Andrew in the lead. After an hour of hiking we reached Dennis Cove. I was disappointed that Bob Peoples’ hostel was closed that day, because ever since I had read about him on the walls of the Double Springs Shelter, I had been looking forward to meeting him. As we headed back up, we met a few more hikers going the other way. At 11:00 a.m., we reached the trail to Coon Den Falls, and met a couple more through-hikers who were traveling with their Golden Retriever. They were very nice people, and we talked with them for a while. We dropped our packs at the trailhead, and hiked a mile-and-a-half down to the falls. We spent some time down there, getting water, and I went under the falls, which would have been a nice shower if the water hadn’t been so freezing cold as it pounded down on me. Still, I was wishing I had brought my Dr. Bronner’s soap as I climbed out quickly. We hiked back up to the trailhead, put on our backpacks, and hit the trail for another three hours before we stopped for lunch at the shelter. We were on the trail that day for about eight hours, but I didn’t mind and neither did anyone else. The sights from the ridges of the towns and mountains in the distance were breathtaking. That said, the hardest uphills of the expedition, so far, were on this day, and I learned that uphills are not my friend, and neither are fallen trees in the trail which I had to climb over like a jungle gym. We arrived at our camp around 5:00 p.m., after meeting quite a few hikers headed for Moreland Gap shelter. Our campsite that night was small, and the water source was shallow and muddy, or at least it was until it started to rain. We cooked dinner and ate it during rally, and then hopped into our sleeping bags for the night.
Day Three started out terribly for me. It was freezing cold, and snowing, and, as I was packing up, I found that I had spilled my water bottle all over my side of the tent. To top it off, it was my day to lead on a 10.1-mile hike along the windy cold trail to Elk River. “Why me,” I thought to myself as I bundled up in my cold weather gear. The weather changed constantly from rain, to snow, to sunshine, which had us sweating inside our rain gear. It always seemed to start raining when we were on break. Along the trail we met Legion, who had just hiked five miles in one hour, and Hawk who adopted lost dogs along the trail, and dropped them off at the next town. We crossed two roads along the way, and stopped at Mountaineer Shelter for lunch. The shelter was a huge three-story building, unlike any of the other shelters we had passed. As I was eating lunch, I saw a quote written on the sleeping platform, which I really enjoyed:
“And the hammer fell upon the unchanged world, smashing the root of tradition. Time would settle all things, but tradition. Tradition lay disjointed, abandoned in all places but one…the white blaze. A place where those who would walk alone while others fell. Those others who would change the rules to feed the weak, those others will perish while the mountain is eternal, and we don’t forgive…”—The Rabbit
We moved out, and hiked for another hour-and-a- half until we saw the river. We arrived at camp, which was in a huge meadow. Erin got a camp at the highest point, surrounded by daffodils, while Andrew and I camped alongside the river. Andrew found some wild onions, and we roasted five of them, and cut up another three to put in our dinner. We rallied at our camp; it had stopped raining, but was still windy. In the middle of rally, our tent tried to blow away from us. The sun came out at the end of the day, as Andrew and I ate our lentils and rice with onions. We hit the hay after a nice sunset, and slept under clear skies.
Day Four began clear and cold, but with no snow on the ground. Erin was leading us on a 9.4-mile hike to Doll Flats. We moved out at 8:35 a.m., past two campers who had spent the night in the meadow and were just waking up. We hit the first uphill of the day, and arrived at Jones Falls about half an hour later. We spent around twenty minutes enjoying the falls, and then pushed on. We crossed over two roads and arrived at the top of a ridge, near a church, with incredible views. After the climb it was mostly downhill to Highway 19, where we stopped along the creek for lunch. Then it was a long uphill past Applehouse Shelter to Doll Flats, where Andrew, Erin, and I had a tent-city camp. Andrew went to take a billycan bath, and about two minutes later, we heard him yell in pain. We watched him pull a thorn out of his foot and Erin told him to wash the area and put a band-aid on it, while I laughed at the words that came out of his mouth. We ate dinner during rally, and after it was dark, got in our tent where Andrew worked on his Mountain Musings article, and I read Neverwhere out loud. I stopped reading when Andrew dozed off, and after that day’s eight-hour hike, I soon fell asleep also.
Day Five was Andrew’s day to lead again, and we started off by hiking uphill over huge boulders. After a long climb, we arrived at the top of the first of “the balds” on our hike. From there we had a 360-degree view of the surrounding towns and valleys, and a clear view of the ridgeline we would be hiking over the next day. The elevation at the top of the bald, which is called Hump Mountain, was 5,587 feet, and I felt light-headed for most of the day. Our 7.4-mile hike that day had the steepest uphills of the whole expedition, and we continued up and down for several hours before arriving at Overmountain Shelter, where we stopped for lunch. The shelter was a huge old barn, and we took some time to read the trail log, recognizing some of the names of people we had met along the trail. We continued up, and arrived at Stan Murray Shelter at 1:54 p.m. That afternoon, we rolled out our sleeping pads and read and talked in the sunshine. A through-hiker named Nocello came through and had lunch, and two other hikers came in as well. We sat around talking with them. Nocello had just had a re-supply, and we heard the story about the guy who killed and roasted a rabbit the night before, even though everyone had just feasted on pizza. Nocello told all of us to go to college - several times. Later that afternoon, Lizard, Sailor, and Thin Mint stopped in and stayed the night. We talked about plans for college and hiking the trail. They told us about some of the games they played with other hikers along the trail, like Glasses. They asked us to tell some hikers named Six String, Disco, and Blue Sky their beards were coming in nicely, if we ran into them the next day. It was well after dark when we unrolled our sleeping bags and bunked down for the night.
Day Six was our last day, and my day to lead again. We started our 3.5-mile hike uphill from the shelter to the Roan Highlands. When we reached the trail to Grassy Ridge, we met three hikers coming down. “Your beards are coming in nicely,” we told them, and they flipped out. Turns out they were Six String, Disco and Blue Sky. “Those guys got us,” they said. It was pretty funny. We left our packs along the trail and hiked up to Grassy Ridge, the highest point of our expedition. The view was magnificent. After putting on our backpacks, we continued along the ridge toward Carver’s Gap, stopping along the way to enjoy the views from each summit. At one point we pulled out our map, and using the view, we were able to trace our route almost all the way to the beginning of the expedition. We moved out one last time, and reached the parking lot just as it started to rain, but fortunately our ride back to the school arrived at the same time.
Expedition Eight was one for the books!
I’m from Alabama, and knowing they were hit pretty hard had me worried about my own family. I was hoping that if something had happened to them that someone would be helping there the same way we have been helping here.
I would also like to thank my grandmother for the donation she sent to help with the relief efforts in Johnson County. The Johnson County Ministerial Alliance is collecting financial donations for people who need assistance and we all thank you so much, Granny.
Little things have made a big difference, not just for the people who have suffered, but for all of us as well. We’ve worked together as a team and we’ve brought out the best in ourselves. We’ve given some hope and joy to the people who needed help and it has given us all a heartwarming feeling to be able to contribute.
On April 30th we went to Hiltons, Virginia to listen to some good old-fashioned bluegrass music. The Carter Family Fold, a performance space for bluegrass music, was built by A.P Carter’s granddaughter to honor his dying wish. A native of Appalachia, and a fervent lover of its traditions and music, Carter traveled extensively through the mountains, amassing a still-legendary archive of recordings of folk and bluegrass music. Later, he along with his wife Sara and sister-in-law Maybelle, originated the singing group The Carter Family, and ensured their immortal status as the first family of bluegrass music.
Upon arriving at The Fold, we toured A.P. Carter’s house, where a gentleman told us the story of the family, and the home. Because Johnny Cash married Maybelle’s daughter June Carter, his rocking chair sits in the living room of the family home and many of us sat in it and had our pictures taken - a highlight of my night. When we finished the tour, it was time for supper: a sandwich for man and beast alike. My sandwich had egg salad, tuna salad, lettuce, tomato, mayo, chips, smoked chicken salad, and peanut butter and jelly, all on one sandwich. It was surprisingly good, and the dog that showed up and cleaned my plate, thought so too.
Around seven, we all went inside the Carter Family Fold to have a good time, listen to the music, dance a little, or just watch. Within the first few minutes of being inside, I found myself wanting to buy a hat to remember the occasion, so I did. When the music started, I overheard David ask Rachel and Erin to dance, but we did not know how to clog, so that didn’t happen right away. Around the fourth song I found myself out on the dance floor showing off my two left feet, but I was not alone, several of my classmates were out there with me. Because none of us knew what we were doing, a kind lady named Marie became our dance instructor, and showed us the basics of how to clog and dance to Cotton Eyed Joe, which was so cool!
When the night was over, and we had made it back to campus, it was close to midnight. It was a long day and night, but well worth being tired. We all agreed it was a great experience, very fun and very entertaining. My favorite part was watching the cloggers and being taught how to dance. The music was spectacular, and since the following day was my birthday I considered it my party at The Fold. This was truly an unforgettable experience.
On April 16 and 17, FMA hosted its annual Patriots’ Day Celebration, honoring the men of Lexington and Concord in 1775, as well as others who have courageously participated in furthering individual freedom.
People began trickling in a couple of days before the event, and by Saturday afternoon,
On April 16 and 17, FMA hosted its annual Patriots’ Day Celebration, honoring the men of Lexington and Concord in 1775, as well as others who have courageously participated in furthering individual freedom.
People began trickling in a couple of days before the event, and by Saturday afternoon,
April 16 , around forty people, including students and staff, had gathered. Around 3:00 p.m., Mr. Kevin told the story of the battles of Lexington and Concord, and then everyone had a chance to shoot a replica musket.
Afterward we set up tables for dinner, cranked homemade ice cream, and at 5:00 p.m. Ronn Neff, our wonderful emcee, called everyone inside to say grace and enjoy a delicious meal prepared by the hard-working kitchen crew. After dinner, FMA staff and students moved fast to clean up in order to be ready for Ken Robbins’ keynote speech. Using experiences from his own life, he clearly communicated his concerns about our current political situation and made suggestions for alternatives.
Following Mr. Robbins’ speech, Mr. Kevin and Ms. Patricia presented The Lexington and Concord Awards. One of the recipients wasn’t there, but one of them was Mr. Robbins’ mother Anne Cleveland, and it was wonderful to see her face when her name was called.
To finish up the night, there was an interesting panel discussion, where five people addressed the way in which they “draw the line” in their own lives regarding individual freedom vs. political interference. This was followed by ice cream and delicious apple and colonial pies.
The next morning, Andrew, Rachel, Stephanie, David, Brent, William, and I presented the papers we had prepared from ideas presented in our daily History class that we had been writing and practicing for several weeks. Around 2:00 p.m., most people had departed and we had our last dance class with Mr. Ronn at 3:00 p.m. He had given us several dance lessons over the preceding days, and we had learned the waltz, the foxtrot, and the swing. I loved learning how to dance, and my favorite was the swing because the guys spin the girls a lot!
Sunday evening we all dressed up and put our social skills to the test with an evening of dance, visiting, and special refreshments. It was hard to believe the weekend had come and gone so fast! I had a great time learning about the history and ideas behind the FMA celebration of Patriots’ Day, more about personal freedom, and, especially, my first formal dance.
While not everyone agreed, the following ideas were selected, through popular vote, by the students as the most important ideas learned at Freedom Mountain Academy this year.
“Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” —Jesus
To truly better myself I have to know the truth about myself. This applies to habits I have developed, because if I don’t know the truth I will continue to be a “slave” to my bad habits. Once I confront the truth about my habits, I can “set myself free of them.”
The Six Stoic Virtues:
My word is my bond.
My word is my bond.
I limit my desires.
I practice thrift.
I practice non-complaint.
I practice mercy.
We learned the Stoic virtues in History class, and after pondering them I have found that they have a quality I find appealing. If I practice these virtues, life’s problems won’t seem so large anymore. If I limit my desires and practice thrift, right there my financial problems are solved. If I practice mercy, I won’t hold grudges against people I don’t like. If I seek good hard work and practice non-complaint, then my work will not be something I try to avoid. These ideas will help me in life, and keep me from getting into trouble.
The Virtue of Detachment
This is a simple yet powerful idea. It teaches me not to react or talk back immediately after something is said or done to me that I don’t like. Using detachment I can learn to restrain myself by first acknowledging how I feel, instead of trying to deny it, by asking myself, “What do I feel about this,” and “What do I want to do?” After accepting how I feel and what I want to do in the moment, I discipline myself to ask, “Is it right,” “Will it help anyone,” and “Is it the best that I can do?” If the answer to any of these questions is no, I must choose to do something else. Using this virtue will help me overcome the temptation to engage in impulsive reactions and will help me avoid conflict.
While at FMA, I’ve learned to look into the future instead of just focusing on the present. As the school year draws to a close, I find myself asking, “What’s next?” Sure, it’s easy to know what I’m doing near at the end of the 2010-2011 school year, but after that it is more of an unanswered question. After asking around, I picked up a few ideas from the other students, and then thought to myself, “Okay, now what do I want?”
Here are a few things my fellow students and I are planning for the future:
Morgan is planning to get a job, save money to visit Italy, and find and buy her own car. (I recommended a Chevy. They’re good.)
Erin plans to study medicine and become a surgeon. She also plans to hike the AT with her family.
James is going to work as an auto mechanic and save money to buy his own house, and to prepare for unexpected situations.
Brent either wants to work for Sony or in surf shop this summer, and eventually to hike the AT.
Stephanie is aiming to graduate from college, build a stronger relationship with her family, and go camping often.
Will wants to go the New York Military Academy, and then John Jay School of Criminal Justice to become a policeman or detective.
Andrew wants to earn a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Management, get a job as a game warden or park ranger, and hike the AT.
David wants to graduate from college with a minor in Psychology, but hasn’t made up his mind about a major because he doesn’t yet know what he wants to do after college.
Kelsey wants to graduate from college, buy her own house, and write historical fiction.
Rachel wants to become a street performer, complete the junior Iditarod, go to medical school, and become an Ob/Gyn.
Last but not least, I want to summit Denali, go to veterinary college, work as a vet, and visit foreign countries.
All of the students’ objectives are possible, and I wish them all well in reaching them. Also Erin, Andrew, and Brent, call me before you start hiking the AT. I just might want to join.
My year at FMA was a good one. I learned a lot about myself and others; our strengths and our weaknesses, but overall I enjoyed my time here.
When I first got here, I was shy, but over time I overcame it. The first three days were a big change. Getting up at 5:30 a.m. for our first class at 6:15 a.m. was not the best. But I managed, and even to this day, I’ve never been late getting up. Close, maybe, but not late. I learned to establish a daily routine fairly early.
On the third day, we left for expedition. Oh, man, I did not want that day to come. But it did, and the eleven of us set out. The expedition was fun, and I learned a lot about myself, and my tent partner Brent. I also learned that after six days in the wilderness, chicken never tasted so good!
The year went on. There were more expeditions, and more chicken. I learned that my abilities were greater than I had given myself credit for. But when I got used to FMA, I started to slack off, and didn’t focus on my work. My homework started to slip, and I started to gain weekend work hours. Rapidly. The highest number of hours I accumulated was forty-nine. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t think I could accumulate that many within two weeks. My actions brought me the consequence of Academic Room Time (ART). This was an extreme let down for me. I had to work outside, and missed out on classes. In the afternoon I had to copy notes and keep up on the homework. This went on until I worked off my hours. Slowly I achieved my goal, but I still had the idea that doing homework was beneath me. And I slipped again, and ended up back on ART. Mr. Dan came to me to talk about it, but I yelled at him, I was so upset. I didn’t want to listen, but he let me yell, and after that day of yelling at him, I remember him saying “This is all to help you learn.”
Again, I achieved my way out of my room, and now I’m doing well enough, actually better than that, I haven’t missed an assignment, and I’m having the best time out of ART. I have achieved my goal, and I’m finishing the year out of my room. I gained so much. I have the willingness to actually do my homework, and it’s so important that I keep this habit.
I experienced both sides of everyone here, good and bad. I learned what some people can handle and what some people can’t. I learned I can’t always be around people, but when I am alone, I can’t stand it. Sometimes I have to rely on others, and my friends here will look after me. We all have our limits, but we can get beyond them, and even though we get ticked off at each other, all of us get over it and are one huge group that cares about each other. I learned so much about people, and gradually the mask I had on when I came here slowly came off. Now I can be myself, while also holding on to some things that are private. Overall I have learned that I can be a member of what I call my family of FMA.
On expeditions, I learned more about myself. I learned things that I never even considered about myself. I learned I had strength I never knew. It was amazing to know, coming from the city, that I could go out for six days with a pack on my back, and hike The Appalachian Trail, The Iron Mountain Trail, and The Virginia Creeper Trail. I gained muscle, and I lost weight, and I learned that even when I feel like giving up on something, I can put my mind to it and finish, and achieve my goal. That applies to all things in my life, and I won’t ever forget my sticking to the hike, and not giving up, because that required a true strength that I always had, but never used. I discovered it, and I am stronger than I was before I came to FMA.
Over the school year at FMA, we have watched movies almost every weekend. I have surveyed my fellow classmates and here are the three movies that emerged as the favorites.
The Patriot is a heart-warming movie, directed by and starring Mel Gibson, set during the Revolutionary War, which shows that sometimes freedom is worth the fight. Benjamin Martin, played by Gibson, tries to keep his family out of the war, but when his oldest son joins the militia, Martin gets dragged into the war trying to protect him. When one of his other sons is killed, Martin exacts revenge on the killer. This movie was chosen because it was a well-done war movie, and an enjoyable presentation of how our nation won its independence from England.
Cinderella Man is an inspiring movie that takes place during the great depression. James Braddock, the lead, is a boxer who risks life and limb to get to the top, so he can feed his family. This movie was chosen because it illustrates what a man could do, without breaking the law, when he becomes desperate enough.
Braveheart takes place in medieval times and is a realistic portrayal of the Scottish rebellion against British tyranny. William Wallace, the lead, played by Mel Gibson, exacts revenge upon the British for killing his wife, and oppressing his fellow countrymen. Some students loved this movie, because, well, they found Mel Gibson to be extremely attractive, while others chose it because it showed resistance to tyranny. The main reason it was chosen though, is because it had an exciting storyline.
I surveyed the students to find out which three books they enjoyed reading the most this year. I ended up having to choose four because of contrasting opinions.
Red Sky at Morning, by Richard Bradford
We read this in class recently as one of our literature books, and it had an overwhelming majority of the votes. It follows Josh, a seventeen-year-old boy who grows into a man during the course of one year. The story follows him as he moves from Alabama to New Mexico, and up to the time he joins the army. We all felt sorrow for him when his father died and his mother lost her mind, and we felt frustration with the leech-like family friend who came to stay and never left. Yet, everyone laughed out loud when Josh and his good friend drank too much on New Year’s Eve, and try to survive the “Earthcake.” This story is altogether wonderful and has a strong message of growth, change, and maturity. Brent told me it was, “An enjoyable book that showed how change is necessary,” while Morgan found it to be, “A touching and exciting story,” and Stephanie said it was, “An eye opener for how to adapt to change.”
Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen
This book has been passed around from student to student. Not everyone has read it, so I will try not to give away too much to future readers. The story is about an elderly man named Jacob, who recalls a period back when he was young and working with a circus. The story moves back and forth in time, beginning when Jacob first jumps aboard the circus train, and is a story of true love and lasting relationships. I found it to be enjoyable and entertaining and hard to put down, and Stephanie enjoyed it because she, “Learned the value of looking back at your life.”
Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
This nearly timeless book, written in the form of a diary, has been read for over three decades, and is still fascinating. As the New York Times review stated it is, “An extraordinary work…a document of horrifying reality.” It is the story of how a life can be destroyed. The story opens with the narrator venting about a boy who she says she is, or was, in love with, and it follows her daily life for a period of a year, as she goes from being a happy, normal, teenage girl, into a downward spiral of drug use and the horrifying aftermath. Stephanie found it “eye-opening,” while David said it was ultimately, ”An inspiring novel that showed me what path not to take.”
The Night Trilogy, by Brent Weeks
This book was listed as a favorite by most of the guys here at FMA, and I felt that I had to at least look at it. I have not fully read these three books, but they seem like they would be the kind I could not easily put down. From what I can tell, the trilogy is about a man and his journey as one of the “night angels,” a group of assassins with magical abilities. James said it, “Hooked me from start to finish,” and Brent, who introduced the books to the FMA students, said it was, “Very enjoyable to read.” David reports that it was “Long and good, and while most awesome books are short, this was a great mix between action and storyline.”
Last Friday, we took the day off and rode the Virginia Creeper Trail. Bike riding was definitely amazing. The trail was beautiful.
We left FMA at around 9:15 a.m., and drove to Damascus, Virginia to rent bikes, and get a ride up the mountain to Whitetop Station. Our class had been there before, but that time there was three feet of snow on the ground, it was about six degrees, and we were hiking. What a difference a few months makes.
From Whitetop Station we began our easy down-hill, 17-mile ride alongside Whitetop Laurel Creek, over bridges and through beautiful forests. We took our time so we wouldn’t make it back to the school or work chores! We made several stops along the way, and visited some of our old campsites.
We arrived at The Creeper Trail Café for lunch, where Mr. Kevin and Ms. Patricia met us, and gave us each $5.00 for an extra treat from the café. Most of us sampled their world-famous chocolate cake.
From there we rode the rest of the way into Damascus, after a short stop along the creek to skip rocks. It was fun, and beautiful, and I enjoyed the sunshine, but I was also glad to see my bed that night.
On May 11, 2011 thirteen men and women, myself included, went out on a three day solo expedition with no food, but with the knowledge of what we could forage. Each of us had determined, before we left, what we wanted to learn about ourselves. For me, Solo was a chance to find out that I could be alone and still function.
That morning we had our regular History class, followed by a big breakfast of eggs, potatoes and sausage, with coffee cake, granola and yogurt. Then we dressed in as many clothes as we could wear, and wedged ourselves into two cars. With our hiking sticks, and our daypacks containing five matches, fishing line and two hooks, we were pretty hot and squished in the cars, and glad to get out.
We arrived at the Gentry Creek trailhead, and immediately began looking for something to carry water in. I found an old glass beer bottle. Then we hiked for about two miles in the sunshine, until I arrived at the trail to “the cave,” my Solo camp spot.
After “dressing down,” I went down to the creek to search for a fishing hole. I spent the whole first day down by the water, staying calm, cool and collected. That night, however, I had to tell myself about five billion times that there were no snakes in my shelter, before I finally persuaded myself to get in, get comfy, and fall asleep.
I woke up the next morning around 8:30 a.m., and got dressed warmly because it was chilly, and then headed down to the creek. I started making a rock bridge across the water so I wouldn’t get wet when I crossed the creek to go see my check-in partner, Erin, but I ended up falling in up to my knees anyway. At 9:30, I saw Erin, gave her a hug and talked for a short while about our shelters and what food we had found.
The sky was blue and the sun was shining brightly enough to keep me warm, so I spent the day checking my fishing line, and reading Sole Survivor, a book about a man whose wife and daughters were killed in a plane crash, and he is trying to find out what happened. At around 7:00 p.m. I had finished the book, and decided to go to bed.
The next morning I checked in with Erin again, and then returned to my camp spot, enjoying the scenery. Back at camp, I settled down in a sunlit spot of grass surrounded by violets and finished my chapter summaries for The Fountainhead. It was a great sunny warm day, and I was in my shelter and asleep by 8:30.
On departure day, I packed up the few belongings I had and cleared out my fire pit. I waited until 11:15 a.m. to begin hiking, and spent the time reminiscing about my Solo experience, reflecting on what I had learned about myself mentally, physically, and spiritually. Living on violets, fiddlehead ferns, and trout for three days made it easier to think clearly, and showed me that I should be grateful for all that I have.