by: Emma Brandt
After mid-semester break, it became apparent that we wouldn’t be wearing shorts much longer. Colder nights have necessitated fires roaring in wood stoves, and the water filter has begun to live indoors each night to avoid freezing. A common sight is Arcadians sprinting down the back dock from the sauna for fear that a walk will result in hesitation and the jump into icy cold water won’t happen. Sometimes we need a push!
Coming back from break, we dove right into classes with an Ecology midterm on Wednesday. However, this past week has been kinder to us than last week. With the semester halfway over, our Modern Outdoor Recreation Ethics course has sadly ended, but we have all revived our need to explore and make the most of our remaining four weeks at Arcadia.
Two dedicated students have been braving the frigid water to practice whitewater kayak rolls under the instruction of Will Madison and Kim Covill. Around the yurt village, one can often hear Oscar Wilkerson calling Erin by her last name—“Waters!”—while searching for his t-rescue buddy. Later, the two of them can be heard shouting to one another on Tenderfoot Cove, but we have all come to the conclusion that there is no way of knowing whether they rolled successfully or not; they are simply loud. With the additions of wetsuits and nose plugs, they will likely continue to practice until the lake freezes over.
This past Saturday, Arcadia was deserted because all ten Arcadians were scattered across the Massawepie property on “solos” while Assistant Director Will Madison enjoyed some peace and quiet, sauna time, and a tub of leftover pizza. When we returned Sunday morning, he remarked, “I have never seen the yurt village so quiet!” The solos were challenges by choice. Some people left Friday evening to make it two nights; others brought homework or decided to fast. Drew Felter, however, astonished us all with his unwavering dedication to Leave No Trace principles. Upon forgetting a bear canister, he was forced to perform the life-preserving act of consuming all six extra-long Slim Jims he had brought in addition to his other food: beef jerky and leftover pizza. After his remarkable feat, he realized that he still had the wrappers. Exhausted and slightly nauseated, he piled the wrappers away from camp and left his fate to the bears.
Sunday morning we all appeared back home at 9:30 a.m. sharp for a delicious breakfast prepared by Will—all of us but one. Noticing the empty place at the table, Will remarked, “I’m not worried, yet.” At the end of breakfast, in true Ali fashion, Ali Kostick came dashing into the kitchen, soaked to the waist, and regaled us with her not-so-short story. Amid gasps of laughter, she explained that she had lost track of time, and realizing that three miles would take longer than ten minutes to hike, she had taken a canoe from Gannett. Near the end of her voyage, her paddle abandoned ship, and she had to jump in after it. She then ran to the kitchen, gallon jug of water in hand (her homemade water bottle), with a big grin on her face.
For most of us, Sunday was filled with homework, but four brave individuals went off in search of adventure. Emma Brandt, Ali Kostick, Alyssa LaCoy, and Maggie Jensen hopped onto bikes and headed off to check out Forester, a former Boy Scout base camp. About halfway there, Ali and Emma, biking ahead, turned around to find Maggie examining Garrett’s bike, which Alyssa had been riding. It seemed a piece had broken off the bike, rendering it “unpedalable,” according to Maggie. The group decided to bike/run back to Gannett and canoe the bikes back to Arcadia. On uphills, someone ran the bike, but on downhills, Maggie sat astride it and pushed with her feet in an absurd attempt to replace the pedals. Once at Gannett, the gang decided that the bikes would require separate canoes. Only two bikes fit in a canoe, so Ali and Emma towed one canoe with two bikes while Maggie and Alyssa towed the other two. It made quite the spectacle, prompting a random kayaker to inquire what happened.
All in all, this week was full of “just Arcadia things.” Tune in next week for another update on the lives of Massawepie’s most unpredictable inhabitants.