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.