Posted by: Stefan Anderson | November 30, 2015

“I Love This!” ~ Solo Camping

Amy R.~This blog entry is brought to you from the electronic portfolio of CS11 student Amy R. Conserve School electronic portfolios connect student experiences to the school’s learning goals. Amy is from The Dalles, Oregon where she attends Horizon Christian School.~

“I Love This!”

Conserve School Learning Goal: After completing a semester at Conserve School, a student demonstrates the skills necessary to feel comfortable and confident in the outdoors, both alone and with others.

Before solos, I was pretty nervous. I had never been alone in the woods before and I wasn’t sure that I would be able to do everything that I would need to do. I had only started a fire by myself once, and this was the only source of heat I was going to have on solos. I was also slightly terrified of a ferocious bear meandering into my camp and that I would have to use my own strength to fight it off. With many crazy fears like this, I packed my bag and headed into the deep, dark woods.

When I was dropped off at my solo sight on Big Donahue Lake, I immediately set up my tent and my hammock. I explored my sight for a bit and took a few pictures. I had a great view of the lake and a bog. I collected some firewood and I decided to make an honest effort at getting a fire started. With the help of a fire starter, 12 matches,a lighter, and some birch bark, I was able to get a decent fire started. It took me a while to get the fire to the point where I didn’t have to constantly be throwing birch bark in, but I eventually got the hang of it. As I was heating up some water to make hot chocolate, I felt very accomplished with myself. I was able to start a fire by myself, stay warm, and have some nice hot chocolate. As the delicious drink warmed my hands, (and my stomach) I looked into the fire and thought of the amazing experience that I was having. I even exclaimed to the trees “I LOVE THIS!”

I thought of the friendships that I had made during my time here, I thought of all of the experiences I had had and how much I had changed since the first day I stepped on campus. I felt an amazing sense of peace as I looked into my fire. I was so excited that I was finally getting the opportunity to get out and explore, to get away from routine, and to refresh and cleanse my spirit. As it became dark, I put out my fire, put away my bear barrel, and slid into my warm sleeping bag. I took a little time to jot down my thoughts in my journal and then I finished the book “Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway. In this book, the old man talks about how he could “do anything if he wanted to badly enough.” As I was reading this, I thought about how I had made my fire, set up my tent, and how I was spending the night alone in the woods. Before coming to Conserve, I don’t think that I would have been able to do these things alone, but as I lay in my tent, my fears began to fade and I was able to clear my mind and reflect on my time, both past and future, at Conserve.

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing” – Helen Keller

~Amy R., Conserve School Semester 11

Conserve School provides a semester-long immersion for high school students in environmental studies and outdoor activities that deepens their love of nature, reinforces their commitment to conservation, and equips them to take meaningful action as environmental stewards. Thanks to the generosity of Conserve School’s friends and its founder James Lowenstine all accepted students receive significant scholarship support.

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