April 21, 2014
Bags packed and loaded, the day had finally come to board the bus for the last time as Trekkers students! Such a bittersweet time for many… We circled up for a quick whistle check, snapped a few photos, said our goodbyes and hit the road. It was a good day’s drive, but spirits were high and plenty of good conversation helped make the ride go by fast.
After arriving, Lloyd and Suzanne from Stump Sprouts came out to greet us as we unloaded and got settled. Views of the beautiful mountain scenery were breathtaking, not to mention the awesome weather in the high 60’s! No snow in sight either which was a promising sign for our solo adventures ahead.
With some time to kill before dinner, we all went out and played a few games on the front lawn which included one of Emily’s favorites – Captain’s Coming, as well as a few intense rounds of Birdie on a Perch. Rumor had it that Lloyd and Suzanne made some great food, and let me tell you, they did not disappoint! We feasted on delicious lasagna, heavenly zucchini from their garden, and some yummy coleslaw.
After dinner, we got right into activities for the evening. Reflecting on the last four years, Don asked us all to come up a book title that appropriately described our journey. We took turns sharing around the circle and explained our reasoning behind our titles. Then, pushing back two more years, we asked everyone to think of a significant person, place, thing, or event that happened to them in every year from the time they were thirteen up until now. Each year was marked on a large piece of paper posted around the room and with markers we all anonymously filled in our own truths. Taking turns, we read off all milestones year by year and then looked for commonalities between them. Through this activity, it was apparent just how monumental these past years have been for us all.
April 22, 2014
It was a quiet morning before Don rolled all of our sleepy bums outta bed with the wake up song and we quickly followed our noses downstairs to find french toast and bacon awaiting us prepared by Lloyd and Suzanne. Getting an early start on the day, we all set off to our sites to set up our tents. Kalob, Sienna and Ben all bravely set up tarp shelters, not deterred by the predicted rainy forecast ahead..
We gathered back for lunch, and then went outside to stretch our legs with some Elbow tag and Lemonade! Joining back for some discussion back in our circle, our main theme today was transitions. Talking about where we all are currently in our lives, where we want to go and what we want to leave behind.
After suiting up in our non-cotton and packing our bags, we chowed down on some delicious mexican food. For some choosing to fast it would be the last meal for the next 36 hours!
Our assignment after dinner was to find a stick and bring it to the circle. Each stick was to represent something symbolic in our lives that we wanted to leave behind as we entered our solos, and entered adulthood and then everyone tossed their stick into the fire one by one.
Finally, Don passed around a box that had everyone’s name in it. We all discreetly pulled out a name other than our own and this was the person who we were to either find or make a gift for when out on our solos. This gift was to represent the symbolism behind the burning of that person’s stick and their transition into adulthood.
The time had finally come! We got out our torches, strapped on our packs, gave a few hugs and hit the trail. Everyone was dropped off individually to their campsites and Tommy decided to chat it up the whooooole way out to his campsite until he was all alone… Just him and the bears.. I mean birds!
Also, I can’t forget a special shout out to Ben for being born! Happy 18th Birthday! No better way to celebrate than to spend the night by yourself in the woods 😉
April 23, 2014
Today everyone spent the whole day in solo mode. It was a drizzly morning, but I think I can speak for everyone when I say how thankful I was there for no snow. Many spent the day reading, journaling, drawing, napping and just thinking… Don and Emily dropped off tree mail throughout the day and made sure everyone had enough food, water, and most importantly, TP!
The latter half of the day the wind picked up and the temperature dropped. Many spent the evening hibernating in their sleeping bags, staying warm with extra layers. Raegan packed a gazillion hand warmers and used those to keep the bite off through the night.
April 24, 2014
We awoke to sunny skies for the last few hours of our solos. Around 8am, Don rounded up the troops and we all packed up to head back to the lodge. By the noise level, someone might have thought the group had been soloing for the past month.. It was sooo loud! Everyone was craving some serious human interaction, especially Tommy.
Once everyone had a chance to shower, Lloyd and Suzanne treated us to a hearty brunch of eggs and home fries. Those who hadn’t gathered all their supplies from their campsite had a chance to go back and pack up. A few of us rolled out the tents and tarps to dry on the front lawn and relaxed in the sun for a bit.
When we all felt human again, we started our debrief and reflecting process. First off, everyone had the chance to share about their individual solo experience and to give their gift to their chosen person.
In our long circle, every one had the opportunity to share kind words about their fellow Trekker family members that they have come to know so well over the past six years. Tears were shed and many laughs were had throughout the day. We took several breaks, including one for dinner, and by the end of the night everyone was both physically and emotionally exhausted. Everyone eagerly welcomed the comfy mattresses and cozy lodging back at Stump Spouts, thankful to be out of their tents in the cold!
April 25, 2014
Rise and shine! Don sang the wake up song for the last time and we got a start on the day. One final breakfast and then back upstairs to clean the lodge, pack, and load up Daisy before our closing meeting circle.
Each student was presented with a certificate of completion of their Trekkers experience, along with a whistle which had the words “Live In The Moment” and “Trekkers Class of 2014” engraved. We did the final student evaluations then Don closed with a few last stories and words of wisdom.
After saying a quick thank you and farewell to Lloyd and Suzanne, we started our journey back to Maine. Some people were pretty exhausted still from not sleeping much out in the woods, so they got to nap on the bus ride. Others read, while some chatted. DJ Fergie played some music too and we got a final dance party in. At the Kennebunk rest stop, Don couldn’t resist the sweet lyrics of Katy Perry and hopped in back with Zack and Ben.
Before any of us knew it, we were pulling into the Oceanside parking lot. Such a whirlwind expedition! I want to give a huge shout out to all the students for taking part of this incredible journey and for letting us leaders be a part of your lives. You are an exceptional group of individuals and I feel truly honored to have been a part of this week. Also, thank you to our awesome leaders – Don, Emily, Sarah, and Stu for all your time, ongoing hard work and commitment to this group!
Peace & love!