NHVSP Update 6
During this second leg of our journey, we transitioned from adapting to the rhythm of trail life to focusing more heavily on our studies: learning survival skills, reading and writing poetry, natural history, and getting to know the trees of the area through detailed observation and sketches. At the last year-round homestead we passed on one road, we met a hunter, who gave us a coyote that we learned to skin. We learned to coal-burn spoons by taking a “spoon blank” — a rough piece of spruce, at first — and then using a coal to burn a bowl into it, and then carving out around the bowl.
We learned the story of the King of the North and the Queen of the South, and the constant back-and-forth they have throughout the winter.
Later, we went out for personal solo time: we built fires, wrote in our journals, and cooked meat. We met with a logger, Lawrence A. “Tweeter” Felion, a venerable man with over sixty years of experience logging. We interviewed him about his experiences logging in the Vermont woods, and about the changes he’s witnessed in the forests and how logging takes place.
We did shelter group solos, when we went out in groups of three and built and spent the night in lean-to shelters. To get to the spot where we did our shelter solos, we first had to learn to test the soundness of ice.
After we got back on the trail, we climbed Mount Abraham. It was pretty wild on the peak, with the wind blowing the snow so hard that we could barely see, and the sign at the peak unreadable, covered with several inches of rime ice. We skied down the Sugarbush ski resort — that was a lot of fun! At camp that night, we learned to make snow-cream — ice cream made using snow. Very delicious!
Writings of thanks
Ode to Maxiglide:
On days with sticky snow
I feel like there’s nowhere to go
Skis are quite slow
And take much energy to go
When hope is lost
When time stands still
No one else can we turn to
Makes a very nice ride
To my left leather glove, on its having gotten badly burned when I attempted to dry it when I was very tired during my shelter solo:
Glove — tool — strong and malleable and warm —
You gave for me
You suffered loss, once a whole glove
of a pair
“Lesser” — whatever that means.
You kept my hand warm to-day
on the mountain.
Is that not
Greatness? A task accomplished
by a tool
I do not know how to make,
hold me warm
and protect me.
Glove, for what did you suffer this loss?
For mindlessness, for impatience
For my not taking sufficient care —
I am sorry.
Not for to break you, to
then be reforged
as a book rebound, but
I will patch you, when I reach the right time
Duct tape, and
and will you still be “lesser”, Greatness?
Ode to skis:
Praise be to my skis!
My glorious chariot of the mountainside!
You triple the speed, quadruple the fun!
Ode to the Stove:
Praise be to the stove
Without you we survive but with you we live.
You are an unruly burden but the energy we sacrifice is returned tenfold every evening.
Containing our essential fire, you give us its heat while protecting us from sparks and smoke
A surface to cook on is merely a bonus.
Praise be to the stove.
Love Poem to Fire:
We first met when I was young,
and you were introduced as a strong spirit
with the power to kill.
I was taken by you instantly
because you hold a strength within you
far more powerful than the strengths I hold.
Even at your weakest moments
you are able to find
the place inside me that needs you most
the place that needs your warmth
and your red hot smile.
That’s why I love you,
because no matter what the conditions,
you share your deepest qualities
and I feel your warmth again.
Memories from the leg
The second leg has flown by even faster than the first. I have learned so much from Chris. It was a great experience to build a shelter with a fire and sleep in it with Kerensa and Lotte. We had lots of liveovers to learn about trees. Now Chris has gone and Emily has joined us, I am looking forward to this next leg and can’t wait for spring to come.
There is a great big rootball, and more poles than anyone could ever ask for. After four or five hours of work, we three had a pot of pasta and veggies boiling, and room to curl up for sleep. Now the snow is lightly falling, and the patchy roof is letting some flakes in. But I have no qualms with Mother Nature on a night like this. The long logs are burning blue and bright. There is an incredible feeling of contentment in this camp.
The shelter was exciting, though. It took about seven hours to make. It wasn’t really fantastic looking at first, but it got the job done today, so I guess I’m ok. But I felt like I was in a coffin made out of spruce boughs all night. So that should say something. It was like a triangle open at the apex, very slightly, and without a roof. Well, it had kind of a roof, in some parts. In the part that didn’t need it, so I got snowed on all night. A good night, nonetheless.
when it was naked and no longer looked
like itself, this totally wild
thing looked like nothing real I’d ever
seen It looked most closely
related to zombie animals
in Zelda video
Thanks to Chris, our teacher on this leg! Also, thanks to Leah, who accompanied us for the first five days — it was a pleasure to have you!