Back again? Still interested in the Day of Solo Exploration?
Are you ready to enter with me into the dark woods of shifty shadows and skeletal trees, invisible strings, and deep padded moss the colour of
I’ll warn you:
There’s even an almost-surprise almost-attack by a creature of great size and wingèd-ness!
There goes the spoiler alert. That’s pretty much the most exciting thing that happened. Y’all can stop reading now, if you’re in it for the action. For all you peeps who are interested in scenery: read on.
The first step to Solo Adventure Time? Get Off The Island.
How to Get Off An Island
Since I have neither private aircraft or personal aircraft, option 1 was scratched off the list. Despising the wet and cold crossed off #3, and despite multiple attempts at thinking great teleporty thoughts whilst spinning fast with my eyes closed, Option 4 got me nowhere at all, so I opted for the Boating Strategy. I’ve seriously got to work on my teleporting skillz.
So I pulled out one of the kayaks and headed to the lifejacket shack, where I was startled out of my skin when I swung the big door open and saw flurried pycho shadows explode into life above me in the darkness. Bat, bird or beast, I didn’t know but I yelped and did a jib and they squacked and fluttered until they made their escape and I could grab my lifejacket in peace.
My goodness. I do not like birds.
I put on my lifejacket and a smile and zipped across the straight and around the corner to a nice nook in The Other Island.
Bird Brains avoided & Destination reached, lickety split!
Since I didn’t really know how one goes about Exploring Alone, started at the start: the “Walking Trail.”
It was a wee bit overgrown.
But I rolled up my pant legs anyways and ditched the gumboots for flip flops, because it was turning into a really hot day. Off I went, tramping up the bank and into the bush…
and straight into
Being the ultimate problem solver that I am, however, I selected a long stick and continued with my expedition, brandishing it in front of me as a wand, gracefully conducting away any unseen webs before they hit me in the mouth.
Feeling slightly ridiculous but moreso triumphant, I clambered up the bank and followed the flagging tape
deciding to keep the whole Spiderwebs Stick thing just between me and myself.
I found the image of me approaching the uninhabited island with a long stick outretched before me a funny sight for a pathetic reason.
No need to mention it to nyone, right Anna? Right. It might just ruin your image of intrepid solo explorer, right? Haha.
But really. Spiderwebs! They ARE icky!
It led me to a forest of dark trees and shadows galore. The black trunks of the spruce were like zebras, creating en eery effect as my eyes flicked in and out focus, the tall lines and sunny patches playing games with depth perception.
I may have looked over my shoulder once or twice. (i.e. constantly.)
I knew if I were ever to encounter a shrieking ROUS or an attack of tiny rabid bats, it would here. I could imagine the headlines already:
BC Girl Maimed on Solo Hike in Manitoba
Unaccompanied Cook Attacked by Giant Bird on Next-Door Island
Or, my personal favourite:
ROUS’s Make first Canadian Appearance, Young Woman Dies as Result
(Westley, Where Were You??)
As I sank nearly to my ankles in the soft, cool moss, I wondered what kind of larva might be living in it. I steeled myself for the worst but upon closer inspection there as not an insect to be seen.
I paused to try and capture the amazing green. We don’t have moss like this in BC, where I’m from. Only down south. Or maybe up North.
(Just not much in the middle, where I live.)
I grinned at all my silliness and busied myself by being a total girl and taking a million selfies in the woods.
Again, I agreed with myself that I would delete 90% and never show the public proof of my self-absorbed moment.
(I betray myself again.)
It was then I heard the giant whoosh-whoosh-whoosh of Something above me arriving in my direction.
I froze. The hairs on the back of my neck were made quite uncomfortable.
Two thoughts appeared in my head simultaneously:
1. There is something above me.
I knew it was big
2. I think I am trespassing.
Every story I have ever heard about Bald Eagles attack small children or kayakers crashed ininvited through my brain, accompanied by some fleeting sneaky thoughts about giant bloodthirsty bats and images of ugly talons flashed through my mind.
Nope, not me!
I sucked in my breath and looked to my right.
And I saw it hover briefly in the air before settling in a branch high above me.
The biggest hawk I have ever seen.
I thought it was a great horned owl at first, it was so big and grey
with a wingspan as wide as mine (or bigger?)
but I have never seen such a small head on a big body, with beady little eyes and a sharp, fierce face.
It watched me.
I watched it.
Then I did what any good-mannered girl would do: I softly said hello…
Before pulling a Teddy Roosevelt and picking up a big stick,
still speaking softly, of course.
Because if I were a bird, I’d truly be a chicken.
(and I had discarded my spider-branch to fully embrace the selfies.)
He came closer.
Having identified the creature as one at least naitve to North America (no ROUS’s this go around), my worries faded (slightly) but my curiousity exploded. I
took steps for a better view.
Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh.
He was not stealthy, his great wings alerting the whole forest that he moved. Tree by tree, he came closer.
I looked at him, somewhere between mildly concerned and half-terrified.
He was a REALLY Big Bird!
We chatted. It was a one-way conversation.
I walked one way.
He followed, clearly curious to see this stranger in his yard.
I turned to follow him. He Whoosh-Whooshed a few trees away, blending perfectly into the shadows.
I know you’re in there, Bird. I can’t see you…but you can see me!
Please don’t eat me.
And I watched the woods; my turn to be silent.
He refused to come out of his retreat and I decided to continue on my journey, leaving his neighbourhood in peace.
Unscarred & Safe!
…Or so I thought. When I reached for that latch on the lifejacket shed again..but we won’t talk about that.
Oh, how I Dislike Birds!
Heart attack material, that’s what they are…
All in all, everything else turned out a pretty anticlimactic after my encounter of the fiercesome stare-down with Mr. Hawk.
I continued on my way, finding fun forest details to look at and views of a lake (that looked just like a lake), taking a few more selfies and eating my peanut butter and jam on a nice mossy bank on the other side of the island. And I decided that Solo Adventuring really isn’t that bad at all.
So here’s your ridiculous Chronicler, signing off
after telling all my secrets and taking too much of your time.