Serendipitous Disconnect

Serendipitous Disconnect

Ella Keenan – University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire

Rachel Medaugh – University of Miami

Joel Wilner – Middlebury College

 

“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after”- The Hobbit

Looking out from Camp 8 (Photo Credit: Scott Braddock)

Looking out from Camp 8 (Photo Credit: Scott Braddock)

An important part of our search was the time we spent at Camp 8. There’s something special about that single roomed building in the middle of nowhere. It’s not the fact that four JIRPers were sent up Mt. Moore for the seemingly useless purpose of radioing between camps that can’t actually hear each other, nor the white mold growing near your head while you sleep, nor the creepy voodoo doll of “Lucifer” hanging above the identically named furnace. And it’s certainly not the 70mph winds knocking you off your feet if you ever feel the need to venture outside. Although all of those things do add a certain uniqueness to the experience, there is something more profound that makes Camp 8 special.

Camp 8 is riddled with the reflections of years of JIRPers who had nothing but time to sit and think. Here is the place where you lose and find yourself, where you break from your usual existence to put on the cloak of another. Whether it be breaking from your inhibitions and sitting on the roof in 60 plus mph winds, drinking hot Tang in an age-old JIRP tradition, or basking in the glory of the view from Mt. Moore, not worried about how you’ll get down in those 60mph winds or other worldly obscurities. You can be happy for a few breaths because you just feel free, there in the moment.

An important part of our search was the time we spent at Camp 8. There’s something special about that single roomed building in the middle of nowhere. It’s not the fact that four JIRPers were sent up Mt. Moore for the seemingly useless purpose of radioing between camps that can’t actually hear each other, nor the white mold growing near your head while you sleep, nor the creepy voodoo doll of “Lucifer” hanging above the identically named furnace. And it’s certainly not the 70mph winds knocking you off your feet if you ever feel the need to venture outside. Although all of those things do add a certain uniqueness to the experience, there is something more profound that makes Camp 8 special.

Camp 8 is riddled with the reflections of years of JIRPers who had nothing but time to sit and think. Here is the place where you lose and find yourself, where you break from your usual existence to put on the cloak of another. Whether it be breaking from your inhibitions and sitting on the roof in 60 plus mph winds, drinking hot Tang in an age-old JIRP tradition, or basking in the glory of the view from Mt. Moore, not worried about how you’ll get down in those 60mph winds or other worldly obscurities. You can be happy for a few breaths because you just feel free, there in the moment.

Ella and Rachel at the top of Mt. Moore (Photo Credit: Scott Braddock)

Ella and Rachel at the top of Mt. Moore (Photo Credit: Scott Braddock)

On the moon, the Apollo astronauts had only each other and the distant view of their home. All of human experience lay before their eyes, and from a heavenly post they calmly observed. But they were not isolated from humankind; rather, they achieved fuller human experience in their shared serendipitous disconnect.

Camp 8 crew enjoying the sunset from the roof.  (Photo Credit: Scott Braddock)

Camp 8 crew enjoying the sunset from the roof.  (Photo Credit: Scott Braddock)

Here too, at Camp 8, we leave behind our society: the friends we’ve made and have grown close to on the Icefield. We may simply gaze upon the land where we’ve grown close to one another, separated by a ferocious void of wind and space. As we few at Camp 8 support each other in our isolation, we grow closer as human beings. When we return to the rest of JIRP from Camp 8, itself a microcosm of how JIRP relates to the rest of the world, we will return with the knowledge that splendid remoteness is as essential to survival as food, water, or air.

  Last night at Camp 8 (Photo Credit: Ella Keenan)

 

Last night at Camp 8 (Photo Credit: Ella Keenan)