Last Friday morning brought a nasty surprise for Williams’ Dean of Outside Time, Scott Lewis, who returned from a three-week stay in Hopkins Forest to find that no students were waiting to join him for the scheduled Williams Outing Club trip to Pine Cobble.
Lewis, who checked into our Google Hangout interview by holding his iPhone 5s three feet away from himself and yelling to us that it was “okay if we were running a few minutes late for the hike,” appeared to have several scratches on face, and was wearing a far-too-authentic beaver-fur hat that appeared to move multiple times during the interview.
“Oh, my camping trip?” Lewis asked us, feigning a casual tone. “My scheduled camping trip that was always scheduled to last for three weeks? It was fantastic. No mishaps. My compass worked perfectly the whole time, and I still have my map with me in my bag because it wasn’t stolen by an at-first-charming but ultimately ruthless group of woodland creatures.”
Lewis went on to express “complete shock” that no students had shown up to go hiking with him. “I was waiting in front of Paresky like always and I was just like, ‘where is Joey’––I mean, ‘where are all the students?’ It’s just, he’s usually named––I mean, one of the students, the many students, is usually named Joey,” he told us.
Due to the usual popularity of opportunities to play outside, Lewis concluded that there must be some explanation for the lack of attendance other than a lack of interest. He cited midterms, “the fling in the spring thing you guys always do,” and bad weather as possible reasons that nobody had shown up. “Maybe everyone’s just gone back home or something,” he added, chuckling.
After helping Lewis tune in to NPR on his waterproof camping radio, we gave him a few minutes to grapple with the news that the country is completely shut down. Lewis showed remarkable resilience, making an inspiring pledge to continue hiking every Friday morning with as many students as were interested in joining him via FaceTime from their own separate mountains. When asked whether it would be a challenge to include multiple students in one FaceTime call, Lewis responded that “um, yes, that is certainly a problem I expect to face, and I will spend a lot of time figuring that out because it represents a situation I’ll find myself in a lot of times in the coming weeks.”