When I was a kid my mother was the director of a nature camp. I was too old for the day camp program when she started the job, but for 2 weeks each summer for the older kids like me, they offered an Adventure Camp program led by the Audubon sanctuary director. (the rest of the summer, was really really boring. Like Really Boring. My sisters who were young enough to be part of the day camp, had fun, lucky them.)
Part of the 2 week camp included orienteering. aka here’s a map, here’s a compass, here are some coordinates, go get lost (ok more the challenge was ‘here are some coordinates, go find the place they lead to, and from there you’ll find more coordinates, etc it was a scavenger hunt of sorts. Early day geocaching before GPS essentially). It was super fun. And I was very good at it. I was very good at in a way that no one could understand, because the instructors would try to tell me, “No Katrin, you’re holding the map and compass wrong, it’s easier if you do…” which wasn’t easier for me. Eventually they realized my method for whatever reason really worked for me, and they let it be. I just wasn’t allowed to instruct the other kids on my method. LOL It was about the only part of my camp experience I really liked actually.
Those experiences I think began to tune my internal compass. And then when I became a permanent pedestrian over a decade ago my internal set of maps and ability to get unlost continued to improve.
So when I’m in the woods with friends, especially certain friends who enjoy or at least don’t get upset with the idea of ‘lost’, and we have extra time, we take random trails. Ok, really, we take what trails Tom says he’d really like to explore. Because you know, Tom. And I have a hard time saying no to Tom since he asks for so little in life and gives so much. And it makes him so happy! He gets all waggy and is clearly enjoying the thrill of novelty and exploring new places. Making Tom happy makes me happy. So we take more random trails that we otherwise probably would. Because Tom likes it.
It’s great fun. Ok full disclosure sometimes it involves swearing. But mostly usually it’s super fun. We take some trail, and my internal compass from there kicks in and we somehow rarely get really lost. I mean most of the time I have no real idea of where we are, and sometimes we walk an extra hour than we thought we were going to, but that’s not being lost, that’s just enjoying the great outdoors. Right? For some reason, my walking friends all trust my internal compass as well, and have learned if they don’t want to think about how much I have no idea where we really are, don’t ask, just trust. And sure enough we make it back to some place familiar every time (so far at least LOL).
Today was such a day. 2 hours, 3 people, 5 dogs. We had a great time. Fantastic way to start a Monday!