"Dad, I think this is the wrong way."
"No. I'm sure we have it right this time."
Have you ever heard a conversation like this one before? For us, it all started when Mr. Kanady asked my brother Jake and me if we wanted to go on a fishing trip that he was planning. We would hike along with Shane and Paige.
My dad pulled all our camping gear out from under the house and showed us how to pack our gear correctly. Once we had the packing down to an art, he let us stop. It felt like forever. Now all Jake and I had to do was wait for the end of the week to come. The days passed s...l...o...w...l...y.
We drove south on the highway. We played silly card games while the music blared. Finally, we arrived. We tumbled out of the truck and loaded up the packs. We headed for Crescent Lake, about a three- to four-mile light hike from the parking lot. Mr. Kanady gave us some superb Orange Tang. We were raring to go. He almost had to hold us back!
Mr. Kanady led us this way and that, like a cowboy herding cattle. Every trail we tried led us in the wrong direction or to a dead end. I almost felt like giving up. On one of the trails, we had to cross a small, yet rippling, river. Mr. Kanady had to carry us across. He accidentally dropped my poor brother in the river. Luckily, he only got his feet wet, but, because my dad made sure we were prepared, he had extra socks. Phew -- what a close call!
Eventually we found a trail that looked very promising. We hiked for another half hour and we got to an enormous hill that I thought was as tall as a castle wall. Alders were growing everywhere -- on the trail, on the side -- and the only way up was to go straight through them. Imagine climbing uphill through alders with a heavy backpack. Just the memory of the hill causes my back to ache!
Shane was carrying the never-ending and awkward fishing poles, which kept getting caught in the stubborn alders. I stayed back to help him through, but soon we both started to get frustrated. Shane growled, "I HATE ALDERS!" He and I harbored strong doubts about this being the right trail.
We finally reached the summit of the vicious mountain and kept hiking. After what seemed like an hour, we voted to stop for a snack. The vote was unanimous. Mr. Kanady decided that we had gone way too far to be on the right trail. We shot him a piercing stare, like that of a hawk, wondering if now we had to go back down the dreaded mountain of alders. Very quickly he mentioned, "I saw another trail back there."
We all hoped in the deepest part of our hearts that this trail would lead us back to the truck. I felt like this was some bizarre nightmare that I was going to wake up from. We didn't even want to think about what would happen if this was the wrong trail.
Within an hour we were back at the parking lot. Nobody had spoken. We were all like zombies. With disgust we threw our packs in the truck bed. Mr. Kanady drove a bit farther down the road from where we had parked to turn around. There it was, the trailhead; the one that we were supposed to go to. Bummer, dude. We decided that since everyone was exhausted, we were just going to go home. Lucky for us, ice cream at an inn alongside the road lifted our spirits -- we had never tasted ice cream so delicious.
I can't believe that we only had to drive a little bit farther down the road to find the right trail to Crescent Lake. I don't think any of us will ever forget how many dead ends we hit. All we wanted to do was to go on a little camping trip. We hope to try again next summer; maybe this time we won't have to be trailblazers!
Writing With Traits