I played hookey today and took Hannah and her friend “M” to the beach for the day. We went to Roque Bluffs and we were the only folks on the beach.
I parked myself in my chair, listened to the surf and read while the girls played. Swimming was short lived. The water was COLD.
After our picnic we walked across the road to Simpson Pond where the water is typically a bit warmer. I parked myself in a chair and read while the girls played.
They had a ball. Literally. It was a beach ball. It got away from them and a stiff wind took it across the pond. I had to be the bad guy by refusing to let them swim after it. They spent a good half-hour trying to figure out how they could build a raft to paddle out for it. MacGyver they are not.
After giving up on the raft idea they decided to walk around the pond to rescue the ball (which by this time was firmly lodged against the opposite shore). I gave my okay as long as they took the cell phone. I touched base with the girls a couple of times by phone and they reported that they were on a marked trail that would to lead them around the pond.
30 minutes later I received a somewhat panicked call from Hannah. They were lost.
I asked, “Are you still the marked trail?”
“Yes,” they said.
“Then you’re not lost.”
They were on the trail, but were confused about in what direction to go. Apparently the markers had changed colors and there were numerous turns and they didn’t know which one to take.
They had found a body of water. It wasn’t the pond. It was the ocean.
Hannah’s friend, M, grabbed the phone away from her and said, “We’re fine. There is no reason to worry.”
I wasn’t worried, but I was a little uneasy. It would not be good to lose the kids.
I studied the marquis with the trail map and committed it to memory (I later discovered the map was not up to date – a trail was missing and one trail marker color was incorrect). I figured out the general vicinity they were in and started walking. We touched base by phone when they came across new landmarks. After about ten minutes of walking, the girls came around the corner.
I was a very happy mom and I needed chocolate at this point.
On the way to the ice cream take-out we reviewed their adventure.
- They do not know how to read a map. I’m not sure how you mistake the Atlantic Ocean for a pond.
- They did not have a printed map to take with them on the trail.
- They had a cell phone, a signal, and battery.
- They did not take water.
- They did have food – a box of graham cracker snacks. That they ate while walking rather than saving for an emergency.
- They used said crackers to mark their trail at one point. Can you say Hansel and Gretel?
- They ventured off the trail. Thankfully they got nervous and turned right back around and got back on the trail.
One thing is for certain – the wilderness survival class they took together last winter did not pay off.
Before I got sidetracked with the notion of lost kids I snapped these pics. A beautiful First of September that ended well.
24 September 2011 Update: Almost three weeks after this episode, reports have come in that M’s beach ball has been rescued and returned!