Sunday, December 23, 2007

Getting Lost

I don't get lost very often, for some reason. I have excellent direction sense, and good map-reading skills. Because they're so rare, those times I do get lost are memorable to me. I remember one time in Ohio I was so lost I actually stopped and asked directions. I know, I know, major break of the code of guys -- I'm so ashamed.

My most memorable "I'm lost" moment happened almost 30 years ago, right here on the island. Actually, come to think of it, it was on the next island up -- Fidalgo Island. My buddy Will and I were heavily into fishing, and we would often fish in Campbell Lake, pictured here.

Actually, Will was heavily into fishing. I was mainly along to help lift the boat in and out of the truck, and to keep the hash pipe lit. I know, I know. Hey, it was the 80's, what can I say. Anyway, we'd have a nice relaxing time motoring around the lake, fishing. Added bonus: We didn't have to deal with many fish. Will's boat was a 10-foot fiberglass speedboat, but we only had a little electric trolling motor and a single deep-cycle battery. It worked fine, as long as we were careful not to waste the charge.

One afternoon we stopped on the little island in the middle of the lake -- Fox Island. It's a tiny little island, but somehow we managed to get lost on it. We stumbled around for a while, then Will disappeared! Before he could shout "Look out for the cliff", I fell off too, and landed on Will, knocking off his glasses.

We spent a good 1/2 hour searching for his glasses -- it's a miracle that I didn't step on them. We finally found them, and with the help of a nearby tree we climbed back up the cliff. Wandering around some more, as it steadily got darker, we finally found our way back to the boat.

Looking back, I realized that the cliff with the tree next to it, the one next to the boat, looked awfully familiar. Yes, we'd been just a few feet from the boat while we looked for Will's glasses and climbed that damn cliff.

Our adventure was far from over. We'd forgotten to turn off the power switch on the trolling motor, so the battery was mostly dead. We motored off, heading for the dock, but eventually noticed that the dock was actually getting farther away. There was a small breeze off of Mt. Erie, and it was pushing us the wrong way. We got out our oar, and eventually made it to the truck.

We'd spent so much energy between fishing, climbing a cliff, and sculling across a lake that we couldn't even lift the boat into the truck! Fortunately someone helped us, and we headed home. We stopped and bought some smoked salmon, we we starving. I commented that the salmon was the only fish we'd seen all day. Will, for some reason, was not amused. He didn't invite me fishing as often after that day, either.

Fishing on Whidbey Island.

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