This time I… walked through a swamp with the boys – Northern Star

Courtesy of Max Honermeier

From left to right: Eric Lindstrom, Max Honermeier, Kevin Lindstrom, Travis Churchill and Tim Heiser. The group made the spontaneous decision to explore a swamp one evening.

Generally, I like to have a plan when I go out with friends, but sometimes a random, spontaneous idea turns into a great night out.

One busy evening in late March, one of the boys suggested we go explore the swamp near our neighborhood. As high schoolers with nothing better to do, five of us found ourselves by a pond as the sun was setting.

We entered a dense field of cattails, walking in single file. Tim, the tallest of us, burst into the track. He led fearlessly and took the brunt of the dangers that lurk in the dark. We managed to stay dry as Tim found all the wet holes with his feet.

Soon we encountered the first obstacle, a stream separating the tall grass from an ominous forest. I raised my flashlight as we jumped one by one to the opposite bank.

However, our aimless path soon brought us back to the same stream.

It was much wider this time, but a small island gave us a jumping off point. Tim jumped first and nearly fell when the patch of grass and mud tipped under his weight. Aware of the unstable island, the rest of us managed to keep our balance during our crossing.

The forest thinned out as we approached a frontage road. Occasional trees were accompanied by litter. We scattered to investigate the clearing, discovering several broken televisions and old car parts.

A hike up the road revealed other abandoned artifacts, the foundations of a house, and mysterious fences. Some traffic cones glowed orange in the beam of my flashlight, and I had to take one as a souvenir.

As we explored, Tim guided us through a series of blunders. His flannel was like a magnet to the seeds that clung to it, and the others didn’t fare much better. However, my trench coat was immune to hook smudges, and I came out with no more than a few on my socks, leaving me free to laugh at my friends’ misery.

After all that hiking, hunger set in. We were lucky; across the street was a convenience store and pizza place. My cone stayed out while we enjoyed a slice with Jarritos soda. It was very late when we finished eating.

We walked back down the road and through the neighborhood to our cars, satisfied with a well-spent evening.

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