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Accidental Procrastination | Things I didn't mean to think about when I should've been working.

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Boy Scouts != (do not equal) People with a Sense of Direction

June 27, 2006

Yesterday morning I loaded up my airsoft gun, slammed some CO2 in that thing, and took off for some little island in the middle of the Willamette River. All together there were eight people, 10 guns, 4 bags of Cheetos, a cooler with approximately 63.2 cans of soda, a radio, and two canoes. Oh yeah, and 7 oar/paddle things. The weather? About 100 degrees.

Now, many of you are probably thinking that to carry all of this upriver using only two canoes, multiple trips would be a must. You’re probably right, but that would take longer. And besides, once the first load gets there, who’s going back? Not me.

The canoe I was in had no major problems. We hit a few low spots at first, but after that it was smooth sailing. It looked like we might have a little problem with some small rapids, but we were able to steer clear of the rocks.

The other four in the other canoe had a completely different story, however. As we landed at this mile-long, 50 to 100 yards wide lump of sand, I turned to watch their progress. They were on the complete other side of the river, knee-deep in this polluted water, pushing and pulling the canoe, trying to get past the rapids. When they thought they were safe, they pushed off and started paddling. They got to the middle of the river when they realized that they’re paddling forward with everything they’ve got, and they’re not moving forward. So they turned the canoe towards the island, trying to go straight for it.

The problem? They were now going backwards. By the way, did I mention that most of the people in that little plastic boat were Boy Scouts?

So after we were all safely on this miniature oasis, we made our way to the “campsite,” being a little clearing with a picnic table in the middle of it. Apparently, these people had been here before with their Boy Scout troupe and built some paths and made a “campsite.” I figured these guys must know the island pretty well by now.

We’re playing our first game, and my team comes into contact with a few of the enemy. I pull out my glorified, 350fps piece of plastic and pick off one of them. Unfortunately, I get hit in the hand soon after (lucky shot, I’m telling you–so what if I was just sitting on the beach).

As such, me and my victim make our way back to the distinguished “campsite” and all of that Mountain Dew. We start off on the path, when somewhere along the line we sort of loose it. We’re in the middle of this grass stuff in between 5 and 6 feet tall, and my victim is ahead of me, leading the way. He decides that the best course of action would be to blaze his own trail. This doesn’t sound like the most brilliant plan to me, but I figure that since he was one of the people who built this campsite he must know what he’s doing…He is a Boy Scout after all.

And besides, if you think that I’m going to go back by all by myself and to try to find the real path, you gotta be nuts. At least he’s in front so that I don’t have to break down all of that grass. I follow him around for a little while, when it becomes clear that he doesn’t exactly know where he’s going. We head for the river on the east side of the island (OK, I admit it–I actually have no clue what direction it was, but we’ll just call it east for now) so that we can see how far up the island we are. Suddenly, the ground drops, and we find ourselves much deeper in this grass. That doesn’t seem to bother my brilliant guide too much, and he keeps on blazing. That is, until the ground dropped again.

This time, it dropped, and it kept on dropping. I was able to stop, but my victim/guide fell and was quickly sliding in the direction of the river. When he was able to grab onto something and stop, we realized that he had stopped about 3.4 feet away from a cliff dropping right into the great, polluted Willamette River. Wonderful.

Did we turn around and head back, hoping to perhaps find the real path again? Of course not. He still wanted to keep on blazing. Thankfully while blazing through we eventually came in contact with the real path. Upon this finding my not-so-helpful guide turns back towards me with, “See? The path. I told you I knew where I was going.”

It wasn’t until we were back at the campsite that I was informed by somebody else that my “guide” recently got lost at the last Boy Scout camping trip. I was also informed by another that if you go too far east, there’s a cliff that will drop right into the river.

Gosh, thanks.

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