Orienteering by definition is a sport in which contestants race on foot over a course consisting of checkpoints found with the aid of a map and a compass (found here).
It was my favorite part of overnight camping in elementary school. There was something about the wilderness and the quest that excited me. Finding the yellow circle with the various shapes at each location carried such a feeling of accomplishment. Learning to read a compass or better still learning to tell direction by were the sun was in the sky is a life skill that too often we forget to learn now.
One of my favorite cabin adventures was to trek down grown-over pathways to see where they led. Although slightly more modernized now, I still hop on the quad and boot around this twist and that turn, into those pits, through that puddle to see what's on the other side. More than once or twice I have got myself into messes.
One experience was a random excursion down the undeveloped road to the lake on foot. I never could understand why there was no development there. Three quarters of the way down the path, I knew. The ground dropped. Not just little dips and bumps but straight down, land shifted and broke type of falls. Once upon a time these were challenges too juicy to run from. So, laughing in the face of danger and whatever odd creatures could be (including snakes which I am none too fond of), I tripped and scrambled and fought my way down. A few scratches and a bruise or two were nothing compared to the achievement.
When I finally made it through the lost land, I arrived at the lake with soft sand and the symphony only true nature can offer. Standing listening as the lake lapped at the shoreline, seeing the trees laid horizontally in the water but who's roots, though exposed, refused to let go of the pieces of land it grew from, watching the reeds dance in the gentle breeze that whispered 'grow grow!'. Images stored in my memory box of life.
I took off my shoes and meandered along in the ankle deep water knowing that the path home was just a bit over from where I'd arrived. Everything looked different, weathered but untouched by human hand. The calm serenity was a testament to how small we each are and yet, in the same breathe, how big.
Soon, the beaten path revealed itself and home I went. Not even the poison ivy I woke the next day covered in could mar the memory and adventure.