The first rule before engaging in any sort of new adventure such as exploring, camping, canoeing or hiking, is to leave a daily itinerary with someone back home. It should detail where you expect to be on a given day so that if you do get lost, you stand a better chance of being found.
I now regret not having done this. We’ve been wandering for hours on end, and I’m growing thirstier by the minute. If I EVER do this again, I’ll carry a canteen full of water, or at the very least a bottle of Gatorade. If I EVER do this again, I’ll
hire a trained guide.
At one point in our journey, the Joy of My Life and I become the lead characters in a Tom Selleck movie – her ‘Crazy Cora’ to my ‘Matthew Quigley.’
Joy: “You know, if we’re lost, you can tell me.”
Me: “We’re lost.”
Joy: “I can take bad news. Just tell me straight.”
Me: “I don’t know where the (#@?!) we are.”
Joy: “No sense making it sound better than it is.”
Me: “I reckon we’re goin’ in circles.”
Joy: “So, just tell me honestly. Are we lost?”
Me: “Nope. I know exactly where we are.”
Joy: “That’s good ‘cause frankly, I was getting a little worried.”
Actually, I am a little more than worried. I am delirious. I see bleached white cattle skulls scattered about. I have become an integral part of a Georgia
O’Keeffe painting. The man crawling on his belly crying for water is me!
Then suddenly, the smell of cooking food snaps me back to reality. What
is it? A campfire? An oasis?
Swedish meatballs! Lunch!
If I EVER shop at IKEA again, I’ll be leaving a trail of bread crumbs
Michael Wright can be found aimlessly wandering Death Valley,
training for his next shopping spree. Share your experience, advice and maps
with him at firstname.lastname@example.org.