That Time I… walked through a swamp with the boys


Courtesy of Max Honermeier

From left: Eric Lindstrom, Max Honermeier, Kevin Lindstrom, Travis Churchill and Tim Heiser. The group made the spontaneous decision to explore a swamp during an evening get-together.

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

On a brisk evening in late March, one of the boys proposed that we go explore the swamp near our neighborhood. As high schoolers with nothing better to do, five of us met up near a pond as the sun was setting.

We entered a dense field of cattails, marching single file. Tim, the biggest of us, broke in the trail. He fearlessly led and took the brunt of the hazards lurking in the dark. We managed to stay dry because Tim found all the wet holes with his feet.

Before long, we encountered the first obstacle, a creek separating the tall grass from a looming forest. I held my flashlight high as we lept one at a time to the opposite bank.

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

It was much wider this time, but a tiny island provided a stepping stone for us. Tim jumped first and almost fell when the patch of grass and mud tipped under his weight. Wise to the unstable island, the rest of us were able to keep our balance when we crossed.

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

A trek up the road revealed more abandoned artifacts, the foundation of a house and some mysterious fencing. Some traffic cones blazed orange in the beam of my flashlight, and I had to take one as a souvenir.

As we explored, Tim led us through a patch of burrs. His flannel was like a magnet to the clinging seeds, and the others didn’t fare much better. However, my trenchcoat was immune to the hooked burrs, and I emerged 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 in luck; across the street was a convenience store and pizza place. My cone remained outside as we enjoyed a slice with Jarritos soda. It was very late by the time we finished eating.

We walked back down the road and through the neighborhood to our cars, content with an evening well spent.