Author: Maia Walker
We were lost. Completely, hopelessly lost. It’s funny how, in moments like that, your first priority isn’t trying to find a way back; it’s trying to prove that you aren’t lost. The compass must be wrong, the map is missing a pylon, it must be this way! Alas, no. We had to accept that we did not know where to go.
To the left of us was a forest sinking into darkness, despite the sun. To the right there was a wide field, the grass clearly overgrown. Neither ways looked particularly inviting, and the bearing we had taken on the compass was also disagreeing with both routes. ‘It’s pointing back.’ And so it was. Turning around with our stomachs rumbling from lack of food, all too aware this would add at least a kilometre to our route, we began to trek along the path. No one was in high spirits, and I found myself wandering against the never ending patches of nettles as my mind drifted to where we could be if we hadn’t gone the wrong way.
Perhaps sat down for lunch… I would be tucking into my cheese sandwich right now, and just the thought made my mouth water. Maybe after the sandwich I would start my crisps, letting the sweet chilli spice explode in my mouth.
Suddenly, the people in front of me came to an abrupt stop, and I barely manage to halt in time. My bag threatened to make me topple over, but after a few moments I thankfully managed to regain my balance. Looking up, the sky was a dull but consistent grey colour. There was a rush of mutterings from my teammates, and as I turned my attention away from the weather, I asked what was wrong. The map was almost immediately thrust into my hands, and I saw. The markings we were to follow were gone; at least three kilometres of them.
‘So we know where we are…’ I deliberated slowly. ‘But not where to go?’ To my disappointment my friends nodded.
‘We should call the instructors.’ ‘But that might fail us!’ ‘This isn’t our fault, the pen wasn’t good enough.’
Slowly, I could feel the team falling apart. This was the first really difficult step in our journey, and in a way I felt as though it was to test us. I looked worriedly down at my feet, which were mostly buried under a mass of dried grass.
In the end, we decided to call for help. We were all nervous, but we were going to face this together.
Half an hour later we were traipsing through a seemingly never ending field, our feet dragging but our spirits high. Now we had an aim again! And guess what? We passed the expedition. Although our feet may have ached and our stomachs rumbled, our abilities and team work grew stronger.