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.6 Miles?!?

By , Balsam lake, WI
“Hannah they’re heeeeerrrree!” Stella yelled.
“Alright I’m coming!” I answered as I grabbed my suitcase and other bags of things to bring. I galloped down the stairs, nearly falling, and rushed into the kitchen before Abby comes in and my little sister says something embarrassing. Luckily I get down before they get out of the car and I rush out before any incidents occur.
Abby’s family invited me to Pattison state park for a camping trip and I was very excited to be on our way. We only stopped once, for gas, so we arrived at our campsite at 6 o’clock pm. We set up tents then, built a fire, and had s’mores and hot dogs for dinner. Eventually, we got ready for sleep (even though sleep didn’t come until hours later).
Abby and I decided to go hiking early the next morning. We decided that at 6:30 we would bundle up, take a quick hike on one of the short trails, grab breakfast, and head back out to one of the longer trails. We set the alarm and went to sleep giddy with excitement for the next day’s plan.
Unfortunately our plan didn’t work out the way we expected. We got up at 8:00, because at 6:30 we hit the snooze deciding it wasn’t worth being crabby. We ate our breakfast of Spam ® (it was my first time trying it), pancakes, eggs, and toast. We quickly changed into sweatpants and t-shirts and went on our way. We got to the bridge which was the starting point of the trail that we wanted to go on.
We found a sandy trail leading from the bridge. We walked for about a quarter mile just to find ourselves at the bridge again. Once we reached the bridge yet again we tried the trail next to it and we ended up in the same place once more. The final trail we found was just to take pictures of the scenery. We were getting very frustrated so, we went to a look out area and saw the platform we wanted to be on. A couple walked by us and walked on the trail we were last on. We would have stopped them and told them they were wasting their time if they wanted to get to the trail but, we thought they might just want to take pictures so we didn’t say anything.
We walked back to the balcony overlooking the platform that we wanted to get on to and discussed how we were going to get on the trail and get back for lunch. We saw another balcony up a little higher, and we went up, hoping that we would see how to get to the trail. We were frustrated when we couldn’t, and we walked back down to the other balcony. Then the couple emerged on the platform we wanted to be on! We felt excited and ridiculous at the same time. We had probably looked for that trail for almost an hour and they had found it in a few minutes. We set out once again toward the trail feeling a bit more hopeful.
Once we got to the trail the couple was on, we found a small dirt path. After walking about 20 feet, we found out that it was on the side of a highway and near it was the start of a trail. We walked down it because we saw no other options that looked like a trail. After about 50 feet, we ended up on the platform we were looking for! We were so excited we actually jumped up and down (I’m sure it was obvious we were tourists). There was a bench and we sat down and sifted through our bags to find our cameras because we wanted to document our achievement. Finally, we started down the trail. It was mostly downhill walking so it seemed pretty easy. Benches were sprinkled evenly all the way down and we took pictures at each one to show our progress if we got discouraged. We started to feel like the trail went on forever. We assumed we accidently took the five mile trail. We walked for a long time hoping for a “you are here” sign.
After what felt like hours of hiking we found a sign. We peered at it hoping to figure out which trail we took. The five mile trail went by a waterfall, so we knew we didn’t take it. Next, we looked at both three mile trails and neither of them went through woods so they were out. Then we looked at the mile and a half paths event though it felt we had gone much farther. They both went around the lake so it only left one trail. It was the.6 mile trail. It had taken almost 45 minutes to go .6 miles…downhill! Then a thought occurred to Abby. We would have to walk back up. Once Abby thought of the way up, we figured we should take a little break.
It was really nice at the bottom of the trail. There was a beautiful river. It had rushing water, and they called it little falls because little waterfall type structures littered the bottom. It was cool water, but I still stuck my feet in. Abby was afraid we’d be swept away by the current so she wouldn’t put her feet in with me. The rocks were a bit glossy with moss type plants so I didn’t stay in long because I too was a bit worried by the current. We ate our granola bars that we packed that morning on the bench by the river.
We decided to try a trail that was near the other one hoping to find a less steep way up. Unfortunately, the path was soon covered in branches so we knew this was not an option. One good thing that came from taking that trail is we were able to find walking sticks that we could use on the way up the steep path. We finally decided that we should start heading back up because we were both getting very hungry.
While we walked up the hill we realized that we had it easy going down. The slope was hard on our legs and we were grateful for our walking sticks and the benches through out the trail. We were soon very tired, but we thought the trail seemed longer going down. Soon we emerged on the platform at the start of the trail. We jumped up and down and took a few pictures of the scenery before we went back to camp. We laughed most of the way back to camp at our stupidity. We arrived and immediately we knew that we were very hungry. We fixed ourselves some ham and cheese sandwiches and chips. Once our stomachs were full, I suggested we go swimming. We went into our tent and lay on the mat trying to decide what to do next. Within minutes we were both fast asleep.
Three hours later we both woke up and realized that we wasted a huge amount of our day. We went to go find Abby’s parents in hopes they might have an idea of what to do next. We got out of the tent but we couldn’t find her parents. We walked quickly to the bathroom area in hopes of finding them. When we couldn’t find them we went down to the swimming area on the lake. Still we found nothing.
We decided to go back to camp and figure out something to do on our own. When we arrived, we were relieved to find them starting a small fire. It was proving to be difficult because it had rained a few days earlier and it hadn’t dried properly. They saw us coming and they were very relieved.
“Where have you been?” they asked in unison.
We explained our embarrassing day, leaving out a few details that made us look a bit pathetic. They seemed relived when they heard about our nap.
“We were looking everywhere for you! We called your names and your shoes were gone so we thought you might have gotten lost on the trail,” Her dad explained.
“We did get lost,” Abby said between giggles. “We must have kept our shoes on while we were taking our nap,” Abby glanced over to me embarrassed, and we both burst out laughing. We said our apologies and decided to go swimming after all. We had lots of fun and we went back for s’mores later that night. All in all it turned out to be a pretty successful day.





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